The KTM Adventure Rally is not your average adventure bike event. There are many motorcycle manufacturers and clothing companies that organize gatherings for people with fancy bikes and let them play in the dirt so they can go back home showing dirty boots to their friends.

The KTM Adventure Rally is something new. It’s an opportunity for regular people to taste the thrill of tackling terrain and obstacles that are challenging without having prior enduro experience.

 

The riding days are hard, long, and technical for big adventure bikes. But there are also easier alternative routes for people who want to participate but know their limits.

The 2021 KTM European Adventure Rally took place in Greece, a country with plenty to offer its visitors, not only in terms of riding.
The coastal and maritime landscape contrasts with the rough and prevalently mountainous terrain, creating a dramatic scenario for the riders.

 

The bivouac was set in a small coastal town named Nafpaktos, in the Gulf of Patras, not far from the Corinth Canal. The event was scheduled for 4 days, the first set for registration, GPS setup, skill assessment, and riders briefing, and the other 3 for full days of riding.

 

 

The terrain for days 1 and 3 was set by the wide range of steep and rocky mountains at the back of the base camp, almost reaching the famous archeological site called Delphi. Day 2 was instead stretched over to the other side of the bay, on the even taller mountains behind Patras, home of a popular ski resort in the Peloponnese peninsula. The three days of trails covered more than 1,000 km of dust, rocks, and dirt.

 

Riders were briefed during the registration day about the available tracks and the potential hazards that the country usually offers. The starting line had over 150 KTM motorcycles and participants from more than 25 countries.

 

It’s quite common since the riding is mostly in rural areas to find cows, goats, and stray dogs around a blind corner, in the middle of the road. Also, Greek tarmac tends to become extremely slippery if wet. In this arid country, dust was a constant companion.

Tour guides were available for people who wanted to ride without the risk of getting lost in the intricate networks of trails or the fear of dealing with bike failures and flat tires. Guides led groups of 6-7 people that were gathered after a short initial skill assessment. All guides, like myself, had extensive knowledge of the area. I spent the last year and a half in Greece and I was happy to share my knowledge with the group.

Some people decided to ride by themselves and simply follow the navigation instructions that were loaded by the KTM team beforehand on each rider’s GPS.

This was my first rally and I was super stoked to be part of it as a “special guest” and as a tour guide.

 

Although there were many other more notorious names than mine at the rally, like the multiple Dakar and Enduro champion Giovanni Sala, the Californian legend and Baja 1000 winner Quinn Cody, and Dakar riders like Joachim Sauer and Joey Evans—who shared with the participants his incredible story of going from being paralyzed to racing Dakar.

The landscapes were amazing, showcasing pretty much all that this incredible country has to offer. Tall mountains, canyons, beautiful beaches, pine tree forest roads, and dry rocky cliffs. The scenarios were constantly changing and seemed at times to be in a different part of the world altogether.

To endure pain and fatigue is part of any real motorcycle race, and the KTM Adventure Rally is nothing short of extreme for inexperienced riders.

The riding was utterly amazing and the faces at the end of the event depicted the incredible emotions that the KTM Adventure Rally managed to deliver to all its participants.

Aside from the great riding, the true value of this rally was to create a sense of community with KTM riders worldwide. It truly felt like riding with friends, sharing the same passion for motorcycling and adventure that this brand strongly represents.

Some people came to the event with the sole purpose of riding hard for 3 full days. Most went back home instead enriched, from being able to push their limits as riders to overcoming fears and setting personal milestones. And all riders went home with new friendships that would last a lifetime.

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