Established in 2009, the Silk Way Rally only opened a motorcycle class a decade after its inception. In 2019, the 10-stage rally served as the second round of the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Sam Sunderland took home top honors that year on his way to winning the 2019 FIM crown.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 wiped out any chance for Sunderland to repeat in 2020, but 2021 looks more optimistic with the Russia/Mongolia route set and registration already open. While Red Bull KTM’s success definitely brought publicity to Silk Way’s burgeoning motorcycle class, the rally wants to draw more grassroots racers to the starting gate.
Organizers are already waving fees for all-women teams or teams with a crew under the age of 30. They’re also offering “favorable entry conditions,” for those running alternative, eco-friendly fuels. However, Silk Way knows that competing with the likes of Honda and KTM is out of the question for most amateur and privateer racers. So, the rally organizers set up the G-Moto Challenge for those that would like to participate in the race at a lower cost.
Restricted to the first 15 registered competitors, the program will only accept those not on the FIM priority or the ASO Elite list. G-Moto Challenge rules also state that registrants can’t enter the rally with any outside funding. If the rider can meet those constraints, the program offers transport of one motorbike, one trunk, two wheelsets, and two sets of tires from Paris (and back).
The package also includes access to a reserved area at each bivouac, or inter-stage basecamp, and provisions for sleeping equipment. The racer’s bivouac space will also come with the required tools for maintenance between stages. Those interested in applying for the G-Moto Challenge can find more information at the Silk Way Rally website and registration is open until June 1, 2021.
Yes, Silk Way only has one year of motorcycle racing under its belt, but the G-Moto Challenge will go a long way toward making the rally a draw for younger, more diverse riders.