TRF:Hi Mark. It sounds like last year was pretty busy for you. Let’s start with adventuretrailriding.co.uk. Is that guided tours in the UK?
Mark:Adventure Trail Riding is currently UK based. We venture to the Isle of Man at least twice a year, some times more, Hampshire/Surrey, Monmouth & Central Wales, Thetford Forrest/Hunstanton, The Lakes & Scottish Boarders, Herts Essex & Cambridgeshire. We have gone from one trip a month to 3, sometimes 4 trips a month, since the start of September. However like most things, nothing stays the same for very long. The Rally scene has interested me for a few years now & in 2017 we are the UK agent for the Gibraltar Race.
TRF:You’re a pretty experienced rider yourself, having won the BMW GS Trophy in 2010. Was that a big motivator for you setting up the company?
TRF:What can riders expect who book on a trail ride with you? Do you need a lot of experience?
Mark:We are happy to cater for all levels of riding ability on trail, enduro & adventure bikes. We always have a run leader, usually me & a sweeper at the back. Our job is to keep the group together, push & shove up the climbs, mend punctures and keep the bikes/people going. Usually if you have a group of friends riding together there is always a mixture of abilities.
TRF:So how did the partnership with Gibraltar Race come about?
Mark:I entered the first Gibraltar Race after seeing it on Facebook. It looked to me like a Dakar that’s achievable for mere mortals & at a cost that wouldn’t bankrupt you (I don’t do cruises, but it’s a similar price to a good one, so I’m told). I had done the GS Trophy in 2010 and had been looking for another adventure that was more than trail riding or enduro. The 2016 event saw us taking my Sprinter race camper, two mates to spanner, two KTM 1190’s & a team mate. Adam our third team mate was injured and couldn’t take part in the event, he has already entered the 2017 event. This was a great way to take part, it felt like we was a pro team, but very costly. So for the 2017 event I decided to offer other options, so that it would open it up to as many other riders at a more cost effective rate. Also I wanted to offer a more organised, structured event for the riders from the UK, keeping the riders well informed, well fed & watered. This is a priority.
TRF:A race across Europe sounds fantastic. It also sounds very difficult. Who is it aimed at?
TRF:Having taken part yourself you obviously know what the challenges are in terms of logistics. What packages are you offering to help other riders take part?
Mark:In addition to the entry fee with the Gibraltar Race directly. Adventure Trail Riding is offering the following packages: Shipping your bike from the UK to the start at the Black Sea & back from finish in Gibraltar, Assistance throughout the event, a complete hotel packages for each night & a food package which will include breakfast & an evening meal. The food package also includes generally being looked after & being well informed about what’s happening during the event.
TRF:It sounds great Mark, I’m sure you’ll get a lot of interest from riders who are looking for a bit of a special challenge in 2017. Good luck!