In 2020, a new rally-fofrmat event cropped up on the European rally racing scene. Despite being born amidst the pandemic, created by a team of organizers passionate about motorcycles but inexperienced in rally raid events, and held in a small mountain town of Knin, Croatia, Dinaric Rally 2020 was a huge success. Fueled by pure obsession and dedication by the ORGA team and welcoming riders from all over Europe with three gnarly special stages in the wild Dinaric Alps terrain, the race left a permanent mark in the rally calendar.
This year, Dinaric Rally organizers proved the event wasn’t a one-hit wonder. Quite the contrary: introducing five days of racing with GPS and roadbook navigation available in different categories, the Dinaric race has grown in explosive speeds accommodating almost a hundred participants in motorcycle, quad, and SSV classes and attracting some of Europe’s Dakar-focused racing teams like the Spanish Twin Trail and Austrian-based Rallye4U.
67 motorcycle racers including 37 Adventure class riders entered the Dinaric Rally 2021 – but only 43 out of 77 participants crossed the finish line. Owing to the brutal terrain, long distances, and unforgiving special stage format jolting riders into new challenges around every mile, the Dinaric 2021 was merciless to both pro and amateur riders: by Day 3, there already were several withdrawals, broken bones, and mangled bikes forcing riders out of the race.
“This terrain is relentless – you’re constantly being thrown around sharp rocks, stones, fast gravel, high altitude, open spaces, and back onto the rocks again. It never lets up”, – the Adventure class riders shared after finishing Day 4 of the race.
Even the pro riders and Dakar hopefuls admitted the Dinaric was a challenge: “this rally showed me exactly what I need to work on to get ready for Dakar 2022 – endurance, technique, and just pure rally miles”, Wolfgang Payr, the Rallye4U rider, commented after the finish.
For Isaac Feliu, the Spanish Twin Trail rider aiming for Dakar 2022, the Dinaric Rally served as the perfect training grounds. “I’m thrilled to cross the finish line of the Dinaric! The terrain was really rocky, although we managed to sneak in some 160km/h sections here and there; I loved the navigation – the Dinaric Rally roadbook was one of the best ones I’ve had. There were some seriously technical sections, mountain terrain, forest trails…It’s easily one of the best rallies I’ve done in Europe. If I had to compare the Dinaric Rally to other races on the continent, it’d be the Albania Rally in terms of terrain, and the Hellas Rally in terms of organization. The Balkans are the perfect area to organize rally raids, and I know I’ll be back to Dinaric Rally 2022 next year”, Feliu said.
Expand and Conquer
This year’s Dinaric Rally had already expanded – instead of three days, this year’s event was spread out across five and spanned two countries, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the marathon day.
According to Perica Matijevic, organizer of the event, next year’s race may grow even bigger. “I’m left speechless at how this year’s race went. We’ve heard so much praise from both pro and amateur riders, and I’m so thrilled our roadbook was a success. We’re already thinking ahead and planning Dinaric Rally 2022 to be an even bigger event, and we hope to attract more riders next year in all categories – Rally, Adventure, Light, Women’s classes… We welcome all riders here, whether they’re determined pros or simply adventure riders wanting to try a rally race for the first time.
I’m amazed how the overall speed of the riders has increased, too – clearly, the ADV guys were hellbent on chasing the Rally racers and pushed themselves to the max, resulting in faster speeds overall and more spectacular stages than ever. I’m stoked the pro and semi-pro riders found the Dinaric to be challenging enough, and it was incredible to see the Adventure class going so strong. I’m hoping we’ll do an even better job next year, and the ultimate dream is to include all of the Balkan countries on the Dinaric Rally route”, Matijevic shared.
The Dinaric Rally 2022 registration will soon be open, so if you’re up for a serious test, bookmark the Dinaric page for upcoming news. In the meantime, to help more riders get into rally racing, the ORGA team is offering up roadbook training events in Croatia under their Untamed off-road and rally training academy; the events are scheduled for October and November around Knin, Croatia – the same grounds as the actual rally tracks.
Both the Dinaric rally and the Untamed roadbook training events have options to join on own or rental bike; whether you’re aboard a GS1200 or a Husky 250, the Dinaric doors are open – as long as you’re up to the challenge.