blank 09/15/14 12:25PM Motorcycle Rally, Orange Crush Moto Adventure

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Reposted from Motocross Performance

Text by Danny Brault
Images by Claude Auchu & Danny Brault

This past weekend I was fortunate to partake in one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had on a motorcycle, and probably one of the best group off-road motorcycle rides in Canada and North America. It wasn’t riding on a real supercross track or sharing a ride with some great like Ricky Carmichael or Jean-Sebastien Roy (although, JSR was at this event), but rather it was a 1,000 kilometre, on-road/ off-road, 2-day rally race across Northern Quebec. Something completely new to me, but change is good, right?

The event is called Orange Crush Adventure Rally and it’s been going on every year September since 2012, with KTM Canada acting as title sponsor, seeing as the company offers a full line-up of bikes capable of handling a course like Orange Crush. Marc Fontaine is the man behind the event and his goal is to replicate a Dakar Rally feel, offering a high-mile rally race across paved roads, gravel roads, fire roads, single-track trail and everything in between, along with various ‘Special Tests’ for those wishing to show off their hardcore adventure riding skills and compete for best times.

Orange Crush is a race but it’s more about fun, some laughs and sharing your motorcycle passion with others. There was a total of 150 riders broken up into teams of three, and each rider’s bike was equipped with a Road/ Route Book. To win the event, it’s not about being the fastest, but rather you and your team must have excellent navigation skills as well, because the winning team is based on whoever is “closest to the pin” when it comes to recording the actual mileage of the race. Riders are monitored by GPS so it’s pretty accurate to know how many kms each one puts on during Orange Crush. Let’s say the race is 900 kms long; the goal is to end with your dial closest to 900 as possible.

The event begins with a lap around the SRA Motocross Track in Terrebonne, Quebec (approx 30 minutes north of Montreal) and then riders travel north 500 kms to the almost extinct mining town of Parent. Everyone stays over in Parent for dinner and drinks, and then the green flag waves again at 6am on Saturday with all 150 riders racing south 400 kms to La Tuque. Things wrap up with a huge dinner, drinks, live music, and awards ceremony at the ski hill in La Tuque. The town of La Tuque loves motorsports and welcomes Orange Crush and its participants with open arms. No doubt, though, as the event takes over three to four hotels, restaurants, bars, and injects good money into the local economy. (La Tuque is 3.5 hours Northeast of Montreal.)

The longest I’ve ever ridden a motocross bike for is, maybe, 2 hours. But this past Friday and Saturday, I somehow held on for 9 hours each day, manhandling this monster KTM Adventure 1190 (pics below), which actually feels incredibly light on the trail and road, and features some high tech gagdgetry like ABS, Traction Control and electronic suspension to automatically adjust to an individual’s weight. Oh, and it boasts an 1190cc, two cylinder four-stroke engine with 150 HP. It’s ready to race.

With my WASPcam mounted, I snapped a few pics along my journey through the Quebec wilderness, and also have some video footage to share as well. Here’s a visual of what you can expect at an Orange Crush Adventure Rally Race. If you’re interested in signing up for Orange Crush 2015, contact Marc Fontaine by clicking here.

A BIG thanks to everyone at KTM Canada (Warren, Chris, JSR, Florian, Gerald), event promoter Marc Fontaine and his entire crew for putting together such a well organized and entertaining motorcycle event. It was a blast!

sra

Orange Crush Adventure begins! The two-day, dual-sport motorcycle rally began Friday morning at SRA Motocross track in Quebec, just north of Montreal. After signing in, riders geared up and completed one lap of the racetrack for the first ‘Special Test’ of the event.

 

fontaine

Marc Fontaine has a long history around motorcycles and event promotion. Since 2012, Fontaine, KTM and other sponsors have worked hard to deliver one of North America’s best adventure rally events. 200 to 1200cc, you’ll find all kinds of bikes and brands at Orange Crush. Everyone is welcome (you just need a motorcycle license and street legal bike).

 

camping

Some hardcore adventure riders actually camped out at SRA the night before Day 1 of Orange Crush.

 

media bikes

Spoiled Brats: A handful of Canadian journalists were given the opportunity to experience Orange Crush, with KTM outfitting each of us with a bike and gear, and Dave Renouf leading us safely through the entire course. My ride was the orange 1190 Adventure in the middle here. You would not believe how smooth and confident you can ride this bike on some extreme off-road conditions. It’s 450 lbs but handles almost as well as an XC in the woods.

 

150 riders

Since 2012, Orange Crush has enjoyed more than 100 riders and, in 2014, it was capped off at 150 due to limited motel space on night one in Parent.

Orange Crush start 150 riders

Riders preparing for the start of Day 2 in Parent, Quebec.

 

start

Riders feel like rockstars starting and finishing each day of Orange Crush, riding through the Red Bull arch with cameras clicking.

race down roads

Mad Max? That’s who I felt like in some sections of Orange Crush. This photo was taken on Day 2 when we were traveling south from Parent to La Tuque. I think we were about 175 kms from La Tuque at this point. These desolate Quebec logging roads have riders clipping along at speeds of 100 – 160 km/h. (To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable and nervous at times!)

 

racing down roads

Your author enjoying his first ride on KTM’s Adventure 1190. This was taken on Day 1 when we made our way up some dirt roads towards Parent from Montreal.

 

amazing views

There was no shortage of amazing views during Orange Crush! This is when we took a break for a sandwich and a cold drink before riding for another 300 kms to La Tuque.

 

women racers too

Orange Crush isn’t only for the boys – women were in the mix as well!

 

Paul Penzoil

Ex-road racer and freelance journalist Paul “Penzoil” Penzo showing off his grey/ black version of the KTM Adventure 1190. You could definitely tell Paul was a road racer when we hit roads and wide open spaces – you’d never see him again until the checkpoint! To the right is our VIP Experience leader, Dave Renouf. Great guy and solid rider!

 

all sizes of bikes

As long as you have a valid motorcycle license and street legal machine, you’re welcome to race Orange Crush! We had Japanese, Euro and German machines in the mix.

 

what a goof bal...crashed a 500 exc

You’ve got to keep up with the trends, right? #selfie

 

just finished mud section

This was taken right after the muddy video clip above. Our three lean, mean KTM off-road racing machines: two KTM Adventure 1190s for the journalists, and a KTM Enduro 690 for Renouf.

 

night life in Parent

Parent, Quebec reminds me of Bell Island, Newfoundland … you’ve got to see it to believe it.

DSCF8824

Along the 900 km journey, Fontaine and his team laid out some ‘Special Tests’, which were timed but optional for Orange Crush riders. This test was on Day 2; our group opted out of it. A little too steep and sandy. With 400 kms to go, I really needed to conserve every bit of energy just to finish the loop. Kudos to the guys who had the balls to go for it!

 

la tuque view

A view of La Tuque. This is where things wrapped up on Day 2 of Orange Crush, with some riders going for one last ‘adventure’ up the skil hill. I did go for this Special Test, but after two turns, wish I hadn’t. I’m still out of breath!

 

ride orange

KTM Canada’s new RIDE ORANGE hauler

 

gaetan

Duroy KTM’s Gaetan Labelle normally spends his weekends at the motocross track, supporting almost every orange rider in Quebec. Not last weekend though. The Orange Bleeder is a sponsor and also competitor at Orange Crush!

 

big dinner

Everyone was treated to a huge feast on Saturday night in La Tuque, which was included in your race entry.

 

on the trail

Our team – Danny Brault, Dave Renouf, Paul Penzo – taking a break towards the end of Day 1.

 

florian gerald and chris

Team KTM: Almost every single KTM Canada corporate was at Orange Crush, either riding, working or both. Here we have Eastern Sales Manager, Gerald Kimpton, Tech Support coordinator Chris Laliberte  , and General Manager, Florian Burguet.

 

awards

At the awards ceremony on Saturday night

 

band

See you at Orange Crush 2015!

 

band 2

Nothing beats a good adventure.

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