Day Two of the 2019 Motul Roof of Africa dawned bright and sunny on Saturday, with very little trace of the clouds and rain seen earlier in the week.
As the temperature rose, overnight leader and defending champion Wade Young (Sherco Racing) turned up the heat on his rivals.
Although the chasing riders managed to make up a couple of minutes on Young, they were unable to really trouble the daunting lead he had established on Day One.
With a total race time over both days of 13h16’08”, the Paddock prodigy crossed the Thaba Bosiu finish line more than 20 minutes ahead of Scott Bouverie (Brother Leadertread KTM), with fellow Paddock star Kyle Flanagan (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha) a further 1’10” adrift.
Having notched up his fifth Motul Roof of Africa victory – and his third in a row – he has cemented his second place in the all-time Roof of Africa hall of fame.
Young has pulled clear of Graham Jarvis (four victories) and continues to close the gap on the legendary Alfie Cox, with nine.
Despite his stunning performance, Young was characteristically modest as the significance of what he had achieved slowly began to sink in.
“I had an awesome day yesterday and built a nice lead so that all I had to do today was maintain it,” he explained.
“I made sure I stayed out of sight of the chasing pack and really had some fun on the bike…the route was awesome and very well marked which made navigation easy. So happy to win my fifth Roof!”
“We have a great team of people who have put this event together and we’re very happy that Wade Young has been able to make history here once again,” commented Charan Moore of Live Lesotho.
“We’re going to make sure that we take the event from strength to strength over the next couple of years and having such positive feedback from him will help attract even more international and local teams and riders over the coming years,” concluded Moore.
“The feedback from both riders and spectators has been overwhelmingly positive,” reported Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa.
“We’d like to congratulate not just the winning riders and their teams, but Live Lesotho on picking up the baton of the Roof and delivering a superb fifty-second edition of the “mother of Hard Enduro”. We’re thrilled to lend our support to the Roof – an event that we believe will continue to go from strength to strength,” she added.
On a day that Young reinforced his stature as a Roof legend, a rider in the colours of another iconic Motul Roof competitor took first place in the Silver Category.
In what was probably the most intriguing duel of the day, Ryan Pelser (Motul Alfie Cox KTM) managed to keep his nose in front throughout a hard-fought battle with Dwain Barnard (D&D Group).
The gap between the two riders was just one second coming into Day Two. During a day-long tussle, Pelser managed to extend this to eight minutes at one point, ultimately winning by five.
“Dwain and I rode together for the early part of the race and at the first big climb I managed to pull a gap on him. I pushed hard to the DSP and when I realised I was eight minutes clear of him I knew I just had to keep a steady pace and keep it safe on the way home,” said Pelser. “This is my second Roof in Silver and I’m so happy with the win!” Third place in this hotly contested Category went to Roof veteran Bruce May (Bidvest bLU cRU Yamaha).
In the Bronze Category, new Enduro sensation Austin Stuart (Nick’s Electrical KTM) increased his Day One advantage of 20 minutes to a full 35 minutes.
“I achieved what I set out to do in my first ever Roof by winning it. I rode at a steady pace and I really enjoyed the more technical climbs today; I loved today’s route,” explained the Bloemfontein-based teenager. He then laid down a marker for 2020 by stating, “Next year I’ll be taking on Silver!”
Second place in the Bronze Category went to Steven Carr (BrickIT KTM) with Richard Moore (Dynamic Racing KTM) taking the third and final podium spot.
Photo: Wade Young wins the 2019 Motul Roof of Africa. (ZCMC)