Golden glory for Ramsgate Roof of Africa finisher

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Quintin van Jaarsveld

Pierre Stapelberg achieved a goal six years in the making when he conquered the Gold Class route of the MOTUL Roof of Africa in Lesotho on Saturday.

The Ramsgate rider’s timing could not have been better, as his milestone coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Mother of Hard Enduro.

After completing the Bronze Class race in 2012 and the Silver Class last year, the latter fuelled by the memory of a close friend and fellow rider, Stapelberg this year decided to step up to the ultimate hard enduro challenge.

The 40-year-old lined up along international aces like Britain’s defending champion Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) and Spaniards Alfredo Gomez (KTM Factory Racing) and Mario Roman (Liqui Moly Sherco Racing), as well as South Africa’s enduro elite and South Coast stars like eventual winner Wade Young (Liqui Moly Sherco Racing) and fourth-placed Blake Gutzeit (Bibvest bLU cRU Yamaha Racing).

Young triumphs in 50th Roof of Africa

Stapelberg had to overcome snow, brutal Lesotho terrain and mechanical issues over three days of punishing riding, and after a total of 19 hours, 48 minutes and 21 seconds in the saddle, he added his name to the esteemed list of Gold Class finishers.

“It feels awesome to finish Gold the first time, especially being a privateer. It’s hard to train and still do your job afterwards,” he told eHowzit.

“The only disappointed was not getting a medal at the end as they’d run out of medals.”

Reflecting on his race, Stapelberg said, “On Friday, I damaged my fork on Makopu pass, so I had to ride without suspension.

“Saturday morning was tough on one section – there was ice on the rocks so us riders had to pull each other over. It was very slippery!”

WATCH: Red hot Roof of Africa action as Young reigns supreme

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