Do you ride an adventure bike? If so, you may be in the perfect position to try out rally racing. In many ways, adventure motorcycling is the ideal prelude to rallying: you cover long distances, ride in all weather, and tackle all sorts of terrain. The amateur rally racing scene is growing at breakneck speed, and most major rally races now offer Adventure Raid classes aimed at riders just like you.
So if you ADV, can you rally?
Adventure Motorcycling vs Rally Racing
Adventure riding is uncannily similar to rally racing in a myriad of ways. If you’ve been riding an ADV or dual sport bike for a couple of years or so, you’re just about ready for a short, amateur-friendly rally race. As a dual sport or adventure rider, you’ve learned to cover some serous miles, most of them standing on your footpegs over rough terrain. You can ride on different surfaces, endure long days in the saddle, and ignore foul weather. You can fix most of the basic issues on the roadside, you’re willing to camp, and you can change a flat tire.
In essence, that’s about all you’ll need for an amateur rally race. The distances will be longer than what you’re used to, the riding will be more intense, and your endurance will be tested to the limit – but if you’re obsessed with adventure motorcycling, it’s more than doable. In addition, you may need to learn to navigate using a roadbook; check out our roadbook navigation guides and posts on roadbook equipment to get started.
A rally usually consists of several days – anywhere between 3 to 7 or more – of racing, each day offering up a liaison and a special stage. Liaison stages are essentially transit routes to get you to the start of the special; special stages are 100% off-road, and they are timed. Most Adventure Raid class specials are anywhere between 150 and 350 km long, and as an adventure rider, you’re more than capable of taking on the challenge.
What’s different is the speed – you’ll need to get on that gas to make your time – and endurance. A rally race is fast-paced, so there’s no time to stop and admire the views or have a picnic; roadbook navigation can be tricky at times, and you will need to carefully maintain your bike to make sure it’s race-ready every single day.
After each stage, you’ll come back to the rally bivouac, or camp. Here, you can either camp and set up your bike, or you can stay in a hotel nearby for added comfort. The bivouac is were you get your daily briefings, your roadbook, and your rally buddies: even if you’re not camping at the bivouac, don’t forget to mingle – a rally bivouac is full of like-minded moto souls like yourself.
Best Rally Races for Amateurs
If you’re thinking of doing your first rally race, pick an event that’s the most amateur-friendly. In Europe, rally races like the Hellas Rally, Iberian Rally, and Greece Rally are all excellent places to start. In North America, Baja Rally is a fantastic race if you’re doing it for the first time.
If you’re not 100% sold on throwing yourself into the deep end, try out a rally training event at first. Bosnia Rally is a great three-day rally-style training that’ll introduce you to roadbook navigation and general feel for what a rally race feels like.
The bottom line is, if you’re obsessed with adventure motorcycling and looking for a way to boost your skills and try something new, a rally race might be the perfect step up. During a rally, you’ll improve your riding and navigation skills by leaps and bounds, meet fantastic people, and take your riding to a whole another level.
Ready to rally? Let us know how you get on!