Dinaric Rally, an annual roadbook navigation cross-country race held in Knin, Croatia, has kicked off with a short prologue stage and is set to send riders on a 450km stage tomorrow looping through Bosnia and back into Croatia. This year, Dinaric Rally has welcomed 67 motorcycle riders in Rally, Adventure, and Light classes, 12 quad riders, and three SSV teams. The Adventure class is especially robust with 37 riders competing, whereas the Rally class has two riders – Isaac Feliu and the Twin Trail Team and Wolfgang Payr – using the race as training grounds for Dakar 2022.
“This is my first time here at the Dinaric Rally; the bike has already been thoroughly tested at the Andalucia Rally, but I want to put more kilometers on it, get my endurance levels up, and hopefully, have tons of fun in the process. Some five years ago, I did the Albania Rally which was really hard, so being back in Balkans, I expect the Dinaric Rally to be nearly as hard as Albania – the terrain here is really rocky.I definitely don’t expect this rally to be easy”, Isaac Feliu commented after the prologue stage.
For Milos Sochor riding a Yamaha Tenere 700, this is the first rally ever – and he’s hoping to do more cross country races if the Dinaric is a success. “I’ve been riding motorcycles for more than twenty years, and I’ve done some hard enduro, but now that I have the T7, I was curious to try out a rally race. I got talked into it by a friend, and I just want to finish the rally and see what it’s all about. If I like this type of riding, I think iI’ll build a rally bike next year and enter more races – but for now, it’s just about focusing on that finish line! I’m going with the GPS this time, not roadbook – I still don’t quite get how that works – but we’ll see what happens next. My plan is just to ride at a reasonable pace – slow is smooth and smooth is fast, you know? I think that’s going to be my motto for this rally”, Milos shared.
The Dinaric Rally kicked off with a short, eight-kilometer prologue stage designed to give the riders a feel of what the terrain is going to be like and to decide the starting order the next day. The prologue took riders across a windswept mountain plateau – an old military polygon – littered with old tanks and boulders, and the rocky Dinaric terrain already claimed a broken engine case on one of the Adventure class riders’ bikes.
“This year, the rally has really grown – we have lengthened the stages, we’ve added an SSV class, and we’re excited to welcome some of Europe’s most prominent rally racing teams like Twin Trail and Rallye4U.
In addition to the pros, we have a sizeable Adventure class this year, and it’s good to see more and more riders getting into the rally world. The Rally stages this year will be long and demanding, but the Adventure and Light classes are designed to give amateurs a chance to ride rally and test their own endurance. The Dinaric Rally always takes a lot from riders, but the terrain will be manageable on big bikes, too. And last but not least, when we set up the rally stages, we always try to showcase the scenery of the Dinaric Alps – this is a very special region, and we’re proud to say we’ve really done our best with the landscapes this year!”, Perica Matijevic, organizer of the Dinaric Rally, said.
Day 1 of the Dinaric promises a long and grueling stage from Knin, Croatia, to Livno, Bosnia, and back The Rally will cover 350km of special in total. Large distances aside, the Dinaric Rally terrain tends to change fast and it’s relentless – the rocks are replaced by deep loose stones, river crossings, open wide spaces, and then rocky trails again; everything is being thrown at riders non-stop, and it’s a true test of endurance, skill, and perseverance.
After the prologue stage, the Rally class is dominated by Spaniards Albert Martin, Isaac Feliu, and Eduardo Sanchez. In the Adventure class, Czech riders seem to have the upper hand – but all this may change tomorrow during the long Bosnia stage.
While the most popular Rally class bikes at the race are KTM450’s and 350’s, Husabergs, and Yamaha WR450’s, a few riders are aboard AJP 250’s, and the Adventure class is as colorful as it gets: from the dominating Yamaha Tenere 700 to kitted out BWM GS, KTM 790’s, and a KLR650, people are riding the same bikes they’ve traveled to Knin on – and some plan to continue back home via the TET (Trans Euro Trail).
To follow the Dinaric Rally live, go to their results page.