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HomeRacing newsThe Gibraltar Race: a modern motorcycle legend

The Gibraltar Race: a modern motorcycle legend

13/07/23

Launched in 2016, the Gibraltar Race was inspired by ancient mythology: the legendary voyage made by Ulysses across the Mediterranean all the way to the Pillars of Hercules and the waves of the Atlantic. According to the event’s creator, Manuel Podetti, the ambitious project was conceived as an adventure travel experience. One allowing participants to measure their riding skills against others while following amazing routes at a good pace.

“The event is at an intermediate level between travel and rallies,” he explains. “It’s for lovers of off-road motorcycle adventures who want the adrenaline of a challenge without being a professional pilot, similar to the original Paris-Dakar, back when anyone could take on the challenge.”

Off the tourist path

Among the challenges is the great variety of on- and offroad conditions. Not just from one stage to another, but throughout the day. Add in the changing weather and it’s fair to say that anything can be expected. That said, the challenges are set for motorcyclists with average off-road experience riding a medium-to-big trailbike, and with good knowledge of GPS devices or apps.

What makes the Gibraltar Race so appealing? Riders get to see many countries on routes outside the typical tourist itineraries,” Manuel explains. “Also, they receive excellent support. With our experience as a tour operator, we take care of every aspect, including hotel and other services.”

On average 70-80 riders take part. The logistics of moving every day with a large number of people and vehicles – including staff and assistance – don’t permit larger numbers. There is no pre-selection, but the motorbikes must be road-legal with valid third-party liability insurance, as the routes follow public roads.

Safety: a priority

Manuel underlines the importance of safety. “Each participant is equipped with a device that transmits its position to event management every second. The device also allows the rider to be in contact and send an SOS if necessary. Medical and mechanical rescue vehicles always follow the riders.” Moreover, the route files indicate any dangers detected during the pre-race reconnaissance, as well as places where speed must be controlled to ensure that motorcyclists don’t put themselves or others at risk.

The event has given Manuel many meaningful moments. “One was in the first edition of 2016, when the riders finally arrived at Europa Point, with North Africa visible across the strait. I can also mention how often riders have expressed their appreciation of the routes. It’s a source of pride for me, as I personally research and verify each itinerary by motorbike and car. And of course, the partnership with Bridgestone is of great satisfaction for all of us.”

New vistas

Now in its seventh year, the Gibraltar Race keeps developing. “We started with the idea that the route would change every year. In April, expansion outside Europe began with our Morocco race. A future edition will be between Gibraltar and Dakar. A great adventure, don’t you think?”

Manuel plans to make it even easier to participate in the event and boost the number of riders. He adds, “We also want to involve brand partners even more to raise their visibility.” What would he say to those hesitant to participate in the 2024 edition? “The Gibraltar Race is an opportunity to live an unforgettable experience, travel roads and see places that are mostly unknown, and test yourself by challenging your limits. It’s no wonder so many riders return year after year.”

Bridgestone’s fundamental role

The motivation behind Bridgestone’s involvement with the Gibraltar Race was the launch of two tyres dedicated to these types of bikes and this kind of event: the AX41 Adventurecross and E50 Battlecross. Event founder Manuel Podetti: “In addition to being able to promote the brand and these tyres every year, the feedback obtained from riders – with different motorcycles on different routes – is important for their product development.”

He considers the role of Bridgestone as fundamental. “They offer an impeccable tyre service which makes the race even more enjoyable. Motorcyclists who choose Bridgestone find that their service and quality make the race easier, and they continue using the tyres in subsequent events.” In fact, a special event trophy – the Bridgestone Challenge – was set up for participants using this brand. Manuel concludes, “Associating Bridgestone with our event is a source of pride.”

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