Anyone who doesn’t believe in time-travel might have been rubbing their eyes had they spent the weekend of September 21st and 22nd, 2019 in Lesotho’s Maluti lowlands. The Motul Retro Roof saw a return of the spirit that characterised the early days of motorsports in Lesotho.
It also marked a third notable success for Lesotho-based events management company, Live Lesotho, after they had organised an outstanding Motul Roof of Africa Bronze Qualifier event earlier this year and a round of the National Off-Road Championship. For the Retro Roof, the Live Lesotho team drew on their Roof heritage and passion for the mountain kingdom they call home to deliver an event steeped in Roof history.
Retro Roof Route Director and Manager of Live Lesotho, Charan Moore, was clearly moved by meeting a number of drivers who had competed in the original Roof events back in the 1960s. “The gratitude expressed by the competitors – including those who had done the Roof back in the day - was actually really humbling.” commented Moore.
At the same time, it was the ideal introduction to riding Lesotho for riders who had been raised on tales of the Roof, but never experienced it. Among the competitors was Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa. By participating, she demonstrated her own – and Motul’s – long-standing commitment to preserving the spirit of the Roof. Not merely as a museum piece, but as a living, breathing part of southern Africa’s motorsports heritage.
“The 230km single-loop course was tough but achievable,” commented Jansen. “Although I didn’t collect one of the coveted Motul Retro Roof of Africa finisher’s badges myself, I had a wonderful time riding in the Maluti hills and I’m now even more excited to support the main Roof event in December.”
“Motul is delighted to support the Retro Roof and make Lesotho accessible to all Enduro enthusiasts,” added Jansen. “We firmly believe that the future of this sport lies in broadening its appeal and giving fans the opportunity to emulate their idols by experiencing Lesotho on their own terms.”
Jansen was one of many riders and drivers who appreciated the level of organisation that had gone into the event, with the recovery operations for broken-down bikes, cars and quads being particularly slick.
The success of the Motul Retro Roof event – both in terms of its logistics and the enjoyment it gave to competitors and fans alike – bodes well for the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ – the Motul Roof of Africa – which this year will take place on a more demanding, higher altitude route from 4 - 7 December.
Such was the allure of the Motul Retro Roof – and the excitement surrounding what Live Lesotho had organised – that even self-confessed “old-timers” like Charan’s father John Moore were induced to come out of retirement to participate. The final word on this event belongs to the legendary Buks Carolin – and his comments apply equally to the forthcoming Motul Roof of Africa.
“What makes this event so unique is the magnificent Maluti mountain range,” he explains. “It’s got a calling – you come and race here once, you’ll be coming back forever and ever. It’s a challenge, and I love racing here.”
While the terrain itself may be unpredictable, the success of the Motul Retro Roof strongly suggests that with Live Lesotho in the driving seat, the Roof and its related events are in the safest of hands. To see more images and video clips from the Retro Roof, visit the Roof of Africa Facebook page – which is also the best place to go for Roof updates as the main event draws closer. There is still time to enter this year’s Roof of Africa – simply complete the online form at http://roofofafrica.co.ls/roof-entry/
Check out the event video here: