WADE Young made history on Saturday when, at the age of 16, he became the youngest competitor ever to win the Roof of Africa enduro motorcycle race that took place for the 45th time in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
It was also the first time since 2007 that a South African rider won this gruelling three-day event, over a distance of 450km.
Extremely hot weather conditions caused many competitors to dehydrate while a challenging route confirmed the 2012 Roof of Africa enduro as one of the toughest in recent years. Young, racing for Team Fever Criterion Yamaha, took the lead on Friday when he posted the fastest time after starting the race from second position behind Marc Torlage (Proudly Bidvest Yamaha) who won the 60km time-trial that determined the starting order for Friday's racing section.
The youngster tackled the third and final day on Saturday (187km) with a gap of just over 10 minutes to defending champion Graham Jarvis (Flite Extreme Husaberg) and eventually beat second-placed fellow South African, Altus de Wet (Brother Broadlink KTM) by just over 11 minutes after a total race time of 17 hours 36 minutes and 10 seconds.
Regular Roof of Africa competitor, De Wet, 27, started the final day from third position, 26 seconds behind Jarvis, but overtook the UK extreme enduro expert, who experienced problems with his Global Positioning System (GPS) early in the day.
Jarvis had to settle for third place, but vowed to be back to try and reclaim the title.
De Wet's team-mate, Darryl Curtis, a former winner who competed in his 21st Roof of Africa and admitted that he would have liked to be even better prepared for the event as the preparation and testing for next year's Dakar Rally demanded a lot of his time, was ecstatic with his fourth place.
Another teammate, Louwrens Mahoney, struggled with two problematic GPSs, but managed to finish eighth while Riaan van Niekerk was ninth. Torlage, who suffered from an injured thumb early on Friday, fought back from ninth to finish fifth. He was just ahead of this teammate, Kenny Gilbert, who competed in his ninth Roof of Africa.