The 2011 Roof of Africa will be characterised by the ‘Battle of the Best’ when the world’s finest enduro riders will take each other AND the Lesotho Mountains on in this extreme enduro race that takes place from 24 to 26 November. Looking at the names on the entry list, it will be dangerous to predict a winner, but a guess that it will probably be the toughest, bravest and fittest, might be spot on.
The name that caused the biggest stir this year, was the entry of the UK rider, Graham Jarvis (Flite Extreme Husaberg) who has won four of the five World Extreme Enduro events this year (Hell’s Gate; The Tough One; Red Bull Romaniacs and Sea to Sky) and is rated as the world’s best extreme rider currently. It will be his first Roof of Africa attempt. All eyes will be on the Jarvis vs. Birch Battle as Chris Birch (Comsol Alfie Cox Racing KTM), three times winner of the Roof of Africa (2008, 2009 and 2010) will have his work cut out for him.
South Africa’s 2003 Roof of Africa winner, Jade Gutzeit (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha), was the best South African finisher in 2009 and 2010 when he finished second behind Birch. After claiming the national off-road title recently for the second consecutive year and finishing runner-up behind Birch in the enduro championship, Gutzeit will have a score to settle and is as fit and ready as ever for this year’s race.
The German, Andreas Lettenbichler, who will compete under the Montage Print banner on his 300cc Husqvarna, has competed twice and finished third last year after experiencing navigational problems and technical difficulties. Both Gutzeit and Lettenbichler will aim for the Number One spot and so will the UK privateer Paul Bolton (Brother Broadlink KTM).
Bolton finished just off the podium last year (4th) after competing in this event for the first time and was second behind Jarvis at The Tough One extreme enduro race earlier this year. He is excited for this year’s event and commented that Jarvis will have his work cut out for him.
One of his team-mates, 1994 and 2004 winner, Darryl Curtis, will tackle his 19th Roof of Africa race with care as his focus is on his first Dakar Rally early next year.
UK brothers who were two of only 10 competitors to finish the Erzberg Rodeo earlier this year, Dan and Ben Hemingway (Fever/cc Gallery KTM) are also multiple trials champions and will be competing in Lesotho for the first time.
The newly crowned South African OR3 (200cc) off-road and E2 (200cc) enduro champion, Marc Torlage (Mr Price Yamaha), will also be ready to show what he can do after he had to call it quits last year while lying fourth when he broke his toes. The ten times South African Supermoto Champion, Brian Capper (Full Throttle Racing Red Bull KTM) has strutted his stuff this year in the national enduro championship and will also have to prove a point after just making it to the finish last year.
Other riders who would like to score back to back top ten positions include Ladybrand rider, Wynand Badenhorst (Nomadik Tents KTM) who surprised friend and foe to finish sixth last year; Curtis’ team-mate, Altus de Wet who will aim to better his ninth place and New Zealand’s Michael Skinner (Team Liquorland Racing KTM) who rounded off the top ten.
Twenty-two competitors finished the full race distance last year and the names of Adrian Werner (Fever/cc Gallery KTM); Kenneth Gilbert (KTM) who again competed in the USA this year; William ‘Wild Will’ Gillitt (Comsol Alfie Cox Racing KTM), who finished his first Red Bull Romaniacs race earlier this year and won the Senior Class title in the Liquorland National Enduro Championship again; the Le Riche brothers; Mark Garland (Kargo Racing Husaberg) and James Hodson (Team Liquorland Racing Husaberg) all appear on the entry list again and their experience in the mountains of Lesotho will come in handy this year.
Cool weather conditions with rain is being forecasted for the weekend of the race and this can result in even more interesting battles while most entrants would just like to make it to the finish.
The 2011 Roof of Africa will start with the traditional Round the Houses at 09h00 on Thursday, 24 November, in the streets of Maseru after which riders will have to complete a short, but technical time-trial from the Thaba Bosiu area outside Maseru. The race will start on Friday (25 November) and Saturday (26 November) at 06h00 in the area of the Molangoane Lodge from where entrants in the Gold Class (full distance) will tackle a 200km route each day.
Visit www.roofofafrica.co.ls for updated information about the course, the race and more!
The LW Crew would like to wish all the SA entrants and our mates competing in this year’s event the best of luck! Own it boys!
Facts & Figures: 2011 Roof of Africa
Amount of entries in Gold Class (400km) 102
Amount of entries in Silver Class (288km) 101
Amount of entries in Bronze Class (167km) 33
Total amount of entries 233
Amount of international entries 26