Roaming Rally 2016
Welcome to the Roaming Rally! Once again Gravel Travel Canada is proud to host this yearly event. We look forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting some new ones. This will be the 6th year we have hosted this unique rally. Each year we learn from previous years and incorporate changes based on feedback and our experience.
What is a Roaming Rally?
The RR is unique, plain and simple. We, as the organizers, simply provide the outline for the participants to come and experience backcountry roads and trails in Canada. There is a sign in/registration process where you fill out some forms (waiver, emergency contact, etc), have your vehicle inspected to ensure it is suitable and in good running condition then you are on your own. Prior to showing up a gps file is emailed out to everyone. This gps file has a recommended route. This is important to note, it is nothing more than a suggestion. We make no promises the route is actually doable, there is no sweep riders to help you in the event of an emergency situation, no hand holding, etc. You must understand that by showing up at this rally you will need to be 100% self-reliant. If your a beginner or novice then this is not the event for you.
The route this year is three days in length. Unique to this year is the first day (Friday) is a loop day. It starts and ends in the same location. Also unique to this first day is the level of difficulty. Each year the Roaming Rally has a near impossible route on the first day, this year that day is the second day of the rally.
There are two different routes this year. The first route is designed for larger bikes and trucks; the second which is similar in nature to routes from years past. Both routes share approximately 85% of the same terrain.
- Designed for bikes between 650-1000cc
- Designed for well-prepared overland trucks
- Consists of trails and gravel roads with paved roads used when required to connect sections of trails.
- Some of the trails could be considered challenging, depending on the skill level and type of vehicle.
- Limited water crossing
- Challenging in length but doable, we anticipate that participants should be able to finish this route without too much difficulty
- Much like Route One expect there are added section of trails that are quite challenging
- Trucks are not allowed on this route (some trails are not wide enough or suitable in terrain)
- Large bikes are not recommended.
- Too finish this route would be quite an achievement. In years past we see approximately a 10% finisher’s rate; we foresee this holding true this year.
- A 450cc bike is likely ideal although a 650 could be used if the rider is very experienced.
The majority of this year’s route has been used in years past. For folks who have ridden a RR before, you will recognize several of the trails. Most are being run in the reverse direction than in previous years. Like every Roaming rally you can expect the unexpected. We have tried our best to create a route that is doable. That being said every year throws a surprise at us. Beaver dams, gates, washed out trails and all sort of other unexpected situations have been seen in previous rallies. We do our best to pre ride the route in the spring but make no promises that the route is doable. Expect the unexpected!
Not everyone shows up to the Roaming Rally with the intent of finishing. The rally is equal parts sitting around a fire at the end of day with a beverage as it is about following the route. Remember the route is merely a suggestion. If you want to take paved highways from campsite to campsite that is not an issue.
Being on a team (bikes) is mandatory. Each team must stick together throughout the event. There is safety in numbers. Your team mates are counting on you as you are on them. Make no mistake, this is a dangerous event. Every year people end up in the hospital. It is not a race! We cannot emphasis this enough. If you’re tired it is time to throw in the towel as riding in this state is no longer safe. People get hurt (typically) in one of the situation: first thing in the morning when they are full of energy and riding faster than they should and late in the day when they are exhausted. If you intend to attempt to finish the entire route, a nice steady pace is what will do it not a fast pace. Remember the route is three days long and covers hundreds of kilometres. It is an endurance event not a sprint.
For trucks, we ask that you travel with at least one other truck. This can be arranged at the event if you are showing up by yourself.
For bikes, you must indicate which team you are on when you sign up. Being on a team comes with its draw backs. Deal with it! The pace of every team is the pace of the slowest person. Pushing the slowest team mate all day is not safe or considerate. Not letting them get a break every time they catch up is a recipe for disaster. The slowest person is usually expelling more energy (nervous, lack of skill, etc) and every time they catch up they also need the rest the faster team mates just got. This is often overlooked and has been the cause of people getting hurt. Choose your team mates wisely; pick folks who have the same goal and skill level as you. Teams must be between 3-5 bikes.
Regardless of what vehicle you are travelling on/in, a well packed first aid kit is mandatory per vehicle. A tent and sleeping bag is mandatory for every team, even on the loop day. Being able to get someone out of the elements is very important if they are hurt.
Passing other vehicles… If you are overtaking another vehicle please be polite. Scaring someone who doesn’t know you are coming up behind or alongside them is quite dangerous. If you have someone behind you please pull to the side and let them pass. When passing be considerate and don’t spray another vehicle with stones, mud or sand. Remember…it is not a race!!!
- your full name
- year and make of vehicle
- if on a bike please provide the team name and the other people on the team
- your address and phone number along with an emergency contact name and phone number
The cost associated with registering is $89 for motorcycles and $119 for trucks
Decals will be handed out during registration. We ask that you attach one to the front of your bike. This ensures you have signed the waiver forms and finished the registration process.
Trucks will be provided with magnets for their drivers doors (we understand not everyone wants to attach a large decal on their paint). Again, these magents ensure you have signed a waiver and completed the registration process.
During the registration process one of the items you will be required to do is have your vehicle inspected.
Motorcycles must be designed to go offroad and be street legal is welcome. Knobby tires are a must. Riders must demonstrate a DOT helmet and suitable gear (boots, protection, etc). Bikes will be inspected for overall condition as well as items like tires being in good condition, chain in good condition, wheel and steering bearings in good condition, etc. If you show up with a bike that doesn’t pass inspection please understand you are not welcome to participate. No refund will be provided…aka do NOT show up with a bike that is not suitable for the terrain and in good condition.
Trucks must be suitable for “stock” friendly trails. All terrain tires are a must. Decent ground clearance is a must. Recovery equipment is a must. Mid size trucks (Tacoma, Frontier, etc), Jeeps, Landrovers, Pathfinders, etc are considered suitable. All gear and equipment inside the truck must be tied down safely so it cannot come loose in the event of an accident. Four wheel drive is mandatory. Your truck will be gone over during the registration process to ensure it is suitable. We created the route so that a stock Jeep could comfortably travel it, hope that gives some perspective to people wondering if their rig is suitable. The majority of the route is gravel and paved roads with sections of easy trails. Some rocks, some mud and whatnot will be encountered but nothing that demands a lifted super truck ;) The term “overland” comes into play…being self-sufficient while exploring the backcountry.
Dates, Times and Locations
Thursday, May 26th
Loons Call Resort
Camping and cabins (cabins on a first come first serve basis, please contact the resort owners if you want to rent a cabin). Campers do not need to call the resort, they know we are coming and have ample room to accommodate us. This is a family run place, please ensure you leave your city attitudes behind ;) Cash is mandatory. Gas is a 25 minute drive away. Food should be brought as there are limited places to buy food. Remember you will be here for two nights. There is a small restaurant close by but it closes early.
2-6 pm is registration, if you show up after 6pm at registration you missed the event. Plain and simple we require a signed waiver form. In years past this has been issue so this time around we are going to be a quote strict with this. Plan to show up early!
At 8pm there will be a riders/drivers meeting. If it is nice weather it will be a round a fire pit, if it is raining it will be in the hall across from the campsites office.
Friday, May 27th
Bikes can depart whenever they feel like it, we recommend getting an early start if you intend to finish the route. We ask the trucks to not leave before 8 am, this will allow less passing on the trails.
Most folks should easily be able to finish the day’s route and be back at the campsite before dark, many by early afternoon. Route #1 is +-260 km. Route #2 is +- 200 km.
Saturday, May 28th
The route starts with some slab before it hits the trails. The route is a big one today, we doubt most people will finish route#2 (the difficult route). Be prepared to struggle in a few places. Route #1 is long but doable. A real mix of trails and back roads will eventually bring you to the Rideau River Provincial Park. This is a government run campground where we have reserved a group camp site. Please stop at the gate and pay your entry fees. There is no need to contact them prior to the rally, there is plenty of space for everyone on the group site we have reserved. The nearby (5 minutes) town of Kemptville has all amenities ( beer store, groceries, fuel, restaurants, etc).
Sunday, May 29th
We have created a half day loop route for this day. It starts at the campground and ends in the town of Kemptville. Route #2 is a beautiful and challenging route that has a real mix of terrain including some single track. Route #1 is a collection of easy trails, a nice way to finish the rally.
Is it May Yet?
We are proud to have the following companies sponsor the Roaming Rally 2016