There was a palpable sense of excitement at Thaba Bosiu, Lesotho on the morning of Thursday 25 November 2021 as the 2021 Motul Roof of Africa got underway. The adrenaline was tempered by relief – not only by the threat of rain, which held off the entire morning, but also because the Roof might have not happened at all.
This lent itself to a warm and genuine sense of community as old friends and rivals met up again – in many cases, for the first time since the last running of the Roof back in 2019.
Once the pleasantries had been observed, the serious business of the Time Trial got underway. This year, the signal for hostilities (of the riding kind) to be resumed was a wave of the iconic blue, white and green Lesotho tricolour by the King of Lesotho, King Letsie III. His Majesty was accompanied by the Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Moeketsi Majoro and a delegation from the Lesotho Government.
“Despite the clouds, all the Gold, Silver and Bronze Class competitors got to enjoy a nice, dry, clear run, as did most of the riders in the newly introduced Iron Class. With a mix of fast, flowing sections and some more challenging technical areas, this was 55km of classic Lesotho riding and served as an excellent curtain raiser for this year’s event,” commented Charan Moore, Race Director and Founder of Live Lesotho.
Occupying the podium at the end of the Time Trial were Travis Teasdale (Trax TT Racing) who recorded the fastest time of the day with 1:28:51. In the process, he edged out defending champion Wade Young (Sherco Factory Racing) who took second place, just 20 seconds behind Teasdale. Matt Green (TT Racing) finished in third, a further 3 minutes 35 seconds behind Young. Coincidently, all three riders on the Gold Class podium have recently returned from competing on the European Hard Enduro circuit and it showed in their performances today.
“We’re delighted to be back at the Motul Roof of Africa and to see that the standard of riding is as high as ever,” commented Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean. “Today’s Time Trial really delivered when it came to excitement, and the stage has been set for an epic showdown in the Maluti Mountains from tomorrow – exactly the sort of racing that has made the Roof a Hard Enduro legend,” she added.
The competition was equally fierce in the Silver Category, with 2019’s Bronze Class winner Austin Stuart (Orange County KTM) making his intentions clear with a blisteringly quick time of 1:42.19, almost 10 minutes quicker than second-placed Anthony Abrahamse (Roost KTM).
Similarly in the Bronze Class, Time Trail winner Rory Gower came in almost 10 full minutes ahead of veteran Pieter Holl (Bert Smit Allstars).
For the first time, the Roof included an Iron Class for ‘weekend warriors’ and this naturally generated a lot of interest, as well as giving rise to some excellent performances – not least Tiaan Rabe who finished ahead of Chris Weideman (Zenga Plant Hire).
“With rain predicted for the next two days, it’s safe to say that the 2021 Motul Roof of Africa will represent a formidable challenge to all those who have entered,” concluded Moore. “The Mother of Hard Enduro is back!”
Follow all the latest action and find awesome Roof images and videos on the Motul Roof of Africa Facebook page throughout the race.