The first ever Kingdom Enduro took place last weekend in the Kingdom of Lesotho, breaking open a brand new Enduro World Series journey in Africa. Forty rather apprehensive riders rocked up on a tremendously wet Thursday afternoon. The stage was set at a lodge in Roma that was once one of Lesotho’s original trading posts. It is also the new basecamp for Lesotho Sky and home to Africa’s first Velosolutions pump track. The age old sandstone buildings mixed in with traditional round houses (rondavels) provided a setting almost lost in time with a view of the majestic mountains in the background.
The event kicked of an epic dinner on the stoep of the old house. The atmosphere amongst this clan of Africa’s most badass mountain bikers emanated through the age old sandstone walls. After a warm welcome, a little local language lesson and the introduction of the event’s most coveted jersey- “ The [email protected]#k of the day award.”, Africa’s first ever EWS qualifier was officially launched.
With all the rain, the first day was shortened to 3 Stages. Everybody loaded their bikes into a truck and jumped into the local taxis for a lift up the road to the start. The top of the 3 witches pass. A brief opening in the weather allowed for riders to get to the Start of stage 1 without rain and take a few snaps on one of the most beautiful liaisons the sport of enduro has to offer.
An inordinate amount of flow, rocks and mud set the stage for the day down ‘Pressure Cooker.’ Huge smiles at the bottom confirmed what the organisers had always suspected – the trails in Lesotho for Enduro are awesome.
With a perfect day forecast everybody loaded up in the local taxis and headed out to the top of “God-help-me” pass. After a short hike a bike to an iconic start at a cattle kraal in near perfect conditions, racing started.
A welcome shuttle after God Help Me sent riders twice down from Bushman’s Pass on two very physical trails before a long liaison to lunch. After lunch, the riders were treated to the best trail of the event, called ‘Love It.’ However, riders had to work hard for this as they were in for one hell of a hike-a-bike to the top. The view and trail at the top were simply spectacular!
After some crazy weather, with loads more thunder lightning hail and general not too perfect riding weather forecast for the afternoon, racing was called off. We did however jump in the bus for a shuttle day in the brief 3 hours of no rain for those of us who could still move. The shuttle morning was rad, with riders ables to do the hardest trail of the race called “Freefall” and 2 more trails before the rain set in. The event ended with a rad family oriented prize giving on the old stoep. Despite the cancellation of the final day, it is safe to say that the first EWS event in Africa is now well defined as the most badass race in Africa!
Keira Duncan – 00:58:16,248
Harry Orr – 01:00:50,396
Frank Meyer – 01:03:02,019
Daniel Dobinson – 01:00:28,604
Harry Millar – 01:11:42,716
David Hartley – 01:17:43,533
Anka Martin – 01:14:52,614
Lousie Kotze – 01:27:05,573
Frankie Du Toit – 01:36:04,691