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Lesotho gears up for the ultimate hard enduro showdown

Business

Seabata Mahao

The 54th edition of the Roof of Africa (ROA), inaugurated in 1967 as the world’s oldest hard enduro race, is slated to unfold in the Mountain Kingdom from November 30 to December 2.

Mopedi Ndabe, Chairperson of the Lesotho Off-road Association (LORA), unveiled plans for this year’s event, expecting a staggering 465 competitors.

With classes ranging from the demanding Gold to the family-friendly Iron category, the event caters to riders of varied skill levels.

The Iron category, ideal for amateur and leisure riders, also serves as a training ground for future Roof participants, primarily dominated by South African riders.

Each class will face the Round the Houses City Prologue Surprise on Day 1, setting the stage for the gripping mountain challenges ahead on Days 2 and 3.

Spanning 90-180km each day, riders will navigate breathtaking trails amidst the stunning Maloti Mountains.

“This year marks unprecedented support from various government ministries, corporations, and departments, promising to make this event extraordinary,” Ndabe expressed.

Participants from diverse countries like South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia, Kenya, Iceland, Fiji, Austria, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, and Australia will partake in the ROA.

Notably, 12 Lesotho Nationals are expected to compete in this year’s edition.

Tšepo Lethobane, District Administrator (DA) of Maseru, emphasised the job opportunities the ROA brings, particularly benefiting Maseru residents.

Anticipating an influx of visitors, Lethobane highlighted the event’s potential to bolster the country’s economy through tourism and related sectors.

“As the Ministries of Environment, Sports, Tourism, and Police are directly involved, let us collaborate for a successful and memorable event,” Lethobane urged.

He also called upon locals, especially herd boys, to assist and ensure the safety of bikers along the race tracks.

Tebello Thola, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC), lauded the ROA as an extreme endurance motorcycle sport globally recognised for its excitement.

Thola stressed its significance in Lesotho’s tourism calendar, drawing spectators from across the world and Africa to witness the annual three-day festival.

“The ROA is hailed as a significant economic booster, filling accommodations, creating short-term tourism jobs, and stimulating sectors like transportation, restaurants, and souvenir trade,” Thola remarked.

This symbiotic relationship between sports and tourism enhances economic activities within the country.

Lesotho’s challenging landscape has positioned it as an ideal destination for adventurous riders seeking to test their endurance. Its wide valleys and demanding terrains serve as a thrilling playground for motorcyclists.

Notably, the ROA has garnered attention from the Royal family, government officials, corporate VVIPs, and international dignitaries.

His Royal Highness Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso remains the event’s life patron, often joined by the Prime Minister and other high-profile dignitaries to inaugurate and grace the occasion.

The Roof of Africa is sanctioned by Motorsport South Africa (MSA) and as such only MSA racing licenses will be recognized during the admission process. All Roof Competitors need to possess a valid MSA Cross Country Motorcycle or Enduro License.

This license has to be a club/regional/national or one-event license.

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