Hispania Rally had a rocky and turbulent start this year – after the Badlands edition (scheduled for spring) had to be moved, rally organizers Jairo Segarra and Domingo Aguilar have reinvented the race under the Wild Spain banner and found it a new home: Galicia.
The rally is set to kick off on the 16th of October in Orense, Galicia, with five days of racing spanning over 1,500 kilometers of varied terrain. The race expects to welcome around 140 participants in motorcycle, quad, and SSV categories, and the Hispania Rally tracks this year are set to be tough…and lonely. What exactly does that mean, and how is the Wild Spain edition oing to differ from the traditional Andalusian setting? I caught up with Domingo Aguilar to find out.
-Domingo, why has Hispania Rally 2021 moved from Andalucia to Galicia?
-Frankly, it as because of necessity. Andalucia is getting crowded – more and more rally organizers (including the ASO) are choosing Southern Spain for rally racing, and it’s difficult for us to stand out among so many star events. We decided it was time for a change, and Galicia offers some unique opportunities for rally racing.
-How is the terrain going to look like this time?
Have you seen the Jurassic Park? Kind of like that: green as far as the eye can see, sparse population, and a landscape unbroken by towns, villages, or any other human activity. The area we chose has the fewest inhabitants per square mile in all of Spain, and if you ask us, that’s… paradise.
– How many participants are you expecting this year?
This year is not a year we hope to beat attendance records. Because of all that’s going on in the world, we weren’t sure Hispania Rally was going to happen at all until August. We literally had just three months go get everything ready, so we expect around 14-150 participants. Currently, 115 have already confirmed attendance.
– What will be new or different at Hispania this year?
This year’s edition will be a psychologically exhausting race. Tthere are no towns along the route, no people who can help you; riders will be facing long miles alone and often won’t see more than 150 meters ahead because the vegetation covers everything. So it’ll be a lot of lonely miles for the competitors – just the rider and the machine for long, grueling stretches. We’re very proud of making our pilots suffer, and they will definitely suffer this year. But then, that’s what a rally s all about – finding out exactly who you are when faced with adversity and uncertainty.
-This year, you’ve enlisted the help of a Dakar legend Gerard Farres. How did that come about?
Gerard and I have known each other for quite a few years, and in 2016, we raced the Merzouga Rally together (well, he raced, and I crawled along, to be precise). Gerard and I were in the same team with mechanical assistance, and out there in the desert, we spent many hours talking about him coming over to help with Hispania Rally. Gerard is our new track director, he’s in charge of giving the race the touch of a professional pilot; his experience is immense, and we’re thrilled to have him overlook the tracks and the route. The reality is that a rally has several moving parts that need to come together – route, roadbook, medical teams, relationships with the participants and sponsors, media and marketing, and so on. Idelaly, you want a pro overseeing each of those moving parts to make sure the race runs as smoothly as possible, and Gerard is certainly a pro – I know his contribution will make sure the race is a serious challenge for all the pilots.
– How do you and Jairo feel about the Wild Spain edition now that it’s so close?
Well, each rally edition creates a certain amount of anxiety – a race, in the end, is like a child that grows and grows. Every year there are new problems, but with each new rider who trusts us and with each race start, you feel alive.
I have an Italian friend who says “you have to do things that give you life. If it gives you life, keep doing it”. Whenever I get angry or start to get nervous, I always think about that, the phrase made in Caviglia. They know what they’re talking about.
Hispania Rally 2021 registration is still open for those who want to join last-minute, and several assistance teams may still hve a rental bike on offer. If you’re ready to face the poetry and solitude of Hispania Raly Wild Spain edition, visit their page and send in your registration before the entries close.
Images: Hispania Rally/Actiongraphers