Tzaneen. 14 September
12 December 2016 Read: 734
The 2016 Motul Roof of Africa race was held this weekend in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
It is considered to be one of the toughest hard enduro races on the planet and this year two Merensky pupils competed in, and completed the Silver division. It was an astonishing achievement for the two high school riders, Cronje Lordan (17) and Ralph Schutte (17) who competed in their first ever Roof after performing exceptionally well in the equally tough Impi in November down in Kwazulu-Natal.
Both boys trained hard for the arduous three day enduro race which saw them spend more than 20 hours on their motorbikes in blistering hot conditions. Lordan finished his race in 15th position in a time of 21:28:48 while Schutte managed an impressive 22nd spot in a group consisting of 160 riders with a time of 22:18:18.
What makes their accomplishment noteworthy is not their overall positions at the finish, but the fact that they competed against veteran riders from across the globe including some of the sport’s most revered athletes from the RedBull, Rockstar Energy and Motul stables. The duo literally had the opportunity to rub shoulders with their heroes as they traversed the countryside around Maseru.
Firm favourite from the start, the Brit Graham Jarvis on his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, crossed the finish line a mere 9 seconds ahead of Spaniard, Alfredo Cantero, in a time of 16:14:40 to secure his fourth ROA victory.
This year’s race was overshadowed by the death of one of the Bronze group riders, Willie-John le Hanie who sustained fatal injuries while riding. The accident happened during the monstrous 160km stage of the event. It is the first fatality in the 50-year history of the event and is a stark reminder of how dangerous the Roof can be. Le Hanie was remembered in a minute’s silence at the prize giving ceremony on Saturday evening.
“It was amazing, gruelling, tiring, exciting, tough, easy and beautiful all in one box,” said Cronje Lordan after returning from Lesotho. “Would I compete again? For sure, without a doubt!”
Bulletin would like to extend a special thank youl to our partners at Action in Motion Photographic for the splendid photographs they provided. For more images of this word-renowned event visit their facebook page at here.
Tzaneen. 14 September