Desafio 2017 discovering Algarve

 

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Route to the southwest Spain and Southeast Portugal

On Saturday 25th February was celebrated from the town of El Rompido (Huelva) the 6th edition of the Winter route ‘El Desafío’. This is a 500 km non-competitive route organised by Moto Club Moteros Gaditanos. This edition, there were around 700 motorcycles registered. Something that shocked us was that registration opened on December 25th and in just 45 minutes all spots were sold out .

As announced by the organisation at the Friday’s briefing, the action of the route was going to take place at the western area of the province of Huelva (Spain) along with the eastern part of the Faro-Algarve district, and also part of the district of Beja, also from Portugal.

How does it work?

The route is discovered by the riders as soon as the roadbook is used. The complete itinerary is secret until the the departure day. The goal of ‘El Desafío’ is to seal the route passport along the checkpoint controls located along the roads. There were also skill tests to be completed in order to have all the stamps in the passport:

  • Photograph certain monuments
  • Resist the ride of a crazy bull ride.

For all those aspects, the ‘Desafío’ challenge was very funny!

Beautiful landscapes through South-west Spain and Southeast Portugal, culture, skill tests, friendship…

Route

On Saturday at 5am we woke up to have a light breakfast and go to the organisation room located at Hotel Fuerte El Rompido to pick up the roadbook.  Some of the riders decided to roll the roadbook in the hotel. In our case, we prefered to start our journey and roll it after passing through the start photocall. From there, we headed towards Portugal by a small stretch of the A-49 to link with county and secondary roads that took us to areas as beautiful as Barragem de Beliche. From there, continue curving to finally get to Alcaoutim. In that village, all the riders had the photographic skill test. We had to look for three sculptures of characters who lived and practised their professions in the village some years ago: the monuments were the river guard, the smuggler and the fisherman.

After the cultural stop to complete the skill test and to have lunch, we continued the route. Now the roadbook headed us towards the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley passing through the spectacular walled village of Mértola. Later, we crossed the ‘natural boarder’ to Spain through the river Chança river. We had already travelled nearly 60% of the route in Portugal. The next checkpoint awaited the riders with another skill test: crazy bull ride 🙂 So, after the shaking of the automated animal, a new seal was obtained in our passport and it was possible to continue to the next point. This one was in the Natural Park of Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche crossing narrow passages and towns with very little population by very turned roads. The afternoon began to fall and in the roadbook already indicated that it was less to reach the final destination passing through villages like Tharsis, where a large train locomotive received the drivers.

Finally, after approximately 12 hours ride on the bike going through impressive countryside and natural parks, we got our last stamp in the passport. This was at the final checkpoint located at the Hotel.

Conclusions

We finished the challenge happily and after meeting new people from all around Spain; most of them from Andalusia. All the villages and towns that where the route took us welcomed all the riders as if they were at home. The weather was also fine and with pleasant temperatures that made that we did not perceive fatigue as much as it should be after so many kilometres. Finally, we would like to thank the organisation, volunteers, sponsors, and collaborators for making possible this 2017 edition of the ‘El Desafío Winter Route’. I am sure that it will be one of the events to appoint into our agendas for the following years.

As motoTaller‘s collaborators, we attended and enjoyed this event. You can also read the original article in Spanish at the magazine website: http://www.mototaller.info/ruta-invernal-desafio/

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See you soon!! 😉

 

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