KTM Canada hosted an adventure bike Rally out of SIlverstar resort just outside of Vernon, BC. For entry we (My brother -Jason and I) needed a 600cc minimum Adventure bike, and a sense of adventure… Sign me up! Not sure on the etiquette of entering a BMW R1200GSA in a KTM rally, but what the heck. Maybe I’ll show them how it’s done.
Loaded up my baby & hit the road. It gives me physical pain to see my bike on a trailer. It’s only 8 or 9 hours ride, part of me said just ride the dam thing. That’s why I bought it. But I thought better of riding it out there, slogging it & down mountains for 4 days then riding it home. In retrospect I’m glad I trailered it.
Turns out KTM was also holding a competition called R1. Winner of the 4 day R1 competition gets an all expense paid trip to Morocco (I think ) for a rally on a newly supplied KTM 790. Winner of that Rally keeps the 790. 😮 People came from across Canada to compete on single track trails and mountainous terrain on large bikes doing things that I can usually only see in Youtube videos. This is where I freely admit that me on my R1200GSA did NOT show them how it’s done. There’s some definite skill there.
But I didn’t crash… Much.
I went a little early & the day before the rally we met up with a local club and explored the Vernon area. Tons of awesome trial and country. We took it pretty easy exploring a few back roads and some powerlines. All double track trail and roads really. A good warm up.
Day one of the rally had us up watching the sun come up about the Monashee mountains from above the clouds. SIlverstar resort is high and cool. Probably a good place to put a ski hill.
Day one of the rally went well. We rode down the back side of the ski hill which was pretty cool. Wound our way through the country side to some trails east of Vernon. The competition consists of loading a track on a GPS then simply following the track… Sounds easy, but we did screw it up. On the way up our first mountain trail we were middle of the pack when some people stopped either due to steepness or ruts. Either way, getting a big bike like these started on a hill can be a bear so I just wound my way between the bikes laying down and carried on. Worked great until I got to the top and we realized we missed the corner halfway down one steep section. I didn’t’ even see a corner. Nuts. Oh well, we got to see the lookout anyway. Rode back down to enter some single track.
Single track in the bush on a 600lb street bike is an adventure. But whatever, it’s all in good fun. We were making good time riding through cut blocks when I went down a gully with a small washout at the bottom. I HAMMERED my poor bike into the sharp rut at the bottom. Gah. Idiot. Fell into the gully, lowsided fall down hill. Nerts. With some help from my brother I got big bertha upright again, but she didn’t want to run very well. Missing, sputtering and farting so I stopped up on the flat to see that the left intake had been… Torn. Yes, torn is a good word. Torn from the cylinder.
As a testament more to the bike design and less to my riding skills, I wiggled her back together and haven’t had a problem since. Whew. Minor drama averted.
The next section was mud. Muskeg and holes on a 600Lb street bike. Blurgh. We pushed, pulled, and generally cajoled the bikes through the muskeg to find a quad bridge. Wet, half log bridge. A better man would ride it… I didn’t. lol
We idled the bikes across with surprisingly little fan fare.
The rest of the afternoon was relatively uneventful. Until on the way down one mountain I did get a reminder to be careful. Steep downwards incline with switch backs and washboard. Hit a lower gear to slow down without getting my weight back and the bike just kept bouncing along at a good clip. I wobbled around the corner a little too fast & reminded myself to get my weight back on those. Tsk tsk. Got the heart racing though.
More than a few groups took the lunch time bail out, but we slogged on. Right after lunch came the hill climb…
Steep bitch of a shortcut up a mountain littered with large boulders. I did my best Captain Kangaroo impression and bounced part of the way up it. We styed on that hill for a few hours pushing big bikes up one by one. My poor BMW clutch did NOT enjoy the attempts to start and get moving. But we made it. While pushing a dozen bikes a few riders rode it… Not me. Lol
The last stretch we rolled back into the resort after dark and we were not the last group in. The comments around the pub were too long, too much crap to ride through & generally ugh. So KTM made day 2 just a little earlier. They cut out a Km or 2 of muskeg in day 2. Good call.
Day 2 we headed north of Vernon towards Falkland, then back roads and trails to Salmon Arm. High roads, cool trials, great outlooks.
Some sections were fast, some were windy and slow. Some of the windy section past Pinaus Lake were awesome twistys. Loved that area.
Got a little twisted up in a slimy section. I blame it on seeing the good road a few meters ahead. lol
Day 2 wrapped up. All in all a bunch of off-roady miles and trails were a lot of fun. The tough parts were tough. The gorgeous parts were plentiful. I can’t wait to go back and explore some of the lakes some more.