KTM Rallye 2019: A Lap of Tassie
In late March, the fourth annual KTM Australia Adventure Rallye took in a mixture of conditions, terrain and weather as it clocked a lap of Tasmania, delivering a spectacular five days of riding and a special experience that brought together almost 200 KTM adventure riders – 158 riders and more than 30 support staff.
The majority of participants were from Australia, though a few even rode 4000-plus kilometres to reach the Rallye before returning home afterwards, while a selection of international attendees travelled from New Zealand and as far as Greece and the United States to take part. Here’s a recaps of each day’s ride:
With the ride kicking off at the famed Cradle Mountain, Mother Nature intervened with snow falling on departure and temperatures as low as two degrees Celsius. Hail was reported on no less than three occasions during the opening 381km main route or 411km breakout route to Strahan. Regardless, there was no dulling the energy as a week of adventure riding got underway.
The second day consisted of a 374km (or 403km breakout route) ride from Strahan to Hobart, where the clouds ultimately cleared and the sun began to shine on the Rallye. Riders were treated to the first of the true breakout routes for an added element of difficulty, which were greeted with much enthusiasm and excitement.
Following a breakfast, hosted by local dealer Motorworks, a 318km (or 346km breakout route) journey from Hobart to Swansea was the adventure for Day 3 and it didn’t disappoint. The Swanston Track offered a real highlight for those who took on the challenging breakout route, before Swansea provided one of the more stunning overnight locations of the entire trip.
KTM Australia unleashed its major surprise on Day 4 between Swansea and St Helens, when special guest, Daniel Milner of the KTM Enduro Racing Team, debuted the highly anticipated 2019 KTM 790 Adventure R. Dubbed “Operation Secret Squirrel” by organisers, the yet-to-be-released model was introduced at the top of Jacobs Ladder and successfully piloted by reigning Australian Off-Road Champion Milner for the remainder of the Rallye. The main route was 272km and breakout route 325km on the penultimate day.
The fifth and final day saw the KTM-mounted adventurers power on from St Helens to Launceston in a brilliant 297km (or 313km breakout route) ride in outstanding weather, even sharing the town of Derby with the Enduro World Series mountain bike event to further elevate the endless memories encountered throughout Tasmania. It was a remarkable way to wrap up what will go down as an immensely popular outing.
Once again, the Rallye wouldn’t have been possible without all the support staff involved, including the 4WD Backup Team of brothers Ray and Mark Barnes, Overlanders Tyre Support, Motorex Australia, the Racesafe Medical Team, Route Coordinator Nick Selleck, the lead/sweep rider crews and KTM Australia staff who each made it another smooth week of riding and experiences along the way. Zero mechanical DNFs were recorded and there were no serious mishaps.
Jeff Leisk – General Manager, KTM Australia: “Tasmania threw everything at us, which was good in the respect that adventure riding’s not necessarily meant to be all sunshine and perfectly groomed trails. It’s a type of riding that is there to test you and that was the great thing about this year’s event, because we had a mix of extreme weather over the first two days coming out of Cradle Mountain (it was really cold and wet) and going down the west coast. That created a challenge for us all, however it came good once we arrived in Hobart and the sun started shining again. The conditions were nicer and we were able to experience a real diverse mix of terrain and environments. There were lots of smiles on people’s faces and you could tell that each and every day the group was really energised from the ride. Coming from the last event in the Northern Territory with the wide-open spaces and red dust, Tasmania was slightly more civilised in comparison and a completely different experience, so that’s a neat part of adventure riding as well. Aside from that, everyone was wondering when the new KTM 790 Adventure R was going to pop up, which we kept very quiet until Day 4 at the top of Jacobs Ladder. To see Daniel’s reaction to riding the bike was really cool and he actually said he is going to buy one, so I’m going to hold him to that [laughs]! It was good, though; everybody was excited to see the bike in action, sit on it, etcetera, and the feedback was really, really positive. We had a tremendous Rallye event in 2019 and certainly look forward to the next one.”
Daniel Milner – Special Guest, KTM Enduro Racing Team: “It was awesome to catch up with some familiar faces from last year’s Rallye and be part of another great experience. At the beginning of the week, I was on my 1290 Super Adventure R and then during the final couple of days I was able to experience the all-new KTM 790 Adventure R, which blew me away. We made it a bit of a surprise for everyone and I was the lucky person who got to ride it, so that was really cool to get a feel for it in those conditions during a Rallye. The last two days were pretty technical and there was a bit of singletrack along the way, so I got to enjoy it, that’s for sure! The weight is placed really low, so the first thing that I felt was just how nimble it is, but it still has all the strengths and comforts of an adventure bike. I was really impressed and had a great time over the course of the week with everybody at the event one again.”