Written by Steve Kamrad. Posted in Events
Want to feel like a real rally driver? Waking up at 3 a.m., packing up your tent at 40 ° F, grabbing a cereal bar while donning your riding gear as you race to the start line with the GPS waypoints loaded and the scanned live spins bracelet. You are in the dark, chasing the teams that left before you, fleeing those who follow you … This is exactly the scenario you can live.
The Dacre Challenge is an 800 kilometer “challenge event concept” and not an adventure / dual sport race. It’s not technically a race either, but don’t let that stop your competitive spirit from flowing, because you can finish first. Two classes with separate routes (ADV and DS) compete in this simulation Dakar rallystyle day event. GPS routes and navigation are performed by waypoints, not routes. So you get to a point displayed on your GPS as the next place you need to be, but there is no specific route to get there. You then pass over this waypoint and your GPS records the data.
Choosing teammates (2-5 man teams are mandatory, no solo riders) to spend 72 hours with over the weekend is extremely important. Team #DunRad was trained to Keeps the AltRider route (AltRider.com) in Woodward, PA, just two weeks before the event. ADVmoto’s field specialist, Steve Kamrad, and RevZilla’s a quick guy, Spurgeon Dunbar, joined forces on Triumph tiger 800 face Canada as the only US team to enter the ADV class.
Rally Connex does all its events on the basis of GPS navigation. Adding a few more degrees of difficulty to the event with the built-in GPS features, they apply a maximum speed rule of 100 km / h over the entire route, which you record with the “tracks” (breadcrumbs), by successfully completing all of the waypoints to prove that you have completed the entire course; similar to the racing style in the Dakar and other gatherings.
Dacre’s challenge allows the use of assistance trucks (you do not have to bring an assistance truck but it is recommended), joining your driver at predetermined times during the day, which makes life a little easier. Water, gasoline, gear, spares, tools, and encouragement can all be stored in the vehicle, but it’s up to your driver to reach you when and where you need them most.
Somewhere around eight o’clock the sun is actually at “high noon” (summer solstice) and you are in third place in the Canadian landscape. With your attention divided between rocks, logs, gravel, mud, water crossings, your teammate, speedo, oncoming traffic and GPS, this style of ‘racing’ is grueling on the eyes. and the mind. Personally, my eyes gave out long before muscle and mental fatigue set in. You will have to know how to manage these things as the day progresses because a bit like in space, in Canada, no one can hear you scream! And at that point, we still had 10 hours left in our day.
Amelia Kamrad piloted our TRD Pro 4Runner with trailer. Acting as a full support team, they navigated unfamiliar territory with GPS coordinates and met their riders at pre-determined assistance truck stops. Gasoline, food, water and Red Bulls were delivered with precision. With Spurgeon’s goggles and dusty face wiped clean, our trusty service truck driver would drive to the next gas station to fill up the cans before heading to the next meeting place.
Canada is made for adventure riding. If there hadn’t been Rally Connex, only the local inhabitants (the Ontario Dirt Tongs) would know the great beauty offered by this walk. It’s so perfect that you almost want to keep it a secret. The DS road is almost entirely off-road and very knotty; only two full-size ADV bikes have already completed it; it’s a job best left to off-road motorcycles with large tanks of gasoline. The ADV route is 30/70 on / off road with gravel roads, power line trails and multi-use trail systems maintained. The water crossings are plentiful but not deep, the hill climbs are short and gentle, and the roads are twisty enough to keep you in third gear or below.
It only took 14 hours for everything to go wrong. I had conveniently run on my own 180 miles before and now, with 120 miles to go, Spurgeon had managed to eject and scatter all the tools, tubes, and snacks from his back bag without a zipper for a distance of eight miles. Double the items in a massive search and rescue game, the team #DunRad was overtaken by the second place team, Bmw Guys. “We finally had a race in our hands.
Turning around and crossing the section again, the team #DunRad made short work of the “Germans”. It should be noted that some of Spurgeon’s tools remain lost forever, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten. On board their allies Triumph tiger 800, the “Americans” had taken the lead and had imposed themselves at a frantic pace until the next level of support. Meeting with Amelia, with no instruction or explanation of the situation needed, we loaded up what would be our final resupply of food and fuel. As we hiked our Tigers, covered in the stealth of our 4runner, we saw “The Bmw Guys’ are coming. In a moment of psychological warfare, we waited for them to take off their helmets to refuel. The Zee Germans never knew what hit them as we stepped out of the shadows and down the road as if to say “Good luck catching us!”
At 5:00 p.m. and nine minutes after the start of “The Longest Day,” two Americans fired their Tiger 800 cross the finish line to achieve victory Dacre Challenge, victorious in a race that was not. Met by their support driver with open arms, the two stood atop the Tigers and sprayed the champagne of victory into the air, backlit by the setting sun of the summer solstice, without the hordes to celebrate their momentous victory.
There is no first place trophy for this event. Just a medal that says “I finished the longest day, the Dacre Challenge 2016. “Crossing the finish line first was best brought home by Spurgeon looking at his teammates and saying ‘I’ve never won anything in my life!’
A very sincere “Thank you” to Rallye Connex, KTM Canada, and Twisted Throttle Canada for organizing an event second to none in many ways. Check out their sites for their many upcoming events, tours, scavenger hunts or training courses with Youtube sensation Chris Birch. The Dacre Challenge takes place once every two years. All challenges accepted by undefeated champions of the Adventure class #DunRad. See you in 2018.
RallyConnex.com | TwistedThrottle.ca | KTM.com/ca