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  1. https://vimeo.com/263103464 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: 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. Keira Duncan enjoying the liaison to the first stage. Photo: Darol Howes Anka Martin getting low on Stage 2. Photo: Darol Howes 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. Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt 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. Daniel Dobinson bombing Bushman's. Photo credit: Darol Howes Loving the liaison- Dominic Barnardt 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! At the top of Love It. Photo credit: Darol Howes 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. 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. Open men top 3. Photo credit: Dominic Barnardt Results Open Men Keira Duncan - 00:58:16,248 Harry Orr - 01:00:50,396 Frank Meyer - 01:03:02,019Masters Men Daniel Dobinson - 01:00:28,604 Harry Millar - 01:11:42,716 David Hartley - 01:17:43,533 Women Anka Martin - 01:14:52,614 Lousie Kotze - 01:27:05,573 Frankie Du Toit - 01:36:04,691
  2. Top of “Marabaraba”. Image by Tammy Du Preez. This brand new event will surely put Lesotho and Africa as a continent on the radar of the international enduro cycling community. It follows in the footsteps of the well renowned UCI 6 day XCM stage race: Lesotho Sky. As both events are organised with a strong commitment to developing cycling in Lesotho, the "Kingdom in the Sky". We hope that this will draw more people to come to Lesotho with their bikes. It is an amazing country for adventure riding! Darol Howes, race director of the Kingdom Enduro “Trail scouting”. Image by Boteng Molapo. What does being part of the EWS mean? Riders need to qualify to race in the EWS world series. There are a limited number of entries available for the 1000s of people who want to race at the highest level. Chris Ball the managing director of EWS says: “ Demand for EWS entries grows year on year and the qualifier events are a great way for riders, especially amateurs, to have a clear and fair pathway into the World Series.” The ethos of Enduro meet the vibe of Lesotho Sky This event has long been overdue. The ethos of Enduro and the organisers behind this event echoes the same vibe. Any person who as done the Lesotho Sky will know that race organisers Darol Howes and Christian Schmidt have a unique approach to 1st class mountain biking events. This new venture is a natural evolution and will see many previous Lesotho Sky riders swop their XCM bikes and lycra bib shorts for baggies and Enduro bikes. Enduro racing is more than just timing the downhills. The essence of Enduro has just as much to with high-quality racing, as it is about the great ethos or the sport. The Lesotho MTB events are known for the unique atmosphere, community, competition and adventure. This is also the case for Enduro events worldwide. The organisers promise that their love for racing bikes with good mates will shine through in this new EWS qualifier. “Rene Damseaux, Darol Howes and Christian Schmidt at the “Pink Elephant” Shebeen after a hard day in the trails.” Image by Boteng Molapo. The marriage between Enduro racing and Lesotho culture is sure to develop into a must-do-event for any baggy wearing mountain biker searching for a kickass adventure. But, make no mistake. It's not going to be all fun and beers - the route will be hard. So if you got the skills, make sure you get your name on the entry list. For the first event, there will only be 40 spots available. Entries and more information: https://kingdomenduro.com More about the enduro world series: http://www.enduroworldseries.com/
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