Round Up: The Coolest Rally Raids in 2022


Written by Anastasia Leniova | Photos provided by respective events

With pandemic restrictions still in place in many countries, the international rally raid calendar for 2022 remains unpredictable. While many events face even further delays or worse, the last two years have taught organizers just how to carry on. Despite these impossible conditions, stricter protocols for health and safety procedures have been introduced. Luckily, it seems the CV-19 tsunami is subsiding enough in places  to ensure some of our favorite races will return to life this season, if not in the following one. Nonetheless, we hope all the rallies included in this round up will be able open their gates in this period of new beginnings.

The Juggernauts

Four of the world’s longest rallies of 5,000-plus kilometers and over 10 days.

January 2–14, 2022: As always, in the beginning of the new year all eyes are on the Dakar. The “world’s toughest race” pays its third visit to Saudi Arabia, starting in Hail and concluding in Jeddah. Prologue and 12 stages will take the participants through picturesque canyons and cliffs of the Neom region, passing by the Red Sea coastline and the Rub’ al Khali sand dunes.
Rally2022 RoundUp Dakar March 12 –27: After the 2021 cancellation, this major rally marathon returns to the circuit on March 12–27. The 2022 edition brings the participants from the official start in Monaco through Morocco, Mauritania and finally to the historic finish at Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal. The route famously traces much of the historic original Dakar Rally course. But unlike Dakar and most FIM World Championship races, Africa Eco race welcomes not only 450cc bikes but also single and twin-cylinder motorcycles of larger displacement, as well as experimental motorbikes such as hybrid or electric prototypes. The organization is also working on a brand-new Algeria Eco Race, which was initially scheduled for October 2021, but had to be postponed due to another wave of CV-19.
Rally2022 RoundUp AER July 2022: Started in 2009, the Russian rally is ever-changing, traveling across a number of neighboring countries when crossing is permitted, spanning up to two weeks over thousands of kilometers. Exact details and route for 2022 aren’t announced yet, but the 10-plus-day rally is likely to take place in beginning July, as always, beginning in Russia and continuing into one or two exotic regions on the other side of the Siberian borders.
Rally2022 RoundUp SilkWay August 2022: The Brazilian event is one of the greatest marathons today, yet still relatively unknown. Next year’s edition of Sertões International Rally, scheduled for August, will mark the competition’s 30th anniversary! Around 5,000 kilometers of racing will bring the teams through all five regions of the beautiful South American country.

Rally2022 RoundUp Sertoes


Ticket to Dakar

The following are noteworthy not only because of their terrain or complexity, but also due to their “Road to Dakar” label, meaning they are considered qualifying races for the Dakar Rally. Winners of this sub-challenge are exempt of entry fees to the following Dakar (in this case, 2023).

March 14–18: This four- to five-day navigation rally is the only of its kind in North America. This internationally-recognized Dakar Challenge funnels U.S. talent into the FIM and FIA. Hosted in Mexico’s Sonora State, each stage offers a variety of terrain to rival its bigger cousins, with participants facing heaps of sand dunes, as this area has the largest dunes in the entire continent.
Rally2022 RoundUp Sonora Dates TBD: This Spanish four-day race had to postpone its 2020 iteration to May of 2021, according to FIM World Championship rules. At that time, organizers announced announcing the rally’s premiere as a “Road to Dakar” challenge. The 2022 details have not yet been announced, but there are strong reasons to believe the race will become an FIM World Championship.
Rally2022 RoundUp Andalucia Dates TBD: This event is traditionally held in the beginning of October, and managed as well by the Dakar sports director David Castera. This major Moroccan rally continued to draw record number of participants, even during the pandemic, so it will likely be a full house come autumn of 2022.
Rally2022 RoundUp Maroc Dates TBD: This small but important, South African race kicks off as their winter becomes spring and the U.S.’s summer drifts into fall. That means it’s the perfect time to put in some practice before the FIM races leading up to Dakar. Set in the vast expanse of the famous Kalahari Desert, the racers experience as much culture and natural history as challenging terrain on their epic adventure over six days. This diverse route covers up to 3,000 kilometers, including riverbeds, mountains and sand dunes.


A Lot of Punch in a Small(er) Package

There are so many challenging events out there that might not be part of the world championship, or even a road to Dakar stepladder. But, they are no less memorable and leave a lasting impression on all who attend.

Dates TBD: With this race having its debut as a FIM World Championship event in 2021, it will most likely come around in a similar end of May timeframe. Racing lasts five days, over approximately 2,000 kilometers. The participants will experience a lovely seashore bivouac in Aktau and all types of interesting terrain Kazakhstan has to offer.
Rally2022 RoundUp Kazakhstan Dates TBD: Organizers will release the Rally Guide with full details about the 2022 event on February 11, 2022. Participants can choose to ride three or five days, with a total distance of 1,400 kilometers, 80 percent gravel/dirt and 20 percent sand through a picturesque landscape immersed in the colorful Portuguese culture.

  • Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Dates TBD: A usual stop for the FIM World Championship, this challenging UAE five-day race regularly takes place at the end of March to early April. However, the last two years have set the competition in November. It’s possible this pattern will continue in 2022. One of the world’s most prestigious international cross-country rallies, The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, founded in 1991, has seen many of the biggest names in international motorsport over the years tackle the dunes of the UAE.
March 12-19: Participants are promised to enjoy seven days of desert racing in Tunisia with sunsets in Sahara Desert, great hotels and delicious food. 1477 kilometers out of 2,300 race length are Special Stages, 1- and 2-cc bikes are welcomed!

  • Yocohama Norra Mexican 500 and Yocohama Norra Mexican 1000

April 29-May 6, September 29-October 2: located around Ensenada, these two racing events welcome participants of various classes including Moto and are formatted to reduce complicated planning and logistics. The rally format provides the rush of competition, but also allows participants to relax each evening in a unique location in Baja.

3 events in 2022, May 20-22, October 2-8, December 1-3: “Don’t be confused by the light walks, the GPS-guided babysitting tours. Baja Rally offers something different and better”, organizers promise. At three races of different length near Mexican San Quintin and Cataviña, it’s possible to choose between roadbook navigation and Rally Comp Navigation, and newbies receive Rally-Raid Navigation training at no cost.

September 2022: Over its relatively short time, TransAnatolia has caught the attention of the international rally community. It offers competitors seven stages all across Turkey, allowing participants to test themselves as a driver, as a rider, and as a person.
Rally2022 RoundUp Anatolia


VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS

Smaller European roadbook rallies are kicking into gear as well and are worth the trip overseas. These generally last four to six days, welcoming motorcycles of different displacements and combining gravel and mountain roads with an amazing group of professional and amateur riders. This list is far from complete; there are many more rallies and shorter roadbook “Bajas” on most continents.

Save the dates:

  • Hellas Rally, Greece, May 22 th—29th, 2022
  • Rally Albania, Albania, June 4th—11th, 2022
  • Dinaric Rally, Croatian Alps, August 2022
  • Serres Rally, Greece, September 2022
  • TransCarpathic Rally, Romania, September 2022

Rally2022 RoundUp Hellas

Stay tuned as we update the list throughout 2022!


Portrait Anastasia LeniovaAnastasia Leniova is a Belarusian motorcycle ADV rider who recently traded solo off-road travels for enduro and rallies. After traveling around the Black, Caspian and Baltic Seas on a Honda Transalp and then a KTM 690 Enduro R, she became the only woman (so far) to complete Silk Way Rally in Malle Moto. Anastasia dreams of becoming the first Belarusian to complete Dakar rally on a motorcycle and is searching for partners or a team to join. Follow her adventures on Instagram @leniova33.

 



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