Report: The 2018 Kingdom Enduro

The first ever Kingdom Enduro took place last weekend in the Kingdom of Lesotho, breaking open a brand new Enduro World Series journey in Africa. Forty rather apprehensive riders rocked up on a tremendously wet Thursday afternoon. The stage was set at a lodge in Roma that was once one of Lesotho’s original trading posts. It is also the new basecamp for Lesotho Sky and home to Africa’s first Velosolutions pump track. The age-old sandstone buildings mixed in with traditional round houses (rondavels) provided a setting almost lost in time with a view of the majestic mountains in the background.

 

The event kicked off an epic dinner on the stoep of the old house. The atmosphere amongst this clan of Africa’s most badass mountain bikers emanated through the age-old sandstone walls. After a warm welcome, a little local language lesson and the introduction of the event’s most coveted jersey “The D@#k of the day award”, Africa’s first ever EWS qualifier was officially launched.

 

Day 1:


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The vibe at the start. Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt
With all the rain, the first day was shortened to 3 Stages. Everybody loaded their bikes into a truck and jumped into the local taxis for a lift up the road to the start. The top of the 3 witches pass. A brief opening in the weather allowed for riders to get to the Start of stage 1 without rain and take a few snaps on one of the most beautiful liaisons the sport of enduro has to offer.

 

An inordinate amount of flow, rocks and mud set the stage for the day down “Pressure Cooker. Huge smiles at the bottom confirmed what the organisers had always suspected- the trails in Lesotho for Enduro are awesome.

 

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Keira Duncan enjoying the liaison to the first stage. Photo: Darol Howes

 

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Anka Martin getting low on Stage 2. Photo: Darol Howes

 

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Impressions of day 1. Photo: Darol Howes

 

Day 2:


With a perfect day forecast, everybody loaded up in the local taxis and headed out to the top of “God-help-me” pass. After a short hike a bike to an iconic start at a cattle kraal in near perfect conditions, racing started.

 

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Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt

 

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Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt

 

A welcome shuttle after God Help Me sent riders twice down from Bushmans pass on 2 very physical trails before a long liaison to lunch.

 

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Daniel Dobinson bombing Bushman's. Photo credit: Darol Howes

 

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Loving the liaison- Dominic Barnardt

 

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Riders at Lunch, Dominic Barnardt

 

After lunch, the riders were treated to the best trail of the event, called “Love It”. However, riders had to work hard for this as they were in for one hell of a hike-a-bike to the top. The view and trail at the top were simply spectacular!

 

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At the top of Love It. Photo credit: Darol Howes

 

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Harry Millar enjoying the sandstone. Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt

 

Day 3:


After some crazy weather, with loads more thunder lightning hail and general not too perfect riding weather forecast for the afternoon, racing was called off. We did, however, jump in the bus for a shuttle day in the brief 3 hours of no rain for those of us who could still move. The shuttle morning was rad, with riders able to do the hardest trail of the race called “Freefall” and two more trails before the rain set in. The event ended with a rad family oriented prize giving on the old stoep.

 

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Katja Steenkamp on Freefall. Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt

 

Despite the cancellation of the final day, it is safe to say that the first EWS event in Africa is now well defined as the most badass race in Africa.

 

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Open men top 3. Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt

 






8 Comments

Thermophage, Apr 04 2018 10:17

Wet, wild, amazing and Day 2 was the hardest day out on a bike I've had, hands down! Thanks to the guys for the amazing ride. What a rad experience.

Kylie, Apr 04 2018 10:23

Looks tough as! On the bucket list 

Lesotho Sky, Apr 04 2018 10:26

Wet, wild, amazing and Day 2 was the hardest day out on a bike I've had, hands down! Thanks to the guys for the amazing ride. What a rad experience.

Pleasure having you! Come round and ride anytime.

iRide, Apr 04 2018 12:32

One of the best few days I've ever had on a bike! Thank you Team Kingdom Enduro! Tough as hell (both stages and liasons) but the people, scenery and general vibe of Roma was something really special. Dreaming of going back already!

andrewdh, Apr 04 2018 04:35

Awesome vibes, amazing landscape with the most friendly people.

However...

This was a proper tough enduro. Forget what you think you know about "enduro" this was proper gnar tech stuff even the pros got caught up on tricky sections.... oh ya and one more thing learn to hike-a-bike.....lots of it!

captain morgan, Apr 04 2018 06:09

This was a great event ....yip the hikes were big , but luckily the down hills so rad and fun making it worth the pain.
Great people and Lesotho rocks...

Headshot, Apr 05 2018 12:04

Looks properly #enduro. And a bit British with all that mud. Maybe one day.

bologniusmaximus, Apr 05 2018 05:59

Wet, wild, amazing and Day 2 was the hardest day out on a bike I've had, hands down! Thanks to the guys for the amazing ride. What a rad experience.

 

How much did it cost in the end for you and what skill level would you say this race is at?