Africa’s Mother of Hard Enduro lived up to its billing on day one in Lesthoto. Overnight Gold Class leader Travis Teasdale (Beta Racing) surrendered his advantage over defending champion Wade Young (Sherco Racing) on a grueling, long day riding. Once he’d overtaken Teasdale, Young didn’t look back. His total race time of 8h28’30” gave him a lead of just under 40 minutes by the end of Day One.
While Young rode alone for most of the day, a real tussle was going on just behind Teasdale for third place. As impressive clouds gathered overhead, Dwayne Kleynhans (Brother Leader Tread KTM) managed to hold off Kyle Flanagan (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) by one second, with rising star Lloyd Kirk (also Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) a further seven seconds back.
By working together, these three riders from competing teams had managed to share navigational duties and makeup time on the leading duo – an approach that perfectly embodies the spirit of the Roof.
Indeed, several riders said this had been “a proper Roof” and that as well as a number of new technical passes, the scrub and rocks in between had been relentless and “in your face”.
Not that this seemed to have slowed down today’s winner. Wade Young said he “felt great” after a grueling day in the saddle, and that he was ready to take on Day Two.
While Young has what might seem a comfortable cushion over his rivals, the heavy rains forecast for tonight and tomorrow mean the overall result for this year’s Roof of Africa is far from a foregone conclusion.
In the Silver Class, Kayde Mante (RBS Yamaha) lost his lead to Warren Barwell (KTM) but is just one second behind, with Paul Grobler (KTM) in third. The Silver Class riders had a lot of new tracks to contend with, which made navigating more difficult.
Matthew Burger (Leader Tread Husqvarna) was the first Bronze rider home, with Vincent Labuschagne (on one of 3 KTM 500’s in the event) in second and Hannes Saaijman (KTM) in third.