MASERU – The stage and tone have been set for extreme competition in Sunday’s deciding stage of the 2022 Roof of Africa rally with three current champions in Enduro racing going head-to-head for the ultimate prize.
According to the provisional results, defending Roof Champion, Wade Young, holds the lead but with FIM Hard Enduro World Champion Mani Lettenbichler only two minutes behind and just a single second separating the German rider from SA Extreme Enduro Champion, Travis Teasdale in third – there is everything to ride for in the final stage.
After heavy overnight rain, organisers of the race dubbed ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ took the decision to adjust the routes to limit and, where possible, avoid swollen and impassable mountain rivers. Depending on the class, this involved the routes for Day 2 being shortened by between 50km and 90km.
The shorter-than-expected day for the Gold Class riders was not without its share of drama.
With no other way around, the first to attempt a major river crossing was Lettenbichler (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who drowned his bike, and then had to watch as his rivals left him on the riverbank while he drained the water out of his motor.
However, assertive riding by Lettenbichler saw him catch up to the leading riders before they reached the revised finish line at the DSP.
On one of the final downhills, Young (Sherco Racing Factory Team powered by Motul) pulled away to establish a slight advantage over Lettenbichler and Teasdale (ASP Rope Mclarens Racing). These two rivals locked wheels just as they crossed the line coming into the DSP, to highlight how close the racing was on Day Two.
The first Silver Class rider to cross the line, Austin Stuart (Orange Country KTM), has built up a potentially commanding lead of some 23 minutes over second-placed Daniel Schröder (Motorex Alfie Cox KTM), with Schroder’s teammate Luke Walker completing the podium line-up.
Tate Ströh (Yamaha) is the current leader of the pack in the Bronze Class, with Stiaan Potgieter (Husqvarna) 16 minutes behind and Corbin Pape (KTM) a further 7 minutes back.
“Having seen the state of the river crossings on the original route for today, I erred on the side of caution and made some last-minute adjustments to the routes,” explained Charan Moore, Roof Race Director and Founder of Live Lesotho.
“We wanted to make sure that we stayed true to the spirit of the Roof, kept all the riders safe, and still gave the fans the Enduro action they’ve come to expect,” he added.
Moore went on to confirm that the final day will be a short, steep route, with plenty of no holds barred ascending and descending – ideal for determining which of the three Champions on the Gold Class podium will be crowned King of the Maloti.
The stage is set for a nail-biting Roof showdown for tomorrow’s final stage.