Young cedes title to Jarvis
Savvy ride sees medal for the fastest rider on the Mother of All Enduros going back to the UK
BRITISH enduro superstar Graham Jarvis toppled South Africa’s defending champion Wade Young in a race to the finish in last weekend’s three-day Roof of Africa enduro bike race in Lesotho.
Just over 20 minutes separated Jarvis on his Factory Team Husqvarna from the rest. The British rider’s solid technical skills saw him peeling away from the pack on the final climb to become uncatchable and win in a time of 6:00:21 to Young’s 6:21:06 on the final day (Saturday, December 5, 2015).
Riding for Brother LeaderTread KTM, Young had led for a large part of the three-day race, and fought off his team-mate Travis Teasdale and Proudly Bidvest Yamaha’s Brett Swanepoel for second place.
After the race, the diffident thanked his sponsors and friends for making his success possible.
Motul-backed rider Swanepoel and Teasdale meanwhile fought an epic battle of their own on the final day’s racing, racing neck-and-neck most of the day with Swanepoel finally coming in just 22 seconds ahead of Teasdale to claim third.
“He [Teasdale] was on my tail the whole time. He didn’t give me a chance to make any mistakes, but I finally saw a tiny gap and just took it,” an exhausted Swanepoel said after the finish.
Both riders said the final climb had left zero margin for line errors, pushing them to balance caution and speed against sheer exhaustion in the final section of the day.
The first female rider home was Kirsten Landman, who posted on Twitter afterwards: “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Steven Lurie of the race’s official lubricant partner Motul said another female rider who delivered a “standout showing” was 17-year-old Motul rider Natasha Rugani, who took the leap up to Silver class, after a good showing in Bronze last year.
After missing the time bar by 30 minutes on day two, she was back out on the final day and determined to finish. “She showed tremendous guts and courage and is a talented young female rider to watch, who will no doubt be back next year for her medal,” Lurie said. “The course added a lot of value to the race. The Roof is counted as an extreme enduro so the guys want to get out there and tackle lots of technical stuff and finish fast, not just rack up a huge amount of hours in the saddle,” Lurie said.
Lurie applauded the outstanding performance by Motul-backed riders — in addition to Swanepoel’s podium finish, the other highlight was a fifth-place comeback by 10-time South African National Champion Jade Gutzeit, 2003 winner of the Roof, in a final day’s time of 7:03:24. Gutzeit’s Proudly Bidvest Yamaha team-mate Kenny Gilbert, also backed by Motul, was close behind him in 7:04:55 for sixth place.
On Motul’s partnership with the Roof of Africa, Lurie said: “This type of event not only tests riders to the extreme, but also their machinery. Our high quality technical products support maximum performance in extreme conditions beyond the normal and it is great to see the benefit to the riders here.”
Running since 1969, the Roof of Africa is one of the oldest motorbike races in the world.
The race’s legendary toughness — with its steep and twisting gravel mountain passes, deep river crossings, and narrow, rocky donkey trails — was in evidence yet again with more than 100 of the 400 competitors not making it to the final day’s racing.
— Maven Connection.
Celebrating after a tough three-day battle in the Roof of Africa in Lesotho, Graham Jarvis of the UK (centre) with Wade Young (second) and Brett Swanepoel third).