The Motul Roof of Africa 2016 Hard Enduro Race
WELCOME CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO THIS YEARS MOTUL ROOF OF AFRICA 2016 SET TO BE THE TOUGHEST AND MOST EXCITING YET, WITH THE BEST INTERNATIONAL LINE-UP THUS FAR!
The Roof of Africa had its humble beginnings in 1967 when Bob Phillips, a Roads Engineer working in Lesotho, approached the Sports Car Club in Johannesburg and asked them if they would like to run a race over the worst road in the world that he had just finished building.
The Roof of Africa was born!
The event continued to grow through the 70’s 80’s and 90’s and the legend continued to grow. Up until 1982 the event ran right across Lesotho with overnight stops in either Matatiele or Sani Pass. From 1982 the event has been contained within the borders of Lesotho. The Roof of Africa was also attracting overseas interest and regular participation from overseas competitors.
Worldwide, Hard Enduro or Extreme Enduro has become increasingly popular and the Roof became known as the mother of hard enduro.
Covering over 425km of the harshest terrain known to man, the Roof of Africa is one of the most treacherous and demanding hard enduro racing routes in the world, and this year’s race is set to be the toughest and most exciting one yet! With a few new additions to the course and some old favourites being brought back, this year’s Roof will allow for a lot more spectatorship and action. This year’s Roof of Africa will commence on Thursday 30 November 2016 and will finish on Saturday 03 December 2016.
Riders will start from a hefty 1400m above sea level making their way up to close on 3 000m above sea level before hurtling back down again.
The route begins in and around Maseru- this part of the race known as the “Round the Houses” which was added to the Roof a few years ago to give the locals and spectators an opportunity to see and feel more a part of the Roof of Africa, as the riders make their way through the streets of the country’s capital. At Round the Houses spectators will be treated to 8 races of 3 laps each starting at Maseru Club, going into Kingsway towards the US Embassy, into Pope John Paul II Road, passing by the Golf Club and the UN House and back to the FINISH at Maseru Club. There will also be endless stunt entertainment between races at the Maseru Club Grounds.
Another exciting announcement this year is the addition of a new title sponsor Motul, coming on board in this capacity for the next three years- aligning the two iconic brands. Motul has been involved through the years with the Roof of Africa as the preferred lubricant partner, so the progression to title sponsor was a natural one.
Commenting on Motul’s announcement as title sponsor, Peter Luck, one of the team members behind the Motul Roof of Africa said, “We are ecstatic that Motul has come on board as the title sponsor for the Roof of Africa. Motul is a prestigious brand which has, for many years, been affiliated with world class events. This is a great opportunity for the Roof of Africa to align itself with such an iconic international brand.”
Through the years, Motul has gained experience as an official supplier to many racing teams and manufacturers and collaborates with them to further technological development in motorsport. Motul supports teams in international competitions like the 24 Hours of Le Mans (cars and motorcycles), FIA World Endurance Championship, Super GT, Drift, Pikes Peak, Japanese championship Super Formula, Blancpain Endurance & Spirit Series, MotoGP, World Superbikes, MXGP, Endurance World Championship, Supercross, IOM TT, Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship, F1 Boat and scores of others. Now they add Africa’s most famous Hard Enduro to the list.
We caught up with Motul’s Steven Lurie and Mark Roach from AMP, Motul’s motorcycle division distributor for a quick rundown of what we can expect from this year’s event.
“Motul has a strong ambition to partner with extreme events that connect with the strengths and focus of our products. The Roof of Africa is one of the most challenging and enduring off-road races in the world, and after a successful two years as lubricant partner, it was an easy decision for us to strengthen our partnership with the event,” said Motul’s Steven Lurie.
On the rider front, Spanish sensation Alfredo Gomez is confirmed for this year’s race. We’ve never seen such a great international line-up before and it seems that KTM is going all out to snatch the win away from Husqvarna’s reigning Roof champion Graham Jarvis.
Other confirmed riders include the amazingly talented KTM’s Billy Bolt (UK) Lars Enöckl (Austria) who is the 2016 Sea to Sky winner, Altus de Wet (SA) on his Yamaha – all supported by Motul as well as KTM’s Andreas Lettenbichler (Germany)
No word as to whether KTM’s Manuel “Junior Letti” Lettenbichler will be joining us, but after their amazing father-son performance at Sea To Sky, we won’t be surprised if we see a late entry.
One of SA’s favourites, Sherco’s Wade Young who was injured at Sea To Sky and is working hard to recover in time for this year’s race, has been on the Roof podium for the last three years.
KTM’s Scott Bouverie and ER2 champ Travis Teasdale (KTM) have had a great year – and never discount Yamaha’s unassuming ER1 champ Yamahas Brett Swanepoel, who has always had great Roof results.
Husqvarna’s Kenny Gilbert will be back at the Roof this year as well as Sherco’s Kyle Flanagan, who is flying at the moment! Good news is that Beta is back in talks with a few riders, so maybe we’ll see some of the niche Italian brands battling the rocks of the mountain Kingdom.
Let’s not forget SA’s Own “Iron Lady”, KTM’s Kirsten Landman who has had a very impressive year; will become the first lady competitor to tackle gold in the history of the race, having finished in 23rd position overall last year in the silver class.
To stay up-to-date with all of the Roof of Africa action, you can visit the Facebook page;
“Roof of Africa – Mother of Hard Enduro” or by visiting www.roofofafrica.info
Information supplied by:
Glenn Foley – Dirt and Trail Magazine
Keketso Malebo – Lesotho Offroad Association