Young determined to keep Roof of Africa crown

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Quintin van Jaarsveld

Wade Young (Sherco Factory Racing) is laser focused on retaining the Motul Roof of Africa title when the Mother of Hard Enduro gets underway in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho on Thursday.

The Paddock prodigy is primed to return to the race that launched his career when, as a fresh-faced 16-year-old, he became the youngest-ever winner of the iconic hard enduro in 2012.

The menacing mountains of Lesotho saw Young secure a second title in 2014, and served as the theatre for the supernova becoming only the fifth rider in history to win three or more titles when he triumphed in the 50th anniversary of the event last year.

This year, however, is different, as a revamped route – two-thirds of which has never formed part of the Roof before – will provide an all-new challenge.

There’s also the pressure that comes with being the defending champion again, and the prospect of creating another piece of history as a back-to-back winner.

The experienced 22-year-old, though, is blocking out the noise and is fully focused on what matters most – riding to the best of his world-beating ability.

“I am very amped for the Roof. It is my last race for the 2018 season and I always race to win,” Young told eHowzit.  

“My preparation for each race is the same no matter if I am the defending champ or not. I always try to stay humble and focus on the race.

“I have no idea about the route; I hear that it is going to be tough, but it does not change my approach. I prepare for every race mentally and physically.”

No mountain has been too high for Young this year. (Alfred Jürgen Westermeyer/Red Bull Content Pool)

It’s been a career-defining year for Young, as he continued his ascension towards greatness with a string of major international wins, most significantly becoming the first South African in history to win the Red Bull Romaniacs and Red Bull Sea to Sky.

Young’s thrilled with his form and will be aiming to ride his momentum to one last big win to close out a phenomenal 2018.

“I have had a good year. I have trained and worked hard and every win is good for the confidence,” he said.

Young has his sights set on back-to-back Roof titles. (Mihai Stetcu/Red Bull Content Pool)

The Roof is essentially a home race for Young, and he’s relishing returning to Lesotho’s heralded terrain.

“It is always good to race at home. The Roof is my only international race that is on home soil and of course it is where it all started for me. It is always great being at home with the home crowd and home support.”

Young said his preparation has been great and he’s confident he’ll peak at the perfect time.

“I have had a lot of international races building up to the Roof, which is good training being in the saddle. I have been home for the last couple of weeks and have been training around home with Kyle Flanagan and doing a lot of bicycle training with Jade Gutzeit, so I am feeling strong both mentally and physically.”

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What can riders look forward to?  

Documentation, Technical Verification and Scrutineering

The documentation and scrutineering process has been streamlined, with specific time slots allocated to the different Classes.  Competitors should report to the Avani Lesotho Hotel, in front of the Conference Centre and proceed to the documentation area as follows:

13h00 – 15h00                                   Documentation & Technical Verification – Bronze only

15h00 – 17h00                                   Documentation & Technical Verification – Silver only

17h00 – 19h00                                   Documentation & Technical Verification – Gold only

Round the Houses

The Motul Roof of Africa will kick off with the traditional Round the Houses, starting at the Maseru Mall at 08h30 on Thursday 6th December. Competitors will complete 3 laps of 3.6 km each, with times being taken into account for the overall results.

Racing

After Round the Houses, competitors will be directed off the Circuit and proceed to the Start of Racing Section 1.

Racing Sections 2 & 3 will follow on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December, with competitors being scored according to which of the three Classes (Gold, Silver or Bronze) they have entered.

Daily results will be published on the Race Control website, with any time adjustments and penalties being factored into each competitor’s final time on the last day. In other words, the order of finishing on the Saturday won’t necessarily be the same as the overall standings after the event.

All competitors will be issued with a satellite tracking device at Technical Verification, so that the organisers can monitor and pinpoint their locations in real time – making the event safer for everyone.

If a competitor has to abandon their motorcycle during the event, they must keep the tracking unit with them. Sweep vehicles and a helicopter will be deployed (weather permitting) if needed.

Prize Giving

A podium prize giving for the top three finishes of each class will take place after the top three Bronze riders have come in.

Trophies will be awarded to competitors placed from 1st – 15th Overall in Gold Class and from 1st – 6th Overall in Silver and Bronze Classes. Finisher badges will be presented on the finish line to all qualifying competitors.

Special Awards to look out for:

  • Highest Placed Mosotho Entrant
  • Highest Placed Lady Entrant in each Class
  • Spirit of the Roof
  • Last Finisher (most time on the route)

“We’re anticipating a great turn-out for the Motul Roof of Africa this year, with the route promising a real test for riders and their machines, and a great spectacle for fans of Hard Enduro,” said Peter Luck, event organiser.

Event regulations can be found on the Race control website, with comprehensive updates on the Motul Roof of Africa 2018 at http://roofofafrica.info/

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