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7 months ago

DIRT and TRAIL January 22

  • Text
  • Motorcycles
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  • Dunlop
  • Enduro
  • Lesotho
  • Rally
  • Racing
  • Yamaha
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Le From Will: P15 for 15

Le From Will: P15 for 15 straight consecutive golds .Had to work really hard for this gold roof finish with 13h45 hours on Friday. Saturday was also a mud battle after only having 3hours sleep on Friday evening. I had to use my military training, Romaniacs gold experience and my previous Roof experience to pull this one off. A massive thanks to Mclarens Yamaha for giving me an opportunity to compete in the 2021 Roof...Thank you Ian McLaren. Thank you to Steve Thompson for everything you have done over the years and for your immaculate attention to detail preparing my bike. Without my Brother Michael Gillitt no finish is possible, yet again he worked a slick service crew plan along with 10 other McLaren crew members. To all the riders that trained with me during the year especially the bronze riders I am proud of all your finishes. Thanks Altus and Charan Moore for testing me to my limits.#oldbutnotcold That’s the story from our perspective. Sadly, with the routes being changed every day, we seemed to miss most of the Iron class action and they finished each day at Thaba Bosiu. Many of our friends rode the class –and to quote Eldin Engelbrecht: “It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done!” So if you think that Iron is a picnic – maybe think again. Tiaan Rabe made Motul Roof of Africa history. His is the firstever name on the Iron Class trophy and he was followed home by Manuel Ferreira and Kowie Lombard. To watch the Roof Vids that we took – we have complied them all on our You Tube channel – South African motorcycle Media have a watch one rainy day and you’ll get the idea of what it was like to be there. All of the other photos we took are up on our social media page – facebook.com/dirtandtrail. For all the great official Motul Roof Of Africa stuff , professional vids, pics, releases etc – www.roofofafrica.co.ls Two Roof legends Eddie Mdonana and Graydon Ilderton at the finish. People’s tales… My name is Luca van Zyl, I am 16 years old and competed in the Gold class at the Roof of Africa 2021 and I want to share my story: Being 16 years old, it was the first time I was allowed to compete and my bike of choice was a 2021 Husqvarna TE150i, because the regulations restricted us from riding any bigger 2 strokes. My training started in Jan 2021 and we used the National Enduro and Extreme Enduro series to gain experience and help to prepare myself. At the time trial I started 4th, which was a bit of a rookie mistake, because it made navigation difficult, however I felt very strong and managed a good pace and even followed Will Waide Slater at the same pace for about 20km. About a kilometre from the finish of the time trial I ran out of fuel. I managed to limp along, but in the end I had to push my bike to the finish line. I lost quite a bit of time, but still managed a 30th place. It was then that I realized that fuel was going to be the biggest challenge for me at this year’s Roof. We urgently changed our strategy and my crew planned additional fuel stops in between the official refueling points. On Friday morning I was on the start line at 05:30 and I realized that the looming rain was going to make my fuel problem even bigger, but we were confident about our strategy. From the start I was making up good positions and gained a lot of time, even under these extreme weather conditions. My crew refueled me at a road crossing between the start and refuel 1. At that stage I was super confident about my race and day ahead and continued to make good time to refuel 1. At refuel 1, I quickly changed a broken gear lever and refueled my bike. The distance between refuel 1 and refuel 2 was 38km, which seemed to be manageable without any additional fuel topups. I continued to gain positions and was able to get into the top 20. The conditions were atrocious, but I still felt everything was doable that was thrown at us.

At 12:10 with only 8 km’s to go to refuel 2 I ran out of fuel. I was in a Gold section, and the riders that passed me, could not help me with fuel. There was no cell phone reception at the point where I ran out, and I did not want to leave my bike, in case someone comes past that can assist. I sat in the cold and rain with my space blanket, and after about 2 hours eventually decided to take a walk to get cell phone reception. I made contact with my crew, but because of the weather conditions and my location, the only way out was by helicopter. My crew made arrangements with the organisers and after a long wait the weather cleared a bit and the helicopter was able to rescue me at about 16:30. I was devastated, all I wanted was fuel so that I can get my bike out, finish the day and compete again on Saturday. Unfortunately the organisers were adamant, it is too much of a safety risk and my bike had to stay behind and I had to withdraw from the final day’s racing. This was the saddest day of my life! Saturday’s mission was all about getting my bike out of the mountains. The weather was not playing along and the helicopter was grounded. We managed to find a way to a village closest to my bike. We gathered a few local people to help me get to the bike and we started hiking up the mountain. Fortunately, about halfway to the bike, we received a message from the organisers that the helicopter had retrieved my bike from the mountain and we were given the coordinates of a close by village, where we could collect. After a long a long 7 hour mission, I was finally reunited with my bike. This was my first Roof, it was not the result I hoped for, but I had the experience of my life. It is called the Mother of Hard Enduro after all. I will be back! King of Lesotho, King Letsie III drops the flag to officially open the Motul Roof of Africa. Bronze Podium - Rory Gower - Pieter Holl - Jukka Pieter Holl Leo LESOTHO OFF ROAD ASSOCIATION