Enjoying a stand-out extreme enduro season, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis is looking to wrap up 2016 with a fourth career victory at the Roof of Africa in Lesotho, this week. Following his winning performances at Erzberg and Romaniacs earlier this year, as well as being fresh off his imposing victory at GetzenRodeo in October, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider enters the 48th edition of South Africa’s three-day-long event with the goal to bringing his 2016 season to a winning close. Heading to Lesotho as the defending champion, Jarvis knows exactly what it takes to top the result sheets at the final major extreme enduro event of the year…
After an impressive extreme enduro campaign in 2016, how are you feeling ahead of this year’s Roof of Africa?
Graham: “The Roof of Africa is a special race and one that I always look forward to. Since my first win here in 2011 it’s a race I’ve always enjoyed doing. I’ve had some great memories over the years from this event. It’d be great to sign off the season with another victory here in Lesotho.”
How is the Roof of Africa different to other extreme enduro events during the season?
“It’s got a pretty unique format with a short prologue on day one and two very long and demanding days of racing in dusty and stony trails. The terrain is different to anywhere else, really. It’s just so loose that you’re struggling to find grip. There are also many rocks, climbs and descents, which along with the heat make everything harder. Days can be long at Romaniacs, but at the Roof they’re even longer. They are the two longest race days of the year so you definitely need to be on top of your fitness.”
Looking back at your impressive 2016 season, what’s your highlight?
“The highlight of 2016 has got to be my win at Erzberg. It’s probably the biggest race of the year and my winning margin was enough to make it a big win, it really means a lot to me. Everything went good for me this year in Austria but all that’s in the past now. For the next few days it’s all about the Roof of Africa.”
You’ve had some great battles over the years at the Roof of Africa. What’s your fondest memory of the event?
“After my first win in 2011, I went on to claim another victory two years later in 2013. It was a bit crazy that year I remember, as the scorching heat on Friday gave way to torrential downpours and howling winds for the rest of the race. At the end of the race I’d pulled out a lead of almost an hour on everybody else. Last year’s event was quite unique as well. I knew it’d be pretty close racing so I took my time and picked my moment when we got to the really hard bits. Pushing as hard as I could I got to claim a third victory.”
With three Roof of Africa wins now in the bag, what is it going to take for you to celebrate a fourth victory in Lesotho?
“I’ve learned lot over the years and I know I’m not as quick as the younger riders on the faster sections, but I know how to save energy and push hard at the right moments. It’s disappointing Wade Young will miss the event this year as we’ve had some great battles in the past. But along with the top guys at the Roof there’s always some super motivated South African riders who give their all to get on top. The plan is to avoid mistakes and again try to make the difference once we get on the most extreme parts of the race.”
The 48th Roof of Africa will take place in Lesotho, South Africa on December 1-3, 2016.