Originally Posted by TheCadman
Now that memories of the Hellas Rally are fading, I'm starting to plan the next event. Having originally ignored the Serres - racing in Greece in the summer! - I'm now reconsidering and have a couple of questions for anyone who has taken part in this rally before:
How technical is the riding? While the scenery at the Hellas was stunning, the tracks were generally fairly easy to ride. As I prefer the challenge of enduro- like terrain, will the Serres be any different?
How demanding is the navigation?
Having raced both events twice, my thoughts:
Serres is much more demanding in navigation. Hellas was a follow main road affair most of the time, and the wide, more suitable for cars tracks were sometimes too fast for my own liking (and safety)
- as dimitris says, Serres routes included some more technical riding, on two days the long specials ended with single track (only for bikes) riding. In my opinion you could really lose valuable time in these sections if you were not 100% focused. I didn't particularly like that they were placed at the end of long days where exhaustion was a factor, but it did make you want to pace yourself
- Specials in Hellas were riddled with speed limit zones, and the longest special was 114kms. I counted 10 bloody speed limjt zones in one special one day, which turned Specials into timed sprints for me. Pacing myself and trying to conserve energy was never a part of my race plan in Hellas, it felt more like balls to the wall riding, also because the navigation was simplistic. You need a different tactic for Serres, where one day is a Marathon special of 270kms with one neutralised refuelling of 15 minutes (day 3 I think) and 3 specials totalling 260 kms on day 4. I may be wrong here, but I remember very few speed limit zones in those specials, and riding cross country special test speeds was not a smart tactic. Many faster riders than me would either fuck up their navigation or constantly overshoot turns, sometimes crashing. By pacing myself and conserving the bike, I managed to achieve a fantastic result for my level of riding.
Overall, the Hare and the tortoise fable is a fitting comparison between the two. Not that Serres didn't have fast open sections, but there was more variety and the riding was more enjoyable to riders with a bit of an enduro background. Add trickier navigation, and you get the picture
Regardless, I think it is great that these two events have significant differences, I would gladly race both of them again. Hellas rally is a race where routes are written by car drivers, Serres is written by a motorcycle racer and therein lie the differences.
See you in Serres