16-year-old Wade Young became the youngest winner of the Roof of Africa event this weekend.
16-year-old Wade Young became the youngest winner of the Roof of Africa event this weekend.
Wade Young. Image: Elza Thiart.
Wade Young. Image: Elza Thiart.

16-year-old Wade Young made history on Saturday when he became the youngest competitor ever to win the Roof of Africa enduro motorcycle race that took place for the 45th time in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

It was also the first time since 2007 that a South African rider has won this gruelling 450km, three-day event.


Extremely hot weather conditions caused many competitors to dehydrate while a challenging route confirmed the 2012 Roof of Africa enduro as one of the toughest in recent years.

Young, racing for Team Fever Criterion Yamaha, took the lead on Friday when he posted the fastest time after starting the race from second position behind Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who won the 60km time-trial that determined the starting order for Friday's racing section.

The youngster tackled the third and final day on Saturday (187km) with a gap of just over 10 minutes to the 2011 winner, Graham Jarvis (Flite Extreme Husaberg) and eventually beat second-placed fellow South African, Altus de Wet (Brother Broadlink KTM) by just over 11 minutes after a total race time of 17h36m10, although all race results are still classified as provisional.


A regular Roof of Africa competitor, 27-year-old De Wet started the final day from third position, 26 seconds behind Jarvis, but overtook the UK extreme enduro expert, who experienced problems with his GPS early in the day. Jarvis had to settle for third place, but vowed to be back to try and reclaim the title.

De Wet's team-mate, Darryl Curtis, a former winner who competed in his 21st Roof of Africa and admitted that he would have liked to be even better prepared for the event as the preparation and testing for the 2013 Dakar Rally demanded a lot of his time, was ecstatic with his fourth place.

Another team-mate, Louwrens Mahoney, struggled with two problematic GPS's, but managed to finish eighth while Riaan van Niekerk was ninth. Torlage, who suffered

from an injured thumb since early Friday, fought back from ninth place on Friday to finish fifth.

He was just ahead of this team-mate, Kenny Gilbert, who competed in his ninth Roof of Africa.