This years Roof of Africa started off with an unfamiliar pitch of screaming engines and smoking tires as Monster Energy's National Drift Champion Jason Webb got the crowds fired up for the start of the "Round the Houses". His Royal Highness ..... the King of Lesotho got things under way in the first race of the day, but it was heat 2 of the Gold Class that was the race to watch as Altus De Wet charged off the front of the field, letting his intentions be known for the rest of the day. While not all the favorites decided to contest ceremonial start, De Wet was to pushed hard by New Zealands's Chris Birch, who was also keen to stamp his authority on this years race.
After "Round the Houses" the riders moved to the top of Bushman's Pass for the Time Trial and the first real racing stage. It was once again Altus De Wet (Husqvarna) who crossed in the number 1 spot. With less than a minute separating the top 5 riders, this years Mother of Hard Enduro is looking set to be an epic battle.
Tonight's leader board holds all 3 names from the 2012 podium, with De Wet's Husqvarna team-mate, Graham Garvis just 13 seconds back, while reigning champion, Wade Young sits in 3rd spot, 48 seconds off the pace. Young's KTM team mate, Chris Birch will start tomorrows stage in 4th position just 6 seconds behind the young South African.
Kenny Gilbert (Yamaha) rounds out the top 5 and will have a front row seat watching the battle between the KTM duo. Just 3 seconds adrift of Birch, he will be looking to follow and learn from the 3 time winner.
Blake and Jade Gudzeit (Sherco/Monster Energy), look to be hatching a plan and rode the Time Trial as a team, finishing in 8th and 9th positions. Tomorrow will tell whether Jade is finally handing the reigns to his younger brother or whether his fortitude will see him burying himself to try and reclaim his former glory.
After a sweltering day of temperatures in the mid 30's, the forecast for Friday and Saturday is predicting rain and in Lesotho that means the things are going to get a whole lot tougher.
Things kick off tomorrow morning at 6 am with riders leaving in real time after today's time trial results.