In just under a week the world’s greatest enduro giants will step onto the African continent for the annual ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’, the MOTUL Roof of Africa.
Taking the spotlight is the international showdown that is set to take place between Alfredo Gomez (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Graham Jarvis (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING). This will be a familiar battle for the riders, who have been crowned the highest ranked enduro athletes on the planet.
After a calculation error in last year’s event, Gomez was brutally defeated by Jarvis by a mere nine-second margin on the final climb to the finish line. A revved up Gomez will certainly take on Lesotho’s technical terrain with more than just the intention of winning, but ensuring that he beats his arch rival.
Jarvis has ruled as King of the Mountains for the last two consecutive years of his career, and boasts a grand total of four Roof of Africa victories.
He has multiple titles in the world of hard enduro as a three time winner of the Erzbergrodeo’s Red Bull Hare Scramble; five time winner of Red Bull Sea to Sky; six time winner of Red Bull Romaniacs; and five time winner of Hells Gate.
A brief glance at the rider’s 2017 season sends a clear message that Jarvis is ready to go to war on his Husqvarna TE 300. One of the stand out victories that will elevate the rider’s confidence at this stage is his recent success at Hixpania Hard Enduro, an event that is described to be the ‘conquest of hard enduro.’
Surprised to have taken the win, a humble Jarvis said after the race: “I honestly wasn’t expecting to win this one today. Coming into the final race, Sunday’s extreme race, I was about fourth overall and thought the win was out of my reach.”
Jarvis has never failed to pull grit out of the bag when it is most needed, and will tackle the Roof with the same perseverance that has led him to the title for the past two years.
An unrelenting Gomez on his KTM 300 EXC is lurking, however, and will not rest until he has dethroned Jarvis from his esteemed mountain rule.
The Spaniard has slowly been establishing his reign in the world of hard enduro and took his first solo victory at the 2017 Erzbergrodeo’s Red Bull Hare Scramble. In a near flawless performance, Gomez conquered one of the ultimate hard enduro races to become the new king of the Iron Giant.
“Unbelievable. This is incredible for me. Every Hard Enduro rider wants to win this race and now I’ve done it,” said Gomez.
The victory proved more than just his capability of taking a prestigious enduro title, but his potential to beat Jarvis (and at this stage that is all that really counts). A defeated Jarvis finished in second, and would have released just how fierce the battle for the Roof of Africa title is going to be.
Which enduro titan will come out on top? Perhaps what we really should be asking is if a South African rider will step up to the plate, and surprise them both.