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Jarvis to miss Roof of Africa

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MASERU – British rider Graham Jarvis, who rides for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, is set to miss this year’s edition of the Roof of Africa.

Jarvis’ name has become synonymous with the Roof of Africa having attended almost every event over the last seven years.

He is also one of the race’s most successful racers having won the title in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Jarvis will be a big miss and, in his absence, defending champion Wade Young, who rides for Sherco is expected to battle it out with the likes of Manuel Letternbichler, who rides for KTM Factory Racing.

Brett Swanepoel of Husqvarna Racing and Travis Teasdale of ASP Rope McLaren’s Racing are some of the other top riders who will grace the annual motorbike event.

Young made history back in 2012 when, at 16 years old, he became the race’s youngest ever winner when he beat Jarvis. Young has gone on to win the Roof of Africa six times — in 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. He goes into the weekend’s enduro as the favourite.

The annual spectacle kicks off today with the Round of House stage at the Maseru Club.

The racers will go around downtown, pass near the Chinese embassy and return to the starting point.

Each group of riders will do the circuit three times while also entertaining onlookers.

The Round of House is the only stage during the Roof of Africa that happens in town and is meant to give the public some entertainment and a glimpse of what to expect on Friday and Saturday when the race goes off-road.

The riders started arriving in the country on Tuesday and the documentation check was done yesterday to ensure everyone registered had arrived and provide a briefing on the race.

The Lesotho Off-Road Association (LORA) spokesperson, Lehlohonolo Taela, said there are six riders from Lesotho competing this year. Tobatsi Maseatile, Timello Tšolo, Basia Maseatile, Besele Malakane and Shabeer Moosa will all be competing in the bronze class while Peter Andrews will be in the iron class.

The gold class, which is for the elite races with the particular skillset to navigate hard terrain, will do the Enduro cross.

This is a short but gruelling cross where the riders will get the chance to showboat their skills and what makes them the elite racers. The bronze and iron class will do a time trial to see how they will line up for the race.

Explaining how the route will go, LORA Chief Marshall Tiki said the start and finishing point will be at Lekhalong La Baroa.

On Friday, the riders will go through Ha Khanyetsi, then they will separate with the bronze and iron class taking the Ha Mofoqohi direction while the silver and gold will go to Rapo-le-boea.

On Saturday, the classes will separate again at ‘Mankuluba.

The silver and gold will take the Snake Bite direction and they will go through Ha Nqheku then back to Lekhalong-la-Baroa.

When the elite riders arrive, they will have a stop for petrol and then go out for a short ride through Molimo-Nthuse for what has been dubbed as a spectacular finish.

Tlalane Phahla

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