Wade Young has raced into the record books as the winner of the 50th edition of the Roof of Africa – the 'Mother of Hard Enduro'.
Signing off on the 2017 Hard Enduro World Series in style, Wade Young claimed his third victory in the race, leading home fellow countryman Travis Teasdale in second, with Graham Jarvis third.
“To get back on the top of the hard enduro podium and do it at home in the 50th edition of the Roof of Africa is very special.”
With a one-minute cushion starting the third and final day of racing, Young had a virtual grasp on victory. But with a determined Teasdale hot on his heels and the ever-threatening Graham Jarvis not too far behind, it wouldn’t be an easy ride to the top step of the podium.
Hungry for his debut Hard Enduro win, Teasdale came out swinging like he’d done during the previous two days, battling back and forth with Young. Timing it right, Young made his attack on one of the penultimate climbs and broke Teasdale to ride home for the win.
“It’s been a tough three days of hard racing,” continued Young. “Travis kept me honest all week. I managed to break him on one of the climbs and kept it together until the end,” continued Young.
“Everyone is riding so strong right now, you really need to bring your A-Game to the races if you want even a sniff of a top five result.”
As one of the standout performers in this year’s race, Teasdale made it known that he’s ready to run with Hard Enduro’s top talent. Never afraid to lead the pack, he pushed the pace throughout three tough days and claimed a debut Hard Enduro podium result.
“But credit to Wade, he’s rode incredible. Today there was one pass I struggled a bit with and I think Wade broke me there,” said Teasdale.
“But all the training has paid off and to get on the podium for the last race of the year is more than I originally hoped for. I’ve a lot of respect for Wade, he’s one of the best in the world and it was cool to ride at the front of the field with him.”
Hoping for a fifth Roof of Africa win in the 50th edition of the race, Jarvis didn’t achieve the winning result he’d hoped for. Faced with a pair of fast South Africans and a course equally as fast, he had to be content with third overall. But that result was more than enough to end his 2017 season as champion of the Hard Enduro World Series.
“The 50th Roof of Africa’s been a great event. It wasn’t to be for me and a fifth win, but I’m still pleased with a podium result,” said Jarvis. “Things weren’t quite as tough I’d hoped they’d be, but it’s still been great to end the year with a strong result. I’m happy enough with the way the first day went – I knew the riding would be fast, it always is on day one.
“Things were pretty fast throughout day two, and similar again on the third and last day. I didn’t do too much wrong really on either day, it’s just Wade and Travis were faster. Ten minutes behind with one day to go wasn’t ideal, but like I said I found it hard to go fast where the grass was long and there was no clear track to follow. It’s been a long, tough season, but it’s been a good one.”
Shadowing Jarvis across the finish line, Blake Gutzeit finished just two minutes off the podium in fourth overall. Carrying a wrist injury throughout the race, Alfredo Gómez was unable to replicate his runner-up result of 2016 but did enough for fifth overall.
“I really enjoyed the event, it’s just unfortunate I had to ride with a slight injury to my wrist,” explain Gomez. “The Round the Houses Prologue was great, I really love the speed and was pleased to finish third. Day one was good, but after a couple of hours my wrist really began to ache and I wasn’t able to ride as I should.
“The same thing happened on Saturday, the route was really good and I enjoyed the hill-climbs, but on the bumpy tracks I just couldn’t hold on properly. I had a good battle with Mario towards the end and managed to pass him near the finish to take fifth, so that was fun. Now I will look forward to the Superenduro season and try to get back to 100% for that.”
Creating her own piece of history, Sandra Gómez brought her Husqvarna home in 30th overall to become the highest ever female finisher of the race.
Finishing nine places further back, but over two hours behind her rival, Kirsten Landman crossed the finish line in 39th.
Provisional results – Roof of Africa 2017
Wade Young (Sherco) 10:41:28
Travis Teasdale (KTM) 10:52:34
Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 11:04:06
Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha) 11:06:36
Alfredo Gómez (KTM) 11:13:15
Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 11:19:25
Scott Bouverie (KTM) 11:19:35
Mario Roman (Sherco) 11:23:05
Andreas Lettenbichler (KTM) 11:30:58
David Cyprian (KTM) 11:57:10