Provisional Results as at 10 am Sunday 3 December
The 2023 Roof of Africa, set against the stunning backdrop of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho from 27th November to 2nd December, provided one of the most challenging races in recent memory due to the scorching heat and dry conditions experienced across all three days. Unlike the torrential rain of last year’s event, this edition presented a new test for riders, with dehydration and heat exhaustion taking its toll across the entire field.
It seems Wade Young (Sherco – Powered by Motul) is unfazed by weather and he reaffirmed his mastery over the event this weekend by starting with a win on Thursday in the Round the Houses race and a sensible 5th place position in the tricky Time Trial. The first full day of racing (Day 1) saw him steadily work his way to the front, establishing a commanding 25-minute lead over Matt Green (KTM) and Brett Swanepoel on his Motul backed Trademore Sherco. Swanepoel’s performance on the day was particularly impressive because it included losing over 20 minutes at the start due to a mechanical glitch, a big crash which resulted in broken toes and later, a head-on collision with an Adventure bike to round out an eventful day.
Day 2 evolved into a tactical back-and-forth amongst a small group of riders, with lead positions changing multiple times. While 17-year-old sensation James Moore (RIDE KTM Durban) ended up setting the fastest time of Day 2, Young remained in firm contention throughout the day on his Sherco 300 SEF Factory edition, eventually securing a hard-earned victory with a margin of just under 20 minutes from Green, followed by Swanepoel who trailed Green by a mere 3 minutes in the overall standings.
“The last climb on Day 1 broke most of the riders and that helped me build the lead that I worked hard to maintain to the end. I didn’t have the best day today, but I still pushed as hard as I could and I’m happy it was enough to get the win. I have to say I have never been this tired at the end of a race in my entire career, the days were just so long and the heat only made it worse,” said a relieved Young at the finish.
The extremity of the conditions led to multiple retirements across all classes, with incidents like Will Slater (Brother Leadertread KTM) needing to be airlifted out of contention due to heat exhaustion on Day 1. Travis Teasdale (Husqvarna), another pre-race favorite, also battled with the heat on Day 1 and despite starting out on Day 2, did not make it to the finish.
Sherco celebrated several exceptional performances in the challenging conditions over the weekend with podium finishes in Gold with Young (1st) and Swanepoel (3rd) and a commendable 6th position for American star Cody Webb, who was participating in his first Roof and was astounded by just how tough the conditions were. In the Bronze class, Louis-Bresler Knipe delivered a dominant performance on board his Sherco 500 SEF 4-stroke, securing overall victory with an 18-minute lead over the biggest field in the race.
Sherco also won the Manufacturers title this year and very nearly achieved a triumphant hat-trick across the top 3 classes, but after a fierce battle with Tate Stroh (Yamaha), Daniel Peckham (Trademore Sherco), had to settle for 2nd place in the Silver class, followed by Grant Burton-Durham (Vamos Racing Gas Gas). The top finishing Lady at this year’s event was Terri-Lynn Hodge (Trademore Sherco) after Kirsten Landman (ASP Rope Access KTM) retired with mechanical problems early on Day 1.
Mercia Jansen, General Manager South and East Africa for Motul shared her experience of the event this year, “The Kingdom of Lesotho once again delivered some extreme weather conditions, this was the first completely dry and hot Roof since 2016 and it pushed the riders and their machines to the absolute limit! The Roof really is the ultimate test for our products and that’s why we love it. We also love seeing the industry gather at the event, its like a big reunion and we all love being here to give back to the racing community.”
For the final results go to this Link on Race Control.
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Motul partners with many manufacturers and racing teams in order to further their technological product development through experience gained in motorsports. It has served as an official supplier for teams competing in iconic Road racing, Trials, Enduro, Endurance, Superbike, Supercross, Rallycross and World GT1 events, including 24 Hours of Le Mans (cars and motorcycles), 24 Hours of Spa, Le Mans Series, Andros Trophy, the Dakar Rally and the Roof of Africa.
Issued on behalf of Motul by Malcolm Joubert