It was always going to be a feat to top last year’s Southern Alps Rallye, yet trading up epic mountains for breathtaking coasts – and throwing in an Ultimate Race challenge for added entertainment – resulted in a truly remarkable week of adventure for the 2018 KTM New Zealand Adventure Rallye riders.
For six days and over 1700km, 101 KTM adventure riders, 3 pillions and 25 staff were treated to the best tracks the Northland and Coromandel regions had to offer, through way of expert local route coordinators Barry Reiher, Mike Johansen, Shaun Prescott and KTM Adventure Ambassador Chris Birch – who just so happens to be a Coromandel local.
Throw in special guests, V8 Supercars legend Greg Murphy, 5-time American National Enduro Champion Russell Bobbitt as well as riders from 13 different nationalities, and the third annual KTM NZ Adventure Rallye was set to deliver an outstanding experience.
Starting at the iconic Bay of Islands, riders explored the Northland region for three days with highlights including: stopping by Tane Mahuta, New Zealand’s oldest living Kauri tree; riding East Beach with it’s pure white silica sand; visiting the lighthouse at Cape Reinga, the northern most accessible point of New Zealand; traversing the zig-zagging Te Paki Steam, next to the great Te Paki Dunes to access the iconic Ninety Mile Beach; and exclusive access to outstanding sandy pine forest tracks and private farms overlooking stunning coastal waters.
A final send-off from Northland at The Butter Factory in Whangarei saw plenty of laughs as stories started to emerge – the winner being an epic tale of a drowned 1090 rescued from a 10-foot-deep hole to one side of a water crossing. Riders were then off through Auckland to Thames on Day 4 for the Coromandel leg, as well as the start of the Ultimate Race Qualifications.
A new initiative, introduced by the KTM Factory for this year’s KTM Adventure Rallye events, sees two lucky participants from each Rally around the world win the chance to compete against each other in the KTM Ultimate Race at the 2019 Merzouga Rally in Morocco.
The qualification challenges kicked off in Thames with a bike lift, wheel change and timed special test. A fantastic atmosphere had all the Rallye riders cheering on the participants, with the top 10 going through to the next day’s challenges.
Coromandel lived up to its hype on Day 5 and delivered an outstanding Rallye experience, with the route winding along the iconic coastal Port Jackson road to the tip of the Peninsula, where a fundraising roast lunch was provided by the Colville School and over $2000 was raised by riders.
The afternoon’s action was provided by another Ultimate Race Qualification challenge, a timed special set against the dramatic backdrop of Port Jackson bay. Rallye riders were able to watch the action before partaking in a special breakout route around the Port Jackson farm, which offered breathtaking ocean views against endless green hills.
And with the final day over the range to Whangamata, even though the route had to be amended due to the amount of rain in the region, it was still all smiles as riders rolled into the final coastal town for a night of awards, laughs and reminiscing about an unforgettable week.
The Ultimate Race Qualifications proved to be an outstanding addition to the event, with best mates Kevin Archer and Elliot Kent taking out the honours to represent New Zealand in Morocco.
KTM New Zealand would like to thank all of the Rallye riders who participated, as well as the staff, land owners and helpers who made it possible. With special mention to wonder tech Harry, who not only dived in to save the 1090, but also brought it back to life to finish the Rallye!
Greg Murphy: “What a way to see the country! The 2018 KTM Adventure Rallye took me places I have never been and probably wouldn’t have visited, which being I am a kiwi, is a bit embarrassing. The scenery was breathtaking and the variable terrain covered was amazing, exactly what the KTM Adventure Bike range was designed and built for. A huge congrats to the whole KTM organising team who delivered such a memorable week.”
The full photo gallery from the event is available here: https://www.wilkinsonphotography.com.au/Rides-Events/2018-KTM-New-Zealand-Adventure-Rallye-Northland/
Stay tuned for the video preview trailer to be released before Christmas, with the full length feature coming February 2019.