TRF:Hi Mark. I imagine you are just about recovered after what looks like an epic adventure. A rally from one side Europe to the other isn't something that you enter lightly. Where did you hear about Gibraltar Race and what made you decide to get involved?
Mark:Athens Gibraltar - The Gibraltar Race. This was its first year and I had my worries about how it would be! It started in Athens, Greece the most south eastern point of Europe & travels to Gibraltar the most south westerly point of Europe. Traveling through Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, France, Andorra, Spain, Portugal, Spain again & Gibraltar. 9000km over 14 days. I stumbled across the race being talked about on Facebook by some of my Italian friends from the GS Trophy. The thing that drew me towards it was the fact that it was to be navigated by GPS rather than road book. I hate road book! I’ve been looking for a new challenge, it’s been 6 years since I did the GS Trophy. Since then I’ve set up a trail riding business & done some racing and UK based rallies but this looked very different.
TRF:It looks as though the rally is quite 'Paris-Dakar' inspired. Would it be fair to say it's a similar format but held in Europe?
The 1190 is put under the spotlight before racing
And they are off... hope the sunbathers don't mind!
TRF:What bike did you use? Did you have any support with you? Any key bits of kit that you needed?
Mark:I used my KTM 1190 Adventure R. Before the event I had some new rims spoked onto my spare wheels using thin MX rims so that I could use desert moose’s & desert tyres on these wheels. On my original rims I used TKC 80’s (3 rears & 1 front + 1 front & road desert tyres). I also changed my paper air filters for oiled foam filters with oiled foam pre-filters in the snorkel’s. The bike had a good service before we left, new plugs x4, oil, chain & sprockets and front & rear pads. The great thing about these adventure bikes is they have a 6000m service interval. We took two 1190’s down in a Sprinter race camper, driven by our crew of two, Mark Bradford & Dave Sayer, who slept in the camper and looked after us & our bikes. We flew down to Athens a couple of days before the start & flew home from Gibraltar. Our crew was traveling for four weeks. Next time, I think I will use my KTM 690, it’s in desert trim. I think I could give the Yamaha 450 Rally’s a run for their money. I couldn’t keep with the two front runners on their 450’s on the 1190, off road. You could do this event on any bike, from a 4 stroke enduro bike to any adventure bike and have a great time. You just needed to maintain at least 120km on the roadwork, otherwise you had very long days.
TRF:And the race itself, what's it like spending 14 days racing through Europe? It must have been incredible.
The UK team, David Emsley, Mark Kinnard, Mark Bradford & Dave Sayer
And everyone else
Mark makes it to the podium
TRF:Obviously the Gibraltar Race is a competition, do you think it has any parallels with riding Green Roads in the UK? Would other TRF members enjoy it?
Mark:As I mentioned earlier. If you trail ride you would ‘LOVE’ this event. Any age, any ability, this is for you. You can ride this event at the same pace that you trail ride and have the best holiday & adventure, meet some outstanding people and see some of the finest scenery & mountain passes on and off road anywhere in the world. Some people spend the same money on a holiday and lay on the beach or go on a cruise, if that’s not for you, try this!
TRF:Thanks Mark. See you at the start line next year!
Mark:I will be at the start line next year on my 690 or perhaps a 450RR, I'd like to have a crack at winning. We are also going to try and get at least 30 UK riders to the start line. We are going to offer an entry that includes shipping the bike to the start & back from the finish in Gibraltar, assistance via Torque Racing throughout the race, the entry fee, food package & accommodation.