The Junior Roof, the third round of the South African Junior National Championship that took place in Lesotho this past weekend, produced a few new class winners after an exciting race that took young off-road motorcycle and quad competitors into the mountains and lowlands of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. It was a tough event where hanging dust as well as the level of fitness of the competitors played a big role in the outcome of the results.
There were new winners in both the Senior Open Motorcycle Class and the 125cc Motorcycle Class where Damien Scott (Fever Criterion Yamaha) and Brett Swanepoel (Team JOAT KTM) were the respective class winners. It was first victories this season for both these KwaZulu-Natal competitors and thick dust (and no wind) as well as a route that demanded all their concentration, added to the nail-biting situations in these competitive classes.
Scott, who found himself stuck just before the finish, beat Louw Schmidt whose Dirtstyle Honeydew Suzuki experienced overheating problems while Richard Wieland (Yamaha), who competed for the first time in the national championship, completed the podium. Jaycee Nienaber (Manhand Racing/Yamaha Support) posted his best result of the season with a fourth place while Estiaan Steenkamp (Water Rite Racing Yamaha) was fifth. Steenkamp survived a scary moment when his bike rolled down a cliff (he jumped off) and he lost time recovering it.
It was a first Lesotho experience for both Dirk Swanepoel (Yamaha) and Bradley Nortje (Manhand Racing/Yamaha Support) who were sixth and seventh respectively in the Open Motorcycle Class while Andrew Wren (Xtreme Yamaha Support) salvaged points with his eighth place after landing in a ditch with local inhabitants and their donkeys having to assist him to get his motorcycle out. Ruan Merry (Gas Gas) was the last finisher in this class after a tough race.
A furious battle raged in the 125cc (motorcycle) Class where Swanepoel beat double 2012 class winner, Travis Teasdale (Fever Criterion Yamaha) after they raced together for the best part of the three and a half hour race. Duncan de Beer (Yamaha) also competed for the first time this season in the national championship and finished third after a trouble-free race. Jan Human (Gemini Roost KTM) has recovered from a broken collarbone earlier this season to finish fourth while Angus Coetzee (Fever Criterion Yamaha), who suffered from a wrist injury in February, has also made a come-back to finish fifth.
The names of a few riders who competed for the first time this season also appeared in the rest of the top ten – Cullim Symons (Yamaha) finished sixth while Jason Jones (Yamaha) was eighth; Dylan Barker (PA MA Racing Yamaha) was ninth and former junior champion, Tiaan Shattock (Husaberg) was tenth. Regular competitor, Eamonn Sullivan (Yamaha), finished seventh.
Bradley Cox (Red Bull KTM) scored a hat-trick in his debut off-road racing season when he won the Senior 85cc Class for the third consecutive race while he also won his first Lesotho race albeit a crash that left him in pain for the best part of the race. Dad Alfie Cox has won the Roof of Africa nine times. Cox beat the consistent Alastair Drennan (Gemini Roost KTM) who claimed his third podium position this season while Reghardt van Nieuwenhuizen (KTM) posted his best result of the year when he stepped onto the third step of the podium. Chayse Orsmond (Fever Criterion Yamaha) was fourth with Jarred Ford fifth.
In the Senior Open Quad Class, Jaco Moller started the race in eighth place and claimed his second victory of the season despite a flat tyre and a hole in the radiator of his Extreme ATV Tzaneen Suzuki. Adriaan Uys (Water Rite Racing Kawasaki) claimed another runner-up position after a consistent race with Joshua Schenk (Yamaha) stepping onto the podium for the first time when he finished third.
It was a first outing this season for the 2011 Junior Modified Quad Class winner, Pandelis Kafaltis (Yamaha) who finished fourth with a problematic clutch. After also competing in the junior category last year, Amanda du Plessis (Quad Revolution Yamaha) has also moved up to the senior category and competed for the first time this season. She finished fifth.
Wayne Smith (Honda) crashed and was injured, but completed the required race distance to finish sixth. He was followed by Western Cape riders, Kenan Kotze (Yamaha Support); Kevin Crouse (JAG Quad Racing Yamaha) who got lost and his team-mate, Dillon Joubert (Yamaha) with William "Tjoppie" Nutt (Boesman Racing Suzuki) rounding off the top ten.
Brodie Jacobs (Yamaha) claimed his third victory in the Junior Modified Quad Class with first-timer, Wilmari Moller (Extreme ATV Tzaneen Hybrid) second in only her first race this year.
There was also another Junior Open Quad Class victory for Tyrone Renwick (Yamaha) who finished ahead of Tristan Joubert (JAG Quad Racing Yamaha) with Jade Schutte (Perry Yamaha) rounding off the podium. These riders between the ages of 10 and 15 years had to adapt to the different type of route marking in Lesotho and some competitors got lost early in the race while a testing route required all their skill.
All the brave entrants in the junior quad category did however finish the Junior Roof with Eathan van Rensburg (Yamaha) finishing fourth; Janco Joubert (Honda) fifth and Byron Mitchell (Yamaha) sixth after their first Lesotho attempt.
In the junior motorcycle category, Tristin Asher-Wood (Truck Special Projects KTM) won his first Lesotho race and claimed his second victory of the season in the Junior 85cc Class. He was followed closely by the consistent Keagan Coetzee (Gemini Roost KTM) with Calvin Hume (Perry Yamaha) third after he crashed and damaged his bike. David Odendaal (KTM) was fourth; Eduan Bester (Yamaha) was fifth and was followed by Rory Lutz; Patrick Moore (Yamaha) and Maarten van Jaarsveld (Manhand Racing Yamaha).
Cayle Dormehl (KTM) is a newcomer in the 65cc Class for young motorcycle riders between seven and 11 years and took the class victory after a brave effort. Cameron Durow (KTM) was second with the winner of the previous race, Stefan van Deventer (PA MA Racing KTM), third after a crash. Matthew Green (Kargo Racing KTM) also crashed, but finished fourth with Erik Merry (KTM) fifth after getting stuck twice in a river.
The fourth round of the Junior National Championship, the BELL Junior National, will take place on 14 July in the Hluhluwe area in KwaZulu-Natal.
(The Junior Roof was an MSA sanctioned event.)