Having a seemingly insurmountable 40-minute lead following a dominant Day One, it was a case of avoiding errors and completing the job for the Paddock prodigy.
Young did exactly that to take his fourth Roof title, comfortably ahead of Travis Teasdale (Beta Racing), who had to settle for second for the second year in a row.
The threatening rain didn’t materialise; instead a series of dramatic duels played themselves out in the mountain passes of Lesotho.
Water was certainly a factor on Day Two, with Young sacrificing almost half his overnight lead Teasdale (Beta) by being cautious at several of the river crossings, in some cases dismounting and wading through the water to assess its depth before choosing his lines.
Teasdale – who was recovering from the stomach illness that plagued him on Day One – was unable to overhaul the 2017 winner, however, and Young’s overall winning time of 14h47’28” was some 23 minutes faster than his fellow KwaZulu-Natal rider.
Speaking in the winner’s enclosure after his victory, Young described the Motul Roof of Africa 2018 as “gruelling and super-tough” and a “really physical event”.
Young’s good friend and fellow Paddock star Kyle Flanagan (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) outgunned Lloyd Kirk (also Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) and Dwayne Kleynhans (Brother Leader Tread KTM) to claim his first Roof podium.
Flanagan extended his advantage over rising star Kirk to nine seconds to clinch third place while Kleynhans ultimately finished fifth, a further 20 minutes back.
Four other South Coast riders conquered the Gold route; Chayse Orsmond (KTM Rhino Trucks) secured a career-best ninth place, Ryan Pretorius placed 21st and Gary and Mark Dunstone finished 23rd and 27th respectively.
So tough was the Gold route that only 31 riders were able to finish.
Shelly Beach teen Kayde Mante (RBS Yamaha) also had a Roof to remember as he reigned supreme in the Silver Class.
At the start of Day Two, Mante held a one-second advantage over veteran Roof rider Warren Barwell (KTM), who jokingly complained that he had spent the entire event “chasing youngsters”.
Sadly for Barwell, his pursuit included a tumble into a ravine, and his overall result saw him finish in second, over 30 minutes behind Mante. Paul Grobler (KTM) completed the Silver Class podium line-up.
While the route was praised by many of the Silver competitors, the inclusion of so many new route sections made navigation difficult and saw a high attrition rate for riders, with almost 50% of the field in this class failing to finish.
Dakar-bound Stuart Gregory finished 10th in his first race as Motul South Africa PowerSport Ambassador,
Fellow South Coast riders Luke Dunstone and Denzil Torlage (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) crossed 35th and 36th while Piwe Zulu (Herbalife Nutrition bLU cRU Yamaha Racing Team) finished 43rd.
By the end of Day Two, the Mother of Hard Enduro had accounted for around two thirds of all the Bronze Class competitors.
First across the line was overnight leader Vincent Labuschagne (Enduro-Tech), but he had accidentally missed a large loop of the route and was disqualified.
In his first-ever Roof, Matt Burger (Leader Tread Husqvarna) won the Bronze Class with a time of 14h07’09”.
Well-known quadbike racer Hannes Saaijman was just under 13 minutes behind in second. Nuno Pereira (Portugal) was the highest-placed international Bronze rider, finishing in third place.
By all accounts, the 2018 Motul Roof of Africa was a resounding success. The changes to the format of the Round the Houses Prologue and the inclusion of many tough new passes were praised by riders in every class.
The feedback from competitors, teams and spectators alike bodes well for the future of Africa’s most iconic Extreme Enduro event.