Wade Young celebrates another World Enduro Super Series win in 2018. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Riders are gearing up for heat and high elevations with less than a week to the start of the Motul Roof of Africa, which will take place from 5-8 December.
Over three stages, the event infamously known as the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ will test the grit of both man and machine with technical trails that traverse the mountains of Lesotho.
With the absence of some of the big international names at this year’s edition, fans are rallying up for an exciting South African showdown.
Wade Young, the man that made history when he won the Roof of Africa at 16-years old. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Taking centre stage and looking to defend the coveted Roof of Africa title is Wade Young.
The event holds a special place for Young who chased down enduro giants like Graham Jarvis in 2012 to snatch victory. At just 16 years old, he became the youngest rider in history to win the Roof of Africa.
“It’s always special to come back here every year and remember where it all began. I will never forget how honoured I felt to have taken that title at such a young age,” said Young.
While he has gone on to win the event twice since then, his hunger for Roof of Africa glory has by no means diminished. After a ground-breaking Red Bull Romaniacs win earlier this season, the unstoppable Young will be as confident as ever.
Competitors like Travis Teasdale, Kyle Flanagan, Altus de Wet and Scott Bouverie, to name a few, are certainly going to make the fight for first a nail-biting one.
“It’s not ideal not to have the international guys here, but in another breath I think it’s really cool! All of us South African riders have a really good shot at the podium this year, and I think a lot of guys have been training extra hard knowing that,” said Young.
Scott Bouverie in Lesotho – a rider hot on the 2018 Roof of Africa radar. Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Teasdale will be a particularly determined contender to watch out for after narrowly missing the top step of the podium to finish behind Young last year. Bouverie is no stranger to the Roof of Africa podium either, and with years of experience he explained:
“I’ve had two podium finishes at the Roof before, and that was when the international guys were still here. I’ve heard the route is a lot harder than last year, which will definitely suit me better!”
Other riders on the Roof of Africa radar include the young and upcoming Matt Green and William Oosthuizen. After Oosthuizen’s solid National Enduro performance this year and Green’s fifth place at the renowned Red Bull Sea to Sky, both athletes certainly show the potential to cause an upset.
A parting comment from Young as South Africa’s enduro stars gear up for three-days of guts and grit:
“There’s something about South African enduro riders that make us stand-out. I think that we have to work extremely hard to make a name for ourselves in this sport, so we dig that much deeper to make the most of every opportunity we get to race.”
Motul Roof of Africa podium. (From left to right) Graham Jarvis, Wade Young and Travis Teasdale. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za