Maritzburg boykie Teasdale shows the real spirit of the Roof of Africa
BRITISH enduro rider Graham Jarvis successfully defended his Roof of Africa title at the final Hard Enduro of the year.
The 41-year-old out-gunned a charging Alfredo Gómez, with South African Scott Bouverie rounding out the podium after three days of brutal racing in Lesotho last weekend.
After three days and nearly 400 km of racing, a mere nine seconds separated the top two riders.
The final stage was a classic race of attrition, with the elder statesman’s experience of the epic race in the highlands of the mountain kingdom gradually wearing down the Spaniard on his first visit to Africa.
From flat to … roofy
Born in 1967, the Roof of Africa event used to include cars, quads and motorcycles, but has progressed from a fast and flowing race in the lowlands of Lesotho to one of the world’s toughest Extreme Enduro events, known as the “Mother of Hard Enduro” to be precise. The 49th edition of this prestigious event lived up to its name and the Motul Roof of Africa 2016 began in the streets of Maseru on Thursday, December 1, for the traditional “Round the Houses” race where competitors race through the capital city of Lesotho, completing a 3,6 km loop three times.
Arriving at an altitude of 2 263 m at Bushmen’s Pass, Gold riders had to get ready to tackle the 51,8 km long Time Trial that would give them a little taste of what the next two days held in store for them. Jarvis (Husqvarna) posted the fastest time ahead of Brett Swanepoel (Yamaha) and Travis Teasdale (Brother Leader Tread KTM, KTM 250 XC-W).
On the first race day, riders took on a 157 km-long loop with the temperature going over 30 degrees Celsius. Sections like “Maurice Pass” and “Snake Bike” soon separated the men from the boys when even the top Gold riders battled on this extreme section of the race.
Spirit of the Roof award
Maritzburg’s Teasdale got assistance from a fellow competitor and instead of continuing to race and chase the top guys, he decided to return the favour, walk down the mountain and help the other rider before continuing his race. True sportsmanship like this saw Teasdale awarded the “Spirit of the Roof” award.
KTM Factory racer Alfredo Gomez from Spain worked his way through the field on his KTM 300 XC-W to win the first day. He was only 27 seconds behind Jarvis on the overall leader board.
The second race day and final day of the 2016 Roof of Africa held 119 km of technical terrain in store — long and extreme, but not as tiring as Friday and riders kept on pushing all day. At the end of the 119 km, victory went to Husqvarna’s Jarvis, who claimed his fourth victory at the Roof of Africa, followed by Gomez only nine seconds behind Jarvis. Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Scott Bouverie rounded off the podium as the first South African competitor home ahead of team-mate Teasdale.
Kirsten Landman attempted her first ever Roof of Africa Gold race this year after having finished Silver and Bronze the previous years. She made history on her trusty KTM Freeride 250 R by becoming the first female competitor to finish the gruelling Gold class at “The Mother of Hard Enduro”.
“I feel like I’m on top of the world! I’m so happy, but I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet. I put the effort in and worked hard for this the whole year and I am so happy it has all paid off,” Landman said.
The Silver Class was won by KTM Durban’s Calvin Hume onboard the recently launched KTM 150 XC-W, while the Bronze Class was won by Heinrich Zellhuber on another KTM 150 XC-W.
Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis (left) won his fourth Roof of Africa last weekend after a two-day tussle with KTM’s Aflredo Gomez (centre) while Pietermaritzburg’s enduro rider Travis Teasdale brought home the Spirit of the Roof award.