Moving MountainsJanuary 9, 2017
The Vietnamese MinskJanuary 23, 2017
The Gibraltar Race. An amateur race across Europe from Bulgaria to Gibraltar. Open to anyone with a bike and a GPS.
Earlier this year TRF member and Adventure Trail Riding owner Mark Kinnard shared his experiences of the race. The adventure had a lasting effect as he has now joined forces with the Gibraltar Race organisers to help UK riders take part in what is becoming a well subscribed and enjoyable event.
We caught up with Mark to find out more about his approach to Adventure Trail Riding in the UK and how you can get involved in the Gibraltar Race this year.
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?
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.
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?
The GS Trophy was a fantastic event & it has changed my life. I had great team mates who are two of the most competitive people I know. The event was not just about riding skills but teamwork, in some very strange disciplines.
Riding hard on the way to victory
Mark and his team celebrate the GS Trophy win in 2010
As a team we looked at each task and applied the strongest members of the team to it or worked out a way to get the least amount of penalties. The South African Team were at least 20 years younger than us & had been full time training for 6 months with supplied bikes, physio & dieticians. They did not think like us or have our experience, that’s why we won. The riding was not that hard, the camping & wild animals added a dimension to the event that wore you down. The toughest riding was heading to the Indian Ocean coast in Mozambique, it was 40 degrees & deep powder sand for the last 30/40KM we also had to get one of the other teams & their journalist to the finish or no one scored any points! When I got home I was determined to find a way to combine my love of the sport with earning a living, doing what I enjoy.
What can riders expect who book on a trail ride with you? Do you need a lot of experience?
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.
I particularly like it when we have a mixture of riders from all over the country on one trip. After a few lanes they are all helping each other, having a laugh & taking the micky out of each other.
While we can cater for mixed abilities, more often than not, we find that we are having many riders coming to test their selves and want ever increasing extreme riding, which suits me, as the more gnarly it gets the more we like it!
So how did the partnership with Gibraltar Race come about?
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.
A race across Europe sounds fantastic. It also sounds very difficult. Who is it aimed at?
The Gibraltar Race (Black Sea to Gibraltar 2017) is likely to change your life, not in a bad way, but it will open your eyes to what’s out there and what can be achieved whatever your ability, experience or age. I regret only two things regarding the 2016 event, I wish I stumbled across this type of event years ago & I wish I kept a diary on the 2016 event.
Ride like you're on the Dakar... without all the stress of being on the Dakar
You can do this event on any bike from a small cc enduro bike to the latest adventure bike. Mostly there was big GS’s, KTM’s & Yamaha’s even a Ducati Multistrada Enduro (Which was flying). This event is unusual in that you can cruise along stopping for coffee & great Mediterranean lunches and still get your day done within the allotted time or get your head down and race your heart out, only stopping for fuel. Either way you are going to have a trip of a lifetime, I cannot believe that I am going again in 2017.
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?
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.
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!
Gibraltar Race Support Packages available from:
Shipping & Assistance - 2250.00 Euros
Hotel Package – 1000.00 Euros
Food Package – 400.00 Euros
This TRF story has been sponsored by AdventureTrailRiding.co.uk
If you would like to work with the TRF through advertising and sponsorship please start here.