Young cedes ti­tle to Jarvis

Savvy ride sees medal for the fastest rider on the Mother of All En­duros go­ing back to the UK

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

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.

PHOTO: THE GREEN ROOM

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).

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