My trip to the Stella Alpina Rally

2012 – The year I rode to the Stella Alpina Rally on my own motorcycle!

Having attended this event for the last 3 years as a pillion rider, travelling there on my own motorcycle was really a dream come true. In mid July, I left the country on my road-trip to Italy, from which I would return only 10 days later, having done approximately 2200 miles and ridden over at least 24 mountain passes.

I think a number of factors made my trip more fantastic to me than anything else. Firstly, I did it on a 250 Superdream! Of course a 250 isn’t the most challenging of machines to do a road trip on when you consider the many other bloggers and authors that have completed trips of thousands of miles on 125’s and 50’s; however, I think for my first trip abroad I coped reasonably well taking a fully loaded 250 on Alpine passes and rocky off-road tracks! Secondly, I was just 19 when I did this trip. It didn’t really occur to me before, but I do feel truly lucky when I consider how many 19 year old girls embark on motorcycle adventures such as this.

Riding on the wrong side of the road turned out to be surprisingly easy! I think it helped that I had seen it all before as a pillion in previous years so it wasn’t a totally new experience. The ride across northern France on the long straight roads was pretty boring despite avoiding motorways and choosing the more ‘interesting’ route. I was just dying to reach the Alps where I would find myself on twisty Alpine passes full of tight corners and steep climbs.

After 3 days of riding we finally reached the Alps. Having an intercom system between helmets proved useful here as my dad was able to talk me through how to take the tight ‘hairpin’ corners with a fully loaded motorcycle. These corners were so tight and steep that I had to take them in first gear and rev my motorcycle to at least 9000 rpm (with the red line at 10!) just so it was able to pull me up the road.

Riding over the Alps was the most amazing experience. Not only was it the winding roads taking me up and over each mountain, but the scenery was indescribably beautiful!  I think that the highest mountain pass that I crossed was the famous Col du Galibier which is 2,645 metres (around 8677 feet).

Day 3 of travelling, late afternoon; we arrived at our first destination, Bardonecchia, the town where the Stella Alpina rally is held. It was good to finally check into our accommodation, meet up with our friends and relax. The atmosphere in the town is great as there are so many different motorcycles and like-minded people to chat to. I think one of the main attractions of the rally is the socialising over the weekend as you’ll meet people all sorts of people from all over the world.

If you haven’t read about the Stella Alpina Rally yet, nip on over to this blog post here and have a quick read all about it!

The day before the actual Stella Alpina Rally, my dad and I decided to ride up the track to give me a chance to have a go at off-roading whilst it was still relatively quiet and not heaving with other motorcyclists. Up until this point, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was brave enough to try off-roading on my Superdream. However, I eventually told myself that there’s no point in riding all the way to Italy and not even giving it a go!

I’m so glad I tried it in the end because, whilst it was hard work and exhausting, it was so fun! As a novice, sometimes it was a little awkward when approaching a ‘hairpin’ corner with other motorcyclists coming down in the opposite direction, but in no time I was blatting up the mountain like a pro! After the rally I was actually proud of how dirty and dusty my motorcycle was!

After the day of the Stella Alpina Rally, my group of friends and I moved on to Marmora for 3 more days of off-roading before we all set off home. It’s something that I would certainly recommend because if you’ve travelled all the way to Italy, you may as well make the most of the tracks in the area before leaving again! The next few days were absolutely fantastic and I really enjoyed the experience, even if I may have been on an inappropriate motorcycle for off-roading. No doubt it has given me a new set of riding skills and has really boosted my confidence in the handling of my motorcycle.

The next few days consisted of a rushed ride back to arrive in Calais in time for the ferry home. We were really lucky with the weather this year as it was only on the last 2 days we had what felt like non-stop heavy rain. I didn’t really mind though because we were nearly home and I had such a great time away.

I really can’t wait for next year’s Stella Alpina Rally and perhaps I’ll see a few of you there next time around! If you know anyone who’s into touring or off-roading, don’t forget to tell them about it – the more the merrier!

Stay tuned for more photographs!