From Kilkis and Serres to Drama town, through the mountains Krousia and Black Mountain, Belles and Agistro, Lailias and Vrontou Mountains, Menikio (or Bosdakas) and Granite, Falakro (bald…) and West Rodopi …
From the muddy “Road of Water”, to the tarmac “kotzam kalderim” fortress green road from “Metaxa” season…
From the stony passing on Bosdakas mountaintop -1800 meters altitude-, to the artificial Nestos Lake…
From Old Sidirokastro, to the Air Giant Generators and thermal springs on Agistro Mountain …
From the border line on Belles Mountain, to the “Turtle’s Path” with the Golden Ground at Krousia Mountain…
From endless grasslands with cows and wild horses, to the buffalos and thousands of storks’ birds that live at Kerkini Lake…
From Castanea Forest and Menikia Lake calmness, to the Fir Forest, Black Pine Forest, and the unique Simida Forest in Europe on the top of Rodopi.
And from well known sandy potato fields at Vrontou, to the crown of Lailias and the deers playing round the loam roads and paths around…
Men, mountains and Machines, following an unforgettable adventure!
It was a powerful week, which had a fantastic race rhythm, an unprecedented first for Greece and the International community. It was a race, a test event that passed with flying colors, for the world championship level according to the comments of the international observers.
The 5 day event was a first for Greece, a real Rally Raid which spanned over 1200 kilometers. For the first time, there was such an avant-garde Paddock situated in a unique setting within the hotel, with all of its luxuries a foot step away!
The race saw for the first time a double-tracking satellite system from MyTrack and interactive communication between the riders and crews, both for security reasons and for the correct guidance of the race route.
For the first time besides the many ambulances and security vehicles with doctors and paramedics, a safety helicopter was on standby in the paddocks for immediate support!
For the first time a colored detailed Road Book was available for the competitors, but also a 120-page book with all the race information for riders and crews, with the security plan and Road Book with access to every possible point.
For the first time there was a daily briefing of the race route in a presentation room …
For the first time there was «live tracking» available online via internet and on-line results from Infomega and www.moto-live.info with sensors at each check point!
When a rider or crew finished a stage there times were available on a screen monitor for all to see!
For the first time the international observers left the race with only positive feedback…
For first time riders returned from the stage excited with the trails and the organization of the race, despite the fatigue of hard days racing!
This was all possible because the organizers of the race provided not only all what they had promised, but much more: the Auto Moto Club of Serres and the Off Road Team gave their all for the best possible result, preparing the race for more than 2 years !
Serres Rally on the road!
The Serres Rally 2011 was a bet that we won it, a pilot for the future, and a benchmark for any other race of its kind in Greece! It was a dream that became a reality, dedicated to all those who dreamed of such a race! Even for those who didn’t managed to live it!
The Serres Rally 2012 is yet another promise of something even greater and wonderful, dedicated to those who honored us with their presence and believed in it, even from abroad…
On behalf of LAMS and Off Road Team, we would like thank you all!
The event will continue, as it joins the European-funded program, and will acquire a prominent position in the International Sports Calendar (Calendar) of FIM (Federation International Motorcycle).
In 2012 the event will be held in an earlier date, in early September 4-9th, so that there will be better weather conditions. Soon we will announce the exact dates on our website www.serresrally.com and in further press releases.
Sponsors of the Serres Rally 2011 were KTM SEE, Denicol, Michelin, Colori, Jet Power, the communication systems company AMITEL AE. Press Sponsors were the magazines MOTO, Tetrakinisi MAG and sponsor websites were www.to4x4.gr, www.motorsite.gr who gave us all of the images, www.pitlane.gr, www.MrBike.gr, www.Bikeit.gr, www.trailride.gr.
We warmly thank them all for their valuable contribution in this difficult time.
On the racing side, for the motorbikes it was Basilis Bourdos with a KTM 450 EXC who managed to win 9 out of the 10 stages of the race, leaving no one a change to challenge his authotity.
Of course he was also the winner of the –B category (<450cc). The Romanian Somodean Ioan riding on a Husaberg FE 550, who was the winner in his class at the 1st Pan European race (Transcarpatic Rally) was the winner on the first day, the Greek rider felt his pressure but the Romanian could not pull through, taking second place in the final standings and winning the –C (>450cc) category. The German Christian Woelfl riding a Yamaha WR 250F managed to finish in 3rd place, also winning the –A (<250cc) category.
Please note, that the European Championship point system for motorbikes, is calculated by the aggregating points of the racing days (legs).
As for the 4X4 vehicles, the crew of Stavros Dimitiadis and Panagiotis Kalfas with their Suzuki Jimmy 1.6, won the race with a carefully planned route, bringing them up in the championship table.
Let’s see what happen in detail, because things were not so easy.
Day 1 (40km): The race started with an easy drive through the towns center and from there riders and crews went on to the Highway of Serres, passing through the motocross track for games and photos. From there the super stage of Agoios Georgios – Raxobitsas began, a 18 kilometer run, a fast stage at first then continuing to a very closed and demanding navigation route! A tough climb brought havoc and delays to several drivers.
2T: Boudros won the super stage, but was left 4th in the general standings on the first day due to penalties which were given to him for passing the speed limit! The Romanian Somodeam Ioan was first in the general standing closely followed by Kostas Blaxakis in 2nd place and Christian Woelfl in 3rd.
4X4: The crew of Kostas Stamatakis and Christos Tsaligopoulos with their Suzuki Jimny 1.3, made a fanastic start ahead of the Camping Gaz Terra – Fedima team. The locals Thanasis Loridis and Stergios Bountouris with a Jeep Cherokee 2.5 gave a great battle with the brother crew of Christos and Georgios Zugogiorgo with a Lada Niva 1.6 which actually managed to win the stage.
Day 2 (270km) headed northwest, towards the region of Kilkis. It consisted of 3 stages with increasing degree of difficulty spreading from 60 to 80 km in length, Sidirokastro, the Belles and Krousia!
2T: Boudros won the 3 stages, with Ioan and Woelfl following closely, while legend Turkish veteran Kemal Merkit with a KTM 530 EXC right behind them. However, the Greek rider had a long way to go to decrease the gap from the top riders after a “bad” first day start. Fifth was the Turkish rider, Selcuk Bektas with a KTM 450 EXC, and sixth was Angelo Pantelides, which was a pleasant surprise, with an old KTM 520 ECHC.
4X4: Stavros Dimitriadis – Panagiotis Kalfas with their Suzuki Jimny 1.6 won the 1st stage marginally, when Fotis Koutsoumpos – Gregory Lambrinos with Suzuki Vitara 2.0 encountered technical problems on the first day, won the 2nd and 3rd stage. But the lead was passed over to Dimitriadis – Kalfa, with the crew of Stamatakis – Tsaligopoulos following, and Marda Nick – Costas Andreopoulos (Suzuki Jimny 1.6) in 3rd place with 2nd place close by!
Day 3 (300km) was a Marathon special stage which spread over 270 km on the Menikio, Lailia, and the Agikstri regions! Difficult and tedious, with the cold morning freezing up the riders fingers with a lot of riders feeling the pain! The frost and ice slopes of the Bosdaka helped riders to fall of their bikes!
2T: The unfortunate Kemal Merkit fell breaking his collarbone at Lake Menikio, and abandons on the 50th km … Bad luck also stuck Nick Spano with his KTM 530 EXC, a problem with the navigation instruments caused him to lose control, 50km before the end of the day at Faia Petra, dislocating his finger, forcing him to abandon the race with severe pain …
Basilis Boudros and Christian Woelfl give a great battle for the overall standings, giving the lead to Basilis with a gap of a few seconds! In third place, Konstantinos Hatsimichalis with a Husaberg FE 570 had a perfect day, ahead of Vlahakis and Pantelides. Unlucky day for Ioan losing 30′ in relation to the front runners, but also for Politimi Kyriakopoulou with a Husaberg FE 450 who remained stationary for over half an hour after being stuck on the stage!
4X4: Dimitriadis and Kalfas took advantage and earned over half an hour compared with the other crews, creating a cushion gap! The crew of Koutsoumpos – Lambrinos encounted clutch and front transmission problems, they did not giving up and giving there all for a super ‘speed and service’ race!
Day 4 was the longest and hardest day of the race, 370 km in all! 4 simple stages and among them 3 super stages, with diverse terrain and difficulty! The route heads northeast, to the region of Drama and the beautiful Kara Dere! The Lake, the Road of Water and the Rodopi will judge the competitors on the 4th day.
2T: Boudros loses second place for a few seconds by Ioan, but with another win now has more than recovered his difference in the rankings, and sits in first place of the Serres Rally! 3rd place was taken by Vlahakis, since Chatzimichalis was penatilized 1’! Woelfl and George Spitsieris (Yamaha WR 250F) filled the rest of the position in the general ranking. Meanwhile, Czech Tomas Holman with a BMW EX 650 and Alexander Sougiannis with a Suzuki DR 800 Big, were fighting with the large On-Off bikes in an informal battle of their own! A fall be the Czech brings him the end of the race day with injures to his toes, which prevented him from returning to the race … The misfortune also hit Kostas Vlahakis, after a fall in the last Liaison couses him to race with dislocated collarbone for more than 70 km … And of course, deprives the opportunity to begin the last day …
4×4: Nikos Marda and Kostas Andreopoulos win the first fast special stage of the day, the Lake! The next however long and enduro type special stage Livadero, is won by the crew of Koutsoumpos – Lambrinos! The last and most difficult special stage Kara Dere Rodopi, is won by Stamatakis – Tsaligopoulos which moves them up to second position overall!
The brother crew of Zygogiorgoi come back beating Lorida – Boudouri for the battle of the G2 class
Fifth and final day of competition consisted of 220 km, and 2 special stages! The Lailias 170, and the Rachovitsa 17 km for the race finish…
2T: Another two other riders retired today, with Takis Ionas on a Quad Kawasaki KFX 400 also retiring with mechanical problems. Boudros monopolized but Ioan follows him from a distance. Third places goes to Selcuk Bektas who is suffering from a cold! Woelfl remains fourth, ahead of the impressive Sougianni finishing the race without an exhaust, and the Timi Kyriacopoulou who had her best day!
4×4: The crew of Stamatakis – Tsaligopoulos manage to win by a small margin on the large stage, while Demetriades – Kalfas win the small stage at Rachovitsa, winning overall the race. At the same time, problems dont go away for the crew of Koutsoumpos – Lambrinos, which are confined permanently in fourth position. The crew of Loridas – Boudouris, win the Zygogiorgon stage.
In the overall standings of category A, Christian Woelfl comfortably dominated George Spitsieris, while third place was taken by Panagis Athanassoulis, who with a Honda XR 250 got to feel for the first time, the “virus” of the Rally Raid!
In Class B, behind Basilis Boudros was Selcuk Bektas, while Costas Vlahakis lost valuable points from his absence on the final day, stepping up to third on the podium! With Politimi Kyriacopoulou marginally behind, showing that she is a strong competitor in the Rally Raid fight!
In the largest Class C, Somodean Ioan won the race, with Konstninos Hatzimihali second and Alexander Sougianni 3rd – winner of the informal class Big On-Off. A pleasant surprise in fourth place was Angelo Pantelides with his maiden race appearance on a motorcycle. Fifth was the Romanian Catalin Mitachesku on a KTM 525 ECHC, while sixth place was handed to the Czech Tomas Holman. Alexander Agapakis was seventh on a KTM 530 EXC which successfully finished all of the 1200 km of the Serres Rally. Kemal Mekrit and Nick Spanos followed without being all the taste the joy of finishing the race. We wish them a speedy recovery.
At the Quad, Takis Ionas was the only participant with the course having the ideal conditions for Quads!
It will be a fantastic trip through Macedonia, from a different point of view!
At the end of every day we will gather at the town of Serres, at Elpida Resort & Spa Hotel. Inside this ideal place, there are all the facilities for competitors and followers at a special colorful bivouac!
Α big International 5 days Race which will excite endurance and fillings…!