Birch 1st in Exciting Finish

Roof of Africa day 2

maddix park mx Courtesy of Monster Energy

From Clive Strugnall first of all...

As expected there has been incredible drama on the second day of the Roof. The determination to win from the top 10 riders this year in unbelievable. Chris Birch and Graham Jarvis have been literally banging bars like junior MX right from the 6am start at Bushman's Pass this morning. After the heat and scorching sunshine yesterday this morning dawned overcast and cool, and the steady rain which started during the night continued to fall steadily all day. The parched dusty trails and passes soon turned slick and slipperier than an oily billiard ball, putting even more pressure on the riders.

Behind Birchy and Jarvis, Altus de Wet, Last year's winner Wade Young, Travis Teasdale, Kenny Gilbert and ran nose to tail, swopping places as they charged toward the first refuel point. Birch and Jarvis arrived first and left side by side, about five minutes ahead of the chasing bunch. At the next marshal point Birch, Jarvis were so intent on their dice that they somehow took a wrong turn and left the route, letting the flying Altus de Wet into the lead. He arrived at the next marshal some 10 minutes ahead of the chasing pack. By the time Birch and Jarvis had rejoined the route they had been caught by Young, Teasdale, Gillet and amazingly, Ben Hemmingway. sadly along the way last year's winner Wade Young had to retire with mechanical problems.

The pace was even more frantic, and by the time they reached the marshal back at St Benendict's Birch and Jarvis had caught up their 10 min deficit and scratched into the lead, which they held to the end of the day's section at Bushman's Pass.

And from  ...
It's almost tradition every year that the Roof of Africa brings rain to Lesotho and this year is no exception. The region has been in the midst of a severe drought, that came to an end just 20 minutes after the first riders left the start gates at Bushman's Pass. In stark contrast to the sweltering conditions of day 1, today saw rain falling throughout the day making conditions even more challenging for the world best extreme enduro athletes.

With the proverbial blanket covering the top 10 riders, the lead was chopping and changing throughout the morning with navigation becoming a critical factor in the days outcome. 

Altus De Wet during the 2013 Roof of Africa.
Rains came on Day 2 of the Roof of Africa  making an already challenging race even tougher.
(Above) Altus De Wet suffered issues on Day 2 and dropped out of the top-10. (Below) Rains showed up on Day 2, adding to the difficulty of an already challenging race.
Shortly before the the 1st DSP, a wrong turn by Jarvis and Birch, had the Gudzeit brothers Jade and Blake leading the field but by the time they reached the DSP it was South African James Hodson who arrived first, followed closely by Graham Jarvis and Scott Bouverie. Kenny Gilbert and Ben Hemingway were locked in battle for a top 5 position while Blake Gudzeit had to leave his brother Jade, who was suffering from a clutch problem, at the foot of the last climb before the service point. 

Chris Birch was sitting in 7th spot leaving the DSP, but made short work of the riders in front of him, himself and Jarvis pushed to the front of the field. Still battling with navigational issues the two missed the 2nd DSP, but charged ahead for a dramatic finish at the top of Bushman's Pass. Birch caught Jarvis at the top of the Mountain and bombed past the Englishman for one of the most exciting finishes in the races history. 

Reigning champion Wade Young was forced to retire after seizing his motor, while last years runner up, Altus De Wet has also suffered issues and dropped out of the top 10. 

It seems like tonight will be a busy one for the Clerk Course as there are a host of appeals to consider this evening. 

Preliminary results: 
1: Chris Birch (KTM) - 6h11m47
2: Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) - 6h12m33 
3: Ben Hemingway (Beta) - 6h15m12 
4: Blake Gudzeit (Sherco/Monster Energy) - 6h20m02 
5: James Hodson (Yamaha) - 6h22m49 
6: Dan Hemigway (Beta) 
7: Shannon Frost (KTM) 
8: Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) 
9: Scott Bouverie (KTM) 
10: Bronson Louw (Yamaha)
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