Firstly: Adventure Rally Extreme
At the recent Salisbury Plain Adventure Rally, Rally Moto’s ‘Burt’ (that’s head honcho Robert Hughes) explained the concept: ‘Adventure Rally Extreme’ is just like their standard Adventure Rally road book experience, only harder. The roadbook directions can come thicker and faster and sometimes you just get CAP headings (compass bearings) to go on, with no tulip (diagram) to show you visually which way to go (and these blind instructions can come back-to-back). For those who have aced Rally Moto’s standard road books this is the next challenge.
Now, I tip my hat to the guys who took it up and made it work for them (which was in fact the rest of the entry…). For me, on what often seemed a featureless Salisbury Plain, in the middle of a long distance, long-hours day – mostly in the rain – it was just too much, I failed! I’ve done a fair few road book rallies and I’ve come to know quirks like ‘Hors Piste’ (no trail), and I can get my head around CAPs (essentially riding to a compass bearing), but on this day it was too much, and having my hands full in keeping a KTM 1290 from skidding out from under me in the mud or on the wet chalk (and there again I failed), I just couldn’t fully enjoy it. I hung in there for a good four or five hours but ran later and later as I struggled to maintain mental functionality, in the end I had to concede I’m a lesser man.
That said, and in Rally Moto’s defence, I’d not sat in on one of their roadbook training courses and as I found on this day – thanks to the help of others – there were plenty of roadbook icons I still did not (but should) know, we’re talking important little clues which give clarity when needed the most. So, the fact is I need to do some road book homework – actually, no, I need to take on Rally Moto’s road book training, that’s what I should do. And after that yes, on a dry day(!), I’d give it another go.
Also, I should add that as prep for guys super keen to stretch their road book abilities, particularly with training for international roadbook events in mind, this is an excellent offering. It has to be a whole load of extra work for the Rally Moto guys, too. As always with Rally Moto, I have to tip my hat to them.
The second part of the Salisbury Plain experience was to be trialling the fully digitised road book experience that Rally Moto is currently developing. Quite possibly (if not probably) in the future all road books will be this way, where a digitised roadbook loads onto your tablet (which you mount on your handlebars) doing away completely with the paper roadbook holder. It would also do away with the need for an ICO (independent resettable odometer), a CAP unit (for compass bearings) and transponder, as the Rally Moto app can also offer all these functions as well. Given a suitable tablet can be bought for as little as £100, this would make quite the saving on the cost of starting into roadbook rally riding. Plus, for those, like me, who use a phone app for an ICO/CAP, it means your expensive smart phone can take the day off and be stowed away safely rather than dancing with danger in your bike’s cockpit.
It’s a game changer for sure and yes, it was a joy not having to super-carefully roll a paper roadbook into a holder in the early hours of the morning (especially in the rain) – never an easy job.
In this instance I ran the tablet with no Bluetooth extras (for sure, in the future we’ll have wi-fi connected handlebar buttons – yep, no wiring needed) so it was a matter of swiping the roadbook up and down using a (gloved) finger. That meant taking a hand off the handlebar for that, as it is with the manual adapted sandwich box roadbook holders. A couple of times the tablet crashed, probably either a teething issue or due to an intermittent power connection I had, but each time you could reboot the tablet and app and get going again pretty quickly – probably not quickly enough for a Dakar racer, but as we’re talking a gentle adventure experience in the British countryside here, we can live with this.
But for me – and this may go for a fair few adventure riders who are taking up roadbook events with Rally Moto – I can see this app being a big win. For now, I’m quite happy riding the less stressful rally experience that is Rally Moto’s standard Rally Adventure option, and to combine that with a tablet roadbook it’s got to be all joy. It means there’s no need for a whole swathe of expensive hardware, less faff with loading the paper rolls, and you can engage more with the countryside and find your chill: enjoying the ride and the nature.
Of course, those who are riding roadbook competitively will probably prefer to keep with the traditional hardware setup and challenge themselves to the Extreme roadbook. But to have the option to ride roadbook with the app, it’s another step toward ease of access and growing the community. And in that respect – as we’ve said many times before – Rally Moto is market leading in the UK. No one else gets you closer to the rally-adventure experience (within these crowded isles).