AS the overnight leader in the Gold Class, defending champion Wade Young (Sherco Factory Racing powered by Motul), led from the off today to cross the line in the first place and notch up his seventh Roof victory.
Nov. 14, 2022
3 min read
Wade Young wins a magnificent seventh
Prime Minister Sam Matekane (far right) hands out Gold trophies at this year's Roof of Africa
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This was no procession, however, as he was pushed hard the whole way by Mani Lettenbichler (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and for some part of the morning, Travis Teasdale (ASP Rope Mclarens Racing), who finished second and third respectively.
With heavy overnight rain once again necessitating a change of route due to swollen rivers, conditions on the whole were much better than the previous day, with riders able to adopt a more flowing style as the route dried out slightly in the sunshine.
In Wade’s own words, he went out ‘hot’ and tried to ride as smoothly as possible, maintaining his intensity and minimising mistakes so that the riders in pursuit would have to push hard, and take more chances on the unforgiving terrain. By halfway, just after Soldiers Way, he had pulled a 4:30-minute lead but Mani clawed some of that back to just over 2:24 minutes by the finish.
Mani was happy with his result, being only his 2nd Roof, and while he pushed hard in the morning to stay with Wade, he conceded that navigation was a challenge for European riders like him who are not used to the Roof’s race format of pure GPS routes with limited marking. ‘With so many bushes and so many different paths to choose from, reading the terrain around you becomes so important and I’ve definitely learnt a lot for next time.”
This year’s Roof of Africa podium featured not only the 7-time winner of the Mother of Hard Enduro, but the 2022 FIM Hard Enduro World Champion and 2022 SA Extreme Enduro Champion. With seven Roof wins under his belt, Wade is now just two wins away from equalling the all-time record held by Alfie Cox, whose last victory came in 2001.
“The Maloti Mountain weather presented us with some serious logistical challenges this year – even more so than usual,” commented Charan Moore, Roof Race Director and Founder of Live Lesotho. “We’re therefore especially proud that we were able to deliver another classic edition of the Roof, and that we could provide a rewarding challenge for everyone from the world’s top Enduro riders to the weekend warriors in the Iron Class,” he added.
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Once again, it was the riders in the Silver Class who had the longest day in the saddle, and this is where perhaps the greatest upset happened. Overnight leader Austin Stuart (Orange County KTM) saw his 25-minute lead whittled away due to technical difficulties, leaving the way open for a trio of young Durban riders to occupy the podium.
Luke Walker (Motorex Alfie Cox KTM) and 16-year-old prodigy Thomas Scales (Ride KTM Durban) both passed Walker’s teammate Daniel Schröder, with Walker’s winning time being 9h32:27 across the three days of the Roof.
The battle for the Bronze Class honours was hard-fought to the end, with Tate Ströh ultimately emerging victorious on one of just four Yamahas in the finishing field of 200 bikes. His winning margin was just over 22 minutes from Stiaan Potgieter (KTM), and Stefan Tolmay (also KTM) in third.
Meanwhile, riders in the Iron Class completed the full route for Day 2 with the winner being Tom Classen (KTM) who led from start to finish. He was joined on the podium by Pieter Kritzinger in second and Jack Brotherton in third, both also on KTM bikes. – Roof of Africa News
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