THE 2019 edition of the Roof of Africa motorbike race dubbed 'The Mother of Hard Enduro' starts today with round the houses competitions at Maseru Club and Maseru Mall.
After the round houses competitions, the silver and bronze categories time trials will follow in Thaba Bosiu tomorrow and Saturday.
Today's events precede the real races for all categories penned in for tomorrow and Saturday in Thaba Bosiu.
Lesotho Off Road Association (LORA) public relations officer Keketso Malebo said they have close to 400 riders from different part of the world signed up for the extravaganza this year.
"All is set for the event and we are expecting close to 400 riders up from last year's 290," Malebo said.
Among the big names registered for this 52nd edition of the race is South Africa's Wade Young who is the defending champion in the gold category.
"We are also expecting other top riders like; Graham Jarvis and Chris Birch. The trio has been exchanging the title in the gold category in the last decade and we are anxious to see who wins this year."
Lesotho will this year be represented by 10 riders. Teboho Moretlo, Basia Maseatile and Joseph Motenane will compete in the silver category while Tobatsi Maseatile, Nkhasi Matete, Timello Tsolo, Peter Andrews, Shabeer Moosa, Moshate Letlela and Sechaba Chabeli will contest in the bronze category.
Moosa, Andrews, Matete and Chebeli will be making their debut at the event.
Last year Lesotho had only Basia (bronze) and Moretlo (silver). The duo failed to finish the race on the first day but they came better the next day and made it to the finish line.
All the local riders are fully sponsored by the Matekane Group of Companies.
The riders' coach Faku Moretlo told the Lesotho Times that they have done all in their power to ready their athletes for the race.
"All the riders are ready. They have really put in a lot of effort this year although I cannot promise anything as of now.
"However, I strongly believe good results will achieved by the boys," Moretlo said.
Moretlo said he would be happy if all his riders finish their races.
For his part, Tsolo, who is making his second appearance in the annual event said he was ready for the challenge.
"I am ready and my target is just to get the job done. I want to perform better than the last time where I failed to finish the race," Tsolo said.