LOCAL riders who failed to qualify for the Roof of Africa endurance motorcycle race have another chance at the two-day Lesotho Endurance Competition scheduled for tomorrow at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village.
The competition is being organised by the Lesotho Off-Road Association (LORA), and according to the body’s public relations officer, Keketso Malebo, it is the last chance for local riders to make it into the Roof of Africa line-up.
In its 50th year, the Roof is considered one of the world’s toughest motorbike races due to the challenging nature of its course through the country’s rugged terrain. As a result, it attracts up to 400 competitors from overseas and the African continent.
This year’s edition is scheduled for mid November.
Malebo told the Lesotho Times this week that local riders failed to qualify for the Roof of Africa in May this year.
Among the local riders expected to participate are Teboho Moretlo, Mopeli Ntabe and the three Maseatile brothers, Tatuku, Tobatsi and Basia. They all participated in the May Roof of Africa qualifiers, but failed to qualify.
The highest number of local riders to participate in Roof of Africa so far is the five that competed in 2015. Only three competed in last year’s edition.
“We had a Roof of Africa qualifying competition for local riders in May, but none of them managed to qualify,” she said.
“But they have another chance with the Lesotho Endurance race that will take place from this Friday and we hope they will make the best of it.”
Meanwhile, LORA president Tubatsi Kuoe revealed that the Lesotho Endurance Competition will be sponsored by AVANI Lesotho with the winners rewarded with trophies.
“The race has been divided into two loops with one of them set to take the riders to Sehlabeng Thuathe. Both of the races will be 40km long,” Kuoe said.
“We are also excited to reveal that AVANI Maseru is the main sponsor and will award trophies to the winners.”
He said foreign riders will also compete in the Lesotho Endurance Competition.
“Apart from the local riders, the majority of the riders are from South Africa also seeking to secure qualification for Roof of Africa.
“We also have a Spaniard female rider, Sandra Gomez, who will take part in the race to assess Lesotho’s terrain since she is interested in competing in the November main race.
“She comes from a family with a long history in the sport, and her brothers are among the top riders in Europe. We are, therefore, honoured to have her competing in the weekend’s race.”
Kuoe also indicated that the sport was slowly but surely gaining popularity in Lesotho due to the annual staging of Roof of Africa.
“The sport is still pretty much new to Basotho, but they have embraced it since we started with it,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it’s an expensive sport and that is why we don’t have many of us participating.”