Anyone who has ridden a bike with knobblies on tar will know how little traction is available. To really amp things up you can wet the tar. Toss a huge dose of adrenalin into the mix, and a generous helping of spectators going ballistic. What you then have is a recipe for a motorsport spectacle of note! Red mist, fire in the belly, and a reputation on the line, means that an event which, in truth, is essentially irrelevant in the big scheme of ‘Roof’ things, becomes very relevant to the racer in every rider on the start line.
Bikes roll to the line. High revving four stroke singles, with their urgent blatting bellow, drowned by the strident rasp of big bore two strokes. The cacophony of sound fires the riders up even more. Frigid fingers pull in clutches. Booted feet stomp bikes into gear. Accompanying the aural assault is a visual spectacle of note. Riding kit bearing sponsors colours and names. A bunch of orange KTM’s, with a sprinkling of blue, white and yellow from the Yamaha, Husqvarna and Sherco pilots. The anticipation reaches a fever pitch! Off they go! The focussed fury of off-road motorcycle competition at it’s very best.
The sky is leaden. Low clouds, pregnant with even more rain and who knows what else in this Mountain Kingdom, dominate the heavens. The temperature remains frigid, but the racing is white hot! The incandescent skills of these top two wheeled gladiators lights up the otherwise dreary day. Waves of 25 to 30 riders in the silver, then gold classes, go out on a sighting lap then on-to the start line. Flagged away by the King of Lesotho, the racing is on!
When the sights and sounds of two wheeled conflict dissipated, the results were as follows:
Bradley Cox – 00:07:13
James Hillier – 00:07:17
Francois Du Toit – 00:07:32
Travis Teasdale – 00:07:02
Scott Bouverie – 00:07:06
Alfredo Gomez – 00:07:09
Now that the showmanship is over, let’s go up the mountain for the time trial. Due to the severe overnight weather, the time trial start times are moved on by a couple of hours. At the time of writing the visibility is improving.
The clouds are lifting somewhat, allowing the Whirlybirds into the air. MOTUL Roof of Africa 2017 is officially under way!
Photo Credit: Joe Fleming (Bonafide Moto Co).