Press Release: Kingdom Enduro
Kingdom Enduro is a 3-day stage race through the Kingdom of Lesotho. It's the first-ever Enduro World Series qualifier on African soil, set in a wild mountainous country with incredible scenery. Lesotho has a huge network of paths used for centuries by the Basotho people and their animals that make for amazing bike trails, plus the event stacks a heap of world-class, hand-cut, enduro trails on top of these, all carving down vast lush hillsides.
Kingdom Enduro is one of the most adventurous mountain bike events on the planet, offering amazing riding as well as an unforgettable visit to a place that's totally different to most westerner's everyday experiences.
2020 will be just as wild, raw and unique in terms of the trails, scenery and atmosphere. And thanks to tons of hard work by the organisers and locals, the completely hand-cut tracks will be even longer, higher and harder than ever before too.
Next year's edition takes place on 27-29th March, with strictly limited entries opening on 16th September 2019.
Ludovic May getting high
Max Schumann high above one of the only tarmac roads around
Rock roll anyone?
For the all-inclusive entry fee, racers stay at a full catered base HQ in an old trading post in Roma dating from the days of a wilder frontier land where merchants cut deals with local farmers and shepherds for goods. Little has changed outside the gates really, as (apart from a few tar roads) the lush countryside is still completely unspoiled and the independent nation has never been particularly modernized or industrialized. Kingdom Enduro stages criss-cross the stunning local peaks where every corner brings a new view and a new type of terrain, and expect anything from being chased up mountains by little kids laughing to ending up after riding dancing in a local 'shebeen' bar with a beer in your hand to some local house music.
The race stages number up to six days and vary from 5 mins long up to around 15mins. The tracks offer everything from hand-cut berms and ruts like steep European or Alpine riding to completely open rock slabs or even simple pieces of tape across huge open spaces pointing you in the right direction. It's part of the game staying on course and staying safe in a country where even the paramedics have to be shipped in from over the border. The sheer altitude and distance traveled and tough climbs to access them make it pretty challenging even before the steep, rocky and rough timed sections, and in the two previous editions, the weather has ranged from sunny and hot to raining and back again in rapid succession. It's mostly very sunny and bright at this time of year.
Riding around exploring, you'll see most of the Lesotho population have few material possessions, but there is an openness and warmth that's almost shocking coming from a more westernised society. You can't expect five-star luxury or to remain isolated like on some exotic riding trips, and that's the beauty of Kingdom Enduro; you're right in and among the people and end up experiencing the location in such a way most riders find it impossible not to let it get under the skin. Don't just take our word for it though; here are some testimonials from previous competitors:
Anka Martin, "There is a special energy that you feel when you’re surrounded by the mighty Maluti mountains. The kind of energy that captures your soul, that feeds your wanderlust, that makes you feel alive. The rich colour of the soil, the mountains, the sky & the vibrant Basotho people will leave you longing for more. Lesotho is a wild, raw and a very powerful country, landlocked within South Africa. The trails are endless passionate creations dreamed up, created & shaped by my good friend & race director Rene. This is not just a race, it’s a journey, an adventure by bike that will remain engrained in your heart forever. Thanks to dreamers & creators like Rene for giving us the opportunity to not just enter another bike race, but to share a new culture & country with us. If wild, technical, proper mountain biking is what you’re looking for, get yourself to The mighty Kingdom Enduro!"
Chris Johnston,"My time in Lesotho ranks as one of my best trips to date! I love a good adventure, stepping into the local culture and exploring the mountains around Roma was an incredible experience. The riding is raw, challenging and had us grinning ear to ear. The local people were very kind, friendly, helpful and curious about bikes and Roma Trading Post was a great home base and provided all the amenities we needed."
Kim Hardin, "The Kingdom Enduro should be on everyone's bucket list! Rene put together quite the race - 3 days of fresh-cut trails, taking you over and through the mountains of Lesotho. The terrain is challenging and of great variety: loam, techy rocky bits, slabs, dry riverbed, steeps, and more. Based out of Roma, you're in the heart of the mountain kingdom, and not only get to experience the trails, but the people -- ride the Velosolutions pump track alongside locals or hike your bike up the nearest mountain, and you'll be amongst herder boys and local school kids. Go into town for a braai and some Chicken and Pap ( Tandoori BBQ with corn). Rene, Darol and the gang take great care of everyone, and it's a relaxed, fun racing atmosphere. The experience as a whole is one I will never forget -- it was an amazing way to see Africa, and we will be back again!"
Far out under Bushman's Pass
Whether you've got an appetite for adventure or just want to race some incredible, hand-built enduro stages at a well organised race in a crazy location, Kingdom's got your back. Flights to South Africa are easily found from anywhere in the world and it's a great time of year to visit. Come and race truly blind, raw trails and footpaths with us in magical country where you're guaranteed to feel welcome yet also more like a foreigner than anywhere else you've visited.
Next year's race will offer the best trails yet as well as an opportunity to witness and visit a place still largely untouched by commercialism, tourism and commerce, and in today's world that's a pretty compelling reason to visit if you're looking for a proper adventure on your mountain bike.
Kids everywhere cheering riders on
You can find all the entry details and read more about Kingdom Enduro and the race's origins as well as its growing role in the local community in Lesotho over at the Kingdom Enduro website.http://kingdomenduro.com
Come and join the mighty Kingdom Enduro story!