Young scales Africa’s Roof to legendary status

Share the news!!!

Quintin van Jaarsveld

A triumphant Wade Young believes the 2017 MOTUL Roof of Africa brought out the best in him.

The South African superstar showed just what a special talent he is as he trumped Travis Teasdale (Brother Leader Tread KTM) in a riveting race-long battle to win the 50th edition of the Mother of Hard Enduro in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho on his Liqui Moly Sherco.

Young had opened up a 61-second lead on closest rival and compatriot Teasdale on Day Two and produced a flawless display of power riding when it mattered most on Saturday to pull away on one of the penultimate climbs and claim victory by just over 11 minutes after three days of intense racing.

As he scaled ‘Soldiers’ – the final technical climb – he took his career to new heights and when he blasted across the finish he breathed the rarefied air of being a three-time winner of Africa’s oldest off-road race.

Young triumphs in 50th Roof of Africa

“This win means a lot,” the Paddock prodigy told eHowzit.

“To win the Roof is always great, especially being my home race, and there were plenty of supporters out there.

“There were a lot of nerves because of how close it was every day. I only managed to get away from Travis on the last two hills, which was a bit nerve-racking, and I’m really happy with the win.

“The route didn’t have too much hard stuff. It was all building and waiting for us at the end, but I felt I had the slight upper hand with the harder stuff. Travis kept me honest for just about the whole race though.”

Making up the podium are (from left) Graham Jarvis, Wade Young and Travis Teasdale. (Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool)

Young has become synonymous with producing magical moments at the Roof.

He famously became the youngest-ever winner of the iconic race at just 16 years of age, a near-unfathomable feat he achieved in 2012, doubled up with a second title in 2014, and carved out another unique piece of Roof history at the weekend, as he’ll forever be remembered as the winner of the 50th anniversary of the event.

Young, though, isn’t one to be driven by milestones; he’s a cerebral assassin who refuses to allow emotions or historical significance to disturb his focus.

“People will look back in history at who won the 50th Roof so it’s special in a way, but I honestly just see it as a big win.”

Wade Young. (Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool)

At 21, Young is already one of the all-time greats and a member of Roof royalty as only the fifth rider in history to win three or more titles, joining fellow three-time champions Lourens Mahoney and Chris Birch, four-time winner and the man he dethroned at the weekend, Graham Jarvis (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), and legendary nine-time king Alfie Cox.

Whilst saying it’s an honour to join such elite company, Young insists he pays little attention to the record books, adding his preparation and approach to every race remains the same.

“I just honestly want to do well and win every time I compete. Each race is a big race for me and the Roof is one of the biggest, so to have won three times is quite special.”

Wade Young. (Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool)

Young says although the race wasn’t as gruelling as previous editions, the shortened course raised the intensity levels, which challenged riders’ mental mettle.

“There was some hard passes, but nothing too crazy. Shortening the course meant the pace was a lot higher and it made for a very intense race.”

The sustained intensity, over a total of nearly 11 hours of racing (Young crossed in 10:41:28), the tense tussle with Teasdale, the threat of British great Jarvis, a star-studded field and the unpredictable weather, Young said, made for a unique challenge that’ll make him and the rest of the 2017 Roof vintage better riders.

“We had a bit of everything didn’t we?” he laughed. “Snow, rain, wind, dust…mud. It was truly a test off all terrains over the three days and I had a blast.

“To have all the hard work pay off against such a strong field is phenomenal. It’s all those hard training sessions that get you across the line and it’s always a fantastic feeling to get a big win.”

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

Wade Young. (Wayne Reiche/Red Bull Content Pool)

Leave a Reply