KTM’S CHRIS BIRCH FINISHES SECOND OVERALL IN ROOF OF AFRICA
KTM’s Chris Birch of New Zealand, a former winner at the Roof of Africa Hard Enduro in Lesotho battled over the three-day event to finish with a 4-1-4 result for overall second behind UK’s Graham Jarvis who proved to be a master of the wet and slippery conditions especially on the final day of competition.
The event kicked off as usual with the Round the Houses and time trial on Thursday and was followed by two testing days in the mountains, the traditionally challenging terrain of this Hard Enduro classic made even more difficult by the cold and wet conditions.
Friday proved a tough one with Chris Birch finishing on top but he, Jarvis, Blake Gutzeit and Altus De Wet all incurred a three minute penalty overnight for missing one of the check points. It was also a bad day for KTM rider Wade Young, who in 2012 became the youngest winner of this event. He had technical difficulties and had to pull out of Day Two.
Birch and Jarvis went into the final day with a significant lead but the weather was, torrential drought breaking rain made it so hard going that race officials eliminated the first major pass of the day. Birth and Jarvis arrived at the second pass, Mokopu Pass together but by the summit Birch had slipped 25 minutes behind Jarvis. By the time they had reached the final ascent Jarvis had extended his lead by 50 minutes as he continued to master the slippery slopes. Birch went on to finish fourth on the final day.
It was also a good event for KTM’s Roof of Africa rookie, Austrian Lars Enöckl who battled his way to a creditable overall twelfth. Only 24 riders in the Gold Class finished the race thus assuring its reputation of being the “Mother of All Hard Enduros” remained intact.
Results Roof of Africa 2013
1. Graham Jarvis (UK), Husqvarna, 13:56:00 h (2-2-1)
2. Chris Birch (NZ), KTM, 14:54:55 (4-1-4)
3. Scott Bouverie (RSA), KTM, 15:32:49
4. Blake Gutzeit (RSA), Sherco, 15:38:34
5. Ben Hemingway (UK), Beta, 15:57:54
11. Brett Swanepoel (RSA), KTM, 17:44:22
12. Lars Enöckl (A), KTM, 17:52:06