With the pandemic still holding international travel in a strange limbo, long-distance journeys may have to wait a little. However, as countries and regions open up and tour companies are getting creative, why not try a fly, ride, and train? Enduro, off-road, and rally training can be both an adventure and a skills boost, even if you don’t plan to compete. And in Europe, there’s no shortage of off-road and rally schools offering everything from training weekends to longer training tours, all within reach in terms of budget and accessibility. So if you’re looking to combine travel with off-road or rally training, here are some places in Europe to start off:
1000 Dunas Rally School, Andalucia, Spain
Miguel Puertas, the organizer of 1000 Dunas Rally and founder of the 1000 Dunas Rally School in Spain, is a jet fighter pilot, a Dakar rider with 11 Dakar attempts and nine Dakar finishes under his belt, and a former sports director of the Himoinsa Racing Team. If anybody can get you into rally-ready shape, it’s Miguel, and his school is open for both amateur and experienced riders.
Gunnar Roland, my fellow rally rider and adventurer, who has recently completed the Dunas 1000 training, had this to say:
“I signed up for a 3-day training course with the 1000 Dunas School in Granada, Spain. The course was specifically aimed at rally riding and consisted of 2 days of technical riding training and 1 day of Roadbook practice. There are many riding schools that offer technical off-road riding training, but very few of them are specifically focused on Rally riding. Getting training from a Rally expert like Miguel has been of great help to me, I left this training course with a handful of key areas that I need to focus on in order to improve”, Gunnar told me.
Club Aventura Tuareg, Spain
I first met Manuel Garcia Vitoria, founder of Aventura Tuareg, at the Hellas Rally Raid 2019. Despite racing the rally himself, Manuel always found a kind word of encouragement for me, a complete rally noob, and I had the privilege to ride one of his rally KTM450’s again at the Hispania Rally in Guadix last year. Manuel and his team have years of rally experience and have trained rally riders for Dakar, Merzouga Rally, Rally Tuareg, and more. If you’re looking for some serious rally training, Aventura Tuareg is a great choice – especially if you’d like to ride the Intercontinental Rally with them or join their Morocco Xtreme event in Northern Africa.
Enduro Escape, Transylvania, Romania
If you’re looking for a longer off-road training tour, Enduro Escape in Transylvania might just be it. Offering smaller dirtbikes (Yamaha WR250F and 450F, KTM 350, Beta 350), and longer days – tours from 2 to 5 days are available – Enduro Escape focuses on off-road skills, dirt bike abuse, and endless Transylvanian forests where you can go as wild as you like. Having done their three-day off-road training course a couple of years back, I can attest that these guys, former Romaniacs riders, do not hold back: you’ll get dragged through local forests and hills, rocky single track, steep ascents, and ravines, and if you survive, come out a better rider.
Primarily a motorcycle shipping and tours company, Motobirds is now shifting focus and creating off-road training tours in their backyard: Poland. Teaming up with several different off-road schools in Poland, Motobirds offer training weekends, training tours (including all-female ride outs), and training events for large-capacity adventure motorcycles. Having done a weekend’s off-road training with them near Warsaw, I can recommend them as a great team of Polish enduro nutters that can both boost your riding skills and showcase Poland off-road, a winning combination if you’re looking to travel and improve your riding at the same time.
Croatia is one of the best places for off-road riding in Europe, but if you’re looking for some serious enduro and hard enduro riding, the Untamed crew is easily the best one in the Balkans. Having started out as a group of friends, Untamed has retained the spirit of raw adventure (“This is not a tour, and we’re not going to be your guides”, reads their website intro), so if you’re into hard riding, wild camping, and exploring Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro on single track, this is the place to be. The best part? Having ridden with Untamed, you’ll probably get hopelessly hooked and enter the Dinaric Rally, a new rally race in the Balkans designed to test the rider and the machine to the max.
Off-road, enduro, and rally training all in one: Enduro Greece, a team of rally riders, coaches, and support mechanics, is teaching riders how to off-road in the mountains and beaches of Greece. If you’re hoping to get better before you enter the Hellas Rally or Serres, Enduro Greece is the best point of contact for training, advice, and support.
Have you done any off-road or rally training recently? If so, share your recommendations in the comments below!
Featured image: @rallyadventurer