Roof Of Africa 2014 – Lesotho’s House Of Pain…
Africa’s most famous hard enduro kicks off on the 4th of December in The Mountain Kingdom Of Lesotho.
This year’s race is set to be the toughest to date. The race was fully subscribed for local racers – only a few places are left for international athletes.
Some big names are scheduled to come and ride. Husqvarna South Africa has confirmed that Graham Jarvis will be defending his 2013 Roof crown and we have inside news on a few internationals that are coming. Affirmation on all of these as the manufacturers confirm.
In the interim, here are some interesting facts and figures about Africa’s most famous extreme enduro…
The Roof of Africa off –road race started in 1967, although bikes first raced in 199. As far as bikes are concerned this is the 45th consecutive event. There are not many motorcycle racing events of any kind that are this old. The TT on the Isle of Man is one, and the Baja down in Mexico is another. There are probably one or two others like the ISDE and the Six Days Trial in the UK. Even including the few we have forgotten, or don’t know about in the first place, the Roof is approaching its half century, which is really something.
It takes tough men (and sometimes women) to race in the Roof, but it also takes a tough band of men and women to organize it each year. Lesotho, with its spectacular mountainous terrain and sparse population is the main feature that makes the event what it is. Except for roads to towns around the perimeter of the country and one or two across the lowlands, the rest of it is linked by goat tracks, foot-paths and twisty dirt roads. The Lesotho pony or donkey is still the most common local form of transport in the interior of the country.
Here are some numbers that tell the Roof story:
36 (so far) competitors from abroad.
Remember all South Africans are international riders in Lesotho.
2014 Entries: Gold: 130 Silver: 165 Bronze: 100 Ladies 3
R180 000.00 Prize money in 2014
125, 200,250,300,350,450,500: Bike capacities in 2014.
4000: Spectators expected in 2014. Excluding locals.
Approx M35 MILLION: Money generated into the Lesotho economy.
Class distances for 2014 Roof Of Africa:
425 Km. Gold.
1250 Km. Longest Roof ever. 1985.
250Km. Shortest Roof ever 2013.
800-1000Km. Ridden to plot 2014 route.
300 Km. Walked to plot and mark the 2014 route.
10. People involved in finding and marking 2014 routes.
150. Officials & volunteers working on the 2014 Roof.
15. Different nationalities taking part so far this year.
150. Tins of paint used to mark 2014 route.
13 573 Km Furthest distance for a competitor to travel- Japan.
15 km Closest competitor – Lesotho.
16. Youngest riders to ever finish the Roof . Symm Grobler (3rd 500 class ’77). Wade Young (winner ’12). Frans Czepeck. Alex Vowles.
15. Ladies since the start of the event.
10. Different brands 2014.
750. Biggest capacity bike ever officially raced? 1978 Honda CB 750/4 K
2. Basotho’s have won the Roof. Patrick Andrews (Bikes) and Ashley Thorn (Cars).
25 – The brand that has won the most number of times. KTM
1 - Brands that have won the least. Suzuki, Husaberg, Husqvarna 1 each.
50cc – Smallest bike to ever finish the Roof? Kreidler by Neil Crammond (but time barred).
3000 - Metres above sea level. The highest altitude ever raced at The Roof.
11500 – Approximate Number of motorcycle competitors entered since 1969.
4000 – Twitter followers in 2013 – the first year the Roof had a real twitter feed.
30 – Years that one sponsor has been involved with The Roof. Lesotho Sun.
Some other interesting facts:
Who has been lost for the longest? We don’t know, a couple of them from different years are still out there, so it depends on who gets back first.
First ATV to enter The Roof: (Honda 3 wheeler) Willie Wheelan 1981.
Who has won on two and four wheels? Malcolm Smith. Kenny Skjoldhamer.
First Overseas Winner of the Roof: Malcolm Smith 1975.