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Wade Young confirms participation in 2020 Roof of Africa

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Leemisa Thuseho

THE 2019 Roof of Africa champion Wade Young has already registered for this year’s edition, the organising committee has said.

Wade’s confirmation is a relief for the organisers after some participants said they would not participate this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lesotho Off Road Association (LORA) last month decided to continue with the event despite the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. The resolution to continue with the event saw the association reversing its previous decision to postpone the event to early 2021.

The postponement decision was reviewed after South Africa announced the opening of its borders starting on 1 October 2020. The opening of borders will now enable regional travel, which had been banned since March this year when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

Initially, the event was scheduled for 18 and 21 November but it has now been moved to 9 to 19 December 2020.

The organisers’ concern is that the ongoing travel restrictions in some countries may limit the number international riders’ participating in the race.

“The ongoing travel restrictions in some countries may limit the number of international riders who can participate this year,” the organisers said in a statement this week.

“The headline news at this stage is that Wade Young will be back to defend the Gold Class title he won last year.”

Young is one of South Africa’s best motorsport athletes. His victory last year was his fifth at the event and the third in a row.

To date, more than 200 riders have already signed up for the event since the entries were opened last month and the organisers are confident that there will be a strong showing by riders from across Southern Africa.

However, LORA secretary general Koo Lemeke told the Sunday Express this week that even though they have already opened for registrations, they will not hesitate to move the event to next year if circumstances deter its hosting.

Even though they are optimistic that they will hold the evet this year, Lemeke said they are now waiting to also be granted a go ahead by the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).

“Although we have decided to continue with the event, we still have to get a go ahead from LSRC,” he said.

As for registrations, he said they are yet to come up with a deadline. The deadline will be communicated in due course.

Lemeke further indicated that they already have 15 places reserved for only local riders.

“We have reserved 15 slots for local riders therefore, registration is simpler.”

The local team has already started preparations.

This year’s event will be without spectators. They may also be forced to cancel other events like Round the houses while there will be no qualifying events after the association resolved to work with clubs and their respective mother bodies to get riders’ information for them to be registered for different categories.

Lesotho has been hosting the Roof of Africa event annually since 1967. The only year that saw the event being cancelled was in 1998 due to political unrest in Lesotho. Therefore, if the event fails this year, it will be the second time Lesotho misses the opportunity to stage it.

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