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Mother of all showdowns at the 50th edition of the MOTUL Roof of Africa!

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A dusty Graham Jarvis after his 2016 Roof of Africa win. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za

An epic battle for the Kingdom of Lesotho will unfold in just over two weeks. The annual MOTUL Roof of Africa will take place from 15-18 November.

This will be the 50th edition of the ‘Mother of Hard Enduros’, Africa’s largest and oldest offroad event, and it promises to be more exciting than ever.

A glimpse of the glorious Lesotho landscape. Roof of Africa 2016. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za

All eyes will be on the international showdown between ROCKSTAR ENRGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’s Graham Jarvis and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Alfredo Gomez. There is bound to be blood as the riders gear up to fight tooth and nail for the esteemed Roof of Africa title.

Gomez was somewhat controversially defeated by Jarvis at the 2016 event after a calculation error. Gomez thought he only had to finish with Jarvis to take the win and ended up losing the race by a mere 9 seconds on the final climb to the finish line. Lesotho’s heat and high altitude sets the stage for and epic showdown in search of vengeance.

2016 Roof of Africa runner up Alfredo Gomez. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za

Other international riders that cannot be left out of the mix is Andreas Lettenbichler (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and his son Manuel Lettenbichler (Brother Leader Tread KTM).

Competitive racing runs deep in the Lettenbichler genes, and the young ‘Lettie’ superstar has often been described to be the future of hard enduro.

Adding an extra international twist is Mario Roman. The Sherco Factory Racing rider placed second behind Jarvis in Red Bull Sea to Sky and Red Bull Romanics this year.

For the first time in the Roof of Africa’s history, there will also be an exciting battle between the women riders who have been brave enough to sign up for the gold route. Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Kirsten Landman is the only woman to have ever finished the Gold class of the event.

Queen of the Mountains Kirsten Landman. Roof of Africa 2016. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za

While the local enduro hero usually executes a complete whitewash in her category, she will enjoy being presented with a challenge from another female rider for a change.

The challenge will come from the 2016 FIM Women’s SuperEnduro World Cup winner, 2015 AMA EnduroCross Cup winner, 2014 Spanish Trials champion and multiple X Games medalist, Sandra Gomez riding for PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING.

The Spaniard stepped onto the African continent for the first time last month. She flew in for the National Enduro season finale, and thoroughly enjoyed getting a taste of what Lesotho’s treacherous terrain is like.

A brutal local battle for the Roof of Africa title is also on the cards for this year’s event. After a tough setback this season, PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING’s Brett Swanepoel will be itching to put on a proper show. He will be up against Brother Leader Tread KTM’s Travis Teasdale, who beat him to the National Enduro championship title recently, and his team mates Scott Bouverie and Dwayne Kleynhans.

Dwayne Kleynhans blazes his way through the Roof of Africa 2016. Credit: www.zcmc.co.za

A local dark horse that has the potential to cause an upset is Sherco Factory Racing’s Wade Young. The rider sent shock waves into the world of hard enduro in 2012 when he won the prestigious Roof of Africa as a 16-year old.

Wade Young seen during Red Bull Sea To Sky. Credit: Mahmut Cinci / Red Bull Content Pool

He missed out on the event last year because of an injury that he sustained at Red Bull Sea to Sky. He openly expressed how gutted he felt, and will be more hungry than ever to stake his claim at this year’s event.

A promising youngster that looks set to follow in Young’s footsteps in 16-year old Matthew Green (PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING).

All eyes will be on Green after his recent performance in the National Enduro series, where he went on to win the High School Championship.