The inaugural KTM New Zealand Adventure Rallye delivered epic terrain, amazing weather and a best of all, a great group of KTM adventure riders! Taking in over 1700km of the North Islands’ best, from the East Coast to the West, it was one hell of a ride.
80 KTM riders and 20 plus support staff started in Papamoa Beach, with overnight stops in Gisborne, Taupo and Taumaranui on the way to New Plymouth. Riders were met with a variety of terrain, from sweeping metal (gravel) roads, forest tracks and even untouched farmland – there was something for everyone at this event! Chris Birch and his crew put on a sensational route and unique overnight venues meant great food and plenty of laughs.
The event held an International flavour, with riders from five countries representing: New Zealand, Australia, Japan, USA and Wales.
With Chris Birch as the Rallye Route Coordinator, the tracks were always going to be a mix of fun, challenging, scenic and he did not disappoint. Drawing on his local contacts, Chris was able to secure Sean Clarke from Forest Trail Events to assist with Day 3 – which turned out to be a highlight for many of the riders. Taking in the forestry North of Taupo, where the International Six Days Enduro was held in 2006, Sean set an ideal route for the big bikes, with pine forest tracks putting a smile on many a face.
The Breakout Routes offered each day also turned out to be rider favourites. These ensured riders who wanted more of a challenge could tackle different terrain from the main route, including pine forest singletrack, mud holes and even slippery grass farmland!
The final Breakout on Day 5 saw riders tackle the famous Whangamomona Road. As Birchy stated in the Route Notes: “From Whangomomona Pub, riders wanting an extra challenge can see how far they can go up Whangamomona Road. It is a down and back and the locals say it is pretty tough!”
As it turned out, 6 riders were crazy enough to attempt the entire section and made it to the “Bridge to Somewhere” and back – – thus winning themselves the Kamikaze Kid Award for the event.
“The entire Rallye was incredible,” states Victor Haupt. “Highlights for me would have to be the adventure on the last day up from the pub and all the Breakouts were highlights. Well done. Been riding bike for 34 years and this trip would rate as my highlight.”
Assisting riders with GPS for the event was US-based company REVER. Not only helping riders load the route to their GPS units, REVER offered riders the option of using their smart phone to navigate and track the Rallye. The ride-sharing and navigational app is all about uniting the global community of motorcycle riders by helping them share, create and record their riding experiences.
Co-founders Justin Bradshaw and Mark Roebke, from Denver Colorado, were on hand to not only help riders with GPS and REVER, but also experience what adventure riding is like at this end of the world.
“Lord of the Rings really put a lot of pressure on New Zealand,” says Justin Bradshaw. “It totally lived up to it. What we weren’t expecting was Jurassic Park and Caddyshack too. We have a lot of incredible riding in the U.S. but shy of poaching the local links, there is nothing like ripping a motorcycle across the groomed farm lands of New Zealand. Toss in twisting gravel roads and sloppy single-track through stunning Jurassic Park jungle and you pretty much have the best Adv riding you can imagine. The KTM staff know how to put on an incredible event. We can’t wait to come back and help support the next edition of the KTM Rallye.”
And topping it off with incredible weather, the inaugural KTM New Zealand Adventure Rallye was an epic way to kick off Orange Adventure Events in New Zealand. Because one thing is for sure – this is just the start. #KTMNZRALLYE