Bikers' Lesotho trip in the balance

Stephens and Rantao say lack of funds might hamper their trip to Lesotho
Stephens and Rantao say lack of funds might hamper their trip to Lesotho

Two-wheel bikers, Kagiso Stephens and Boineelo Rantao, could miss out on making their debut at Africa’s biggest off-road event due to lack of funds.

The local pair has qualified for the 52nd edition of the Roof of Africa race to be held in Lesotho from December 4 to 7, 2019, but could fail to travel to the mountainous kingdom owing to lack of funds.

The race dubbed the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ is one of the toughest technical races on the continent and attracts over 500 riders from around the world to ride 180km in three days.

However, with just four months before the registration closing dates, Stephens and Rantao are struggling to raise the P250, 000 that would enable them to take part in the competition.

The duo will compete in the Bronze class, by virtue of being debutants.

“We are trying to raise funds to make our debut at the race. We have a budget of P250, 000 to meet before end of October,” Stephens said this week.

“At the moment we have nothing, we are going to meet BMS (Botswana Motor Sport) and BNSC (Botswana National Sport Commission) and see if we can get some support from the ministry of sports.”

He, however said, despite the off track struggles of trying to source out funds for the trip, they have been preparing for the race as they remain optimistic of making the trip. 

The race attracts top enduro riders from around the world with over 500 riders at the start line every year.

“We are left with about four months and we are trying to do all we can do to get up there. We also need to train hard from now until the race day. We don’t need to stop training. Otherwise, we won’t finish. Unfortunately, unless we find some support and raise the needed funds, our chances of getting up there to compete will hit a snag,” he said.

“We are not only going there in our personal capacities but are also going to represent our country and prove that Botswana has capable riders who can compete at an international level with top world riders.”

The Roof of Africa runs for three days in the mountainous terrain of Lesotho. The riders go through steep climbs, riverbeds, rocky technical passes and down hills.

Like the Dakar Rally the race is brutal on the body and the bike, and puts the hardest test to the riders’ fitness and endurance.

Meanwhile, Botswana’s second participant at the Dakar Rally, Ross Branch has confirmed he will return to the world’s largest off road race.

Branch had a brilliant debut at the race last year, finishing in an overall 13th position while walking away as the best rookie.

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