Scorching temperatures don’t stop Wade Young becoming the eight-times winner of the Roof of Africa Hard Enduro in Lesotho.

Set in the stunning Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho, the 2023 Roof of Africa could not have been in a bigger contrast of conditions to 12 months previous. Gone were the rains and floods and riders instead faced one of the most challenging races in recent memory due to the scorching heat and dry conditions across all three days with dehydration and heat exhaustion taking its toll across the entire field.

Unfazed by whatever weather Lesotho throwas at him, Wade Young reaffirmed his mastery over the 2023 edition of the Roof, despite challenges from Cody Webb, Matt Green and Brett Swanepoel.

Starting with a win on Thursday in the Round the Houses race and a sensible fifth place position in the tricky Time Trial, Young went on to establish a commanding 25-minute lead over Green and Swanepoel on day one, a lead which he carried through to an impressive eighth victory.


Like this event wasn’t hard enough!

Swanepoel’s performance on the day was particularly impressive because it included losing over 20 minutes at the start due to a mechanical glitch, a big crash which resulted in broken toes and later, a head-on collision with an Adventure bike to round out an eventful day.

The decisive day two evolved into a tactical back-and-forth amongst a small group of riders, with lead positions changing multiple times. 17-year-old sensation James Moore (RIDE KTM Durban) eventually ended up setting the fastest time but Young remained in firm contention throughout the day having set up a huge advantage on day one.

Eventually Wade secured victory with a margin of just under 20 minutes from Green, followed by Swanepoel who trailed Green by a mere three minutes in the overall standings despite his day one disasters.

“The last climb on Day 1 broke most of the riders and that helped me build the lead that I worked hard to maintain to the end.” Said Wade at the finish. “I didn’t have the best day today, but I still pushed as hard as I could and I’m happy it was enough to get the win. I have to say I have never been this tired at the end of a race in my entire career, the days were just so long and the heat only made it worse.”


Extreme heat

The extremity of the conditions led to multiple retirements across all classes, with incidents like Will Slater (Brother Leadertread KTM) needing to be airlifted out of contention due to heat exhaustion on Day 1. Travis Teasdale (Husqvarna), another pre-race favourite, also battled with the heat on Day 1 and despite starting out on Day 2, did not make it to the finish.

2023 ROA Gold class results:


Sherco take manufacturers award

Sherco also won the Manufacturers title this year and very nearly achieved a triumphant hat-trick across the top three classes. 

Along with podium finishes in Gold for Young and Swanepoel, sixth position went to Cody Webb participating in his first Roof and and being astounded by just how tough the conditions were.


In the Bronze class, Louis-Bresler Knipe delivered a dominant performance on board his Sherco 500 SEF four-stroke, securing overall victory with an 18-minute lead over the biggest field in the race.

After a fierce battle with Tate Stroh (Yamaha), Daniel Peckham (Trademore Sherco), had to settle for second place in the Silver class, followed by Grant Burton-Durham (Vamos Racing Gas Gas). The top finishing Lady at this year’s event was Terri-Lynn Hodge (Trademore Sherco) after Kirsten Landman (ASP Rope Access KTM) retired with mechanical problems early on Day 1.

Mercia Jansen, General Manager South and East Africa for Motul shared her experience of the event this year, “The Kingdom of Lesotho once again delivered some extreme weather conditions, this was the first completely dry and hot Roof since 2016 and it pushed the riders and their machines to the absolute limit! The Roof really is the ultimate test for our products and that’s why we love it. We also love seeing the industry gather at the event, its like a big reunion and we all love being here to give back to the racing community.”

Full final results here on Race Control.


Photo Credit: @sotallrightnow