Roof of Africa preview

2011-11-22 11:27

As one of the world’s toughest endurance races takes to the Lesotho mountains this weekend, we give you the list of riders to train your binoculars on…

The 2011 Roof of Africa will see the world’s finest endure riders battle each other and Lesotho’s treacherous terrain from November 24 to 26, 2011 in a race where the winner is difficult to predict.

The biggest name on the billing for 2011 is UK rider Graham Jarvis who has already won four of the five World Extreme Enduro events this year. After polishing off Hell’s Gate, The Tough One, Red Bull Romaniacs and Sea to Sky in 2011, the man currently rated as the world’s top extreme rider will be making his first attempt at scaling the Roof of Africa.


Chris Birch, the New Zealander currently working his off-road magic in South Africa, will have his work cut out for him. Birch is the winner of the past three Roof of Africa events.

Birch said, “I think Graham will probably be my biggest competition and think he will do very well. Jade has also stepped up his game big time this year while the Hemmingway boys from the UK should also prove tough not to mention ‘Letti’ (Andreas Lettenbichler).”

South African Jade Gutzeit is the 2003 Roof of Africa winner and finished second (behind Birch) in 2009 and 2010.

Andreas Lettenbichler will compete on his 300cc Husqvarna for what he must hope will be a better outing. The German has competed twice and finished third in 2010 after experiencing navigational and technical difficulties.

Also in contention for a win is Brit Paul Bolton who finished fourth last year in his first time at the event.


Bolton, who finished fourth at the 2011 Red Bull Romaniacs enduro, said: “This will be my second Roof of Africa and I need to get a better result than fourth, but there is a lot more to it than just riding well. It’s anybody’s race.”

Bolton’s team mate (and winner in 1994 and 2004), Darryl Curtis, will tackle his 19th Roof of Africa race with care as he prepares to compete in his first Dakar Rally in January 2012.

Other riders able to upset the top order are brothers Bruce and Brent le Rich who, like Dan and Ben Hemingway from the UK (two of only 10 riders to finish the 2011 Erzberg Rodeo) will be looking to uphold their family honour. Unlike the local riders, though, the Brits will be competing in Lesotho for the first time.

Also looking to make their marks will be 2011 SA enduro champion Marc Torlage; former SA Supermoto champ, Brian Capper; Wynand Badenhorst, who finished sixth in 2010; and New Zealand’s Michael Skinner.

The 2011 Roof of Africa will start with the traditional Round the Houses at 09h00 on Thursday, 24 November, in the streets of Maseru after which riders will have to complete a short, but technical time-trial from the Thaba Bosiu area outside Maseru.

The race will start from Molangoane Lodge on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26, at 06h00 for the daily 200km route.

Visit the Roof of Africa site for updated race information.