Daily Reports | Riding the Hellas Rally on the Africa Twin


After the finish line Dirk von Zitzewitz and the Touratech-Team had two reasons to party: They won the two cylinder class and the surprising place two in the overall standings. The award ceremony on Edipsous crowded city square saw the Touratech-Team respectively in high spirits. This year’s Hellas Rally gave them more than they expected.

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 7

For the Touratech-Team the final stage of the Hellas Rally was marked by two questions: Will Dirk von Zitzewitz on the Touratech Africa Twin RR be able to remain number one in the two cylinder class and will he be able to defend the unexpected place two in the overall ranking against a strong field of competitors? At the start on the beach of Oreio it was the big time for the two cylinders. Ten kilometers of beach racing saw the Africa Twin passing with a speed of nearly 200km/s. “When I had a quick look at the speedo”, Dirk von Zitzewitz said later, “it showed an impressive 193km/h.” But those were just the first ten of more than 90 kilometers of today’s stage.

Back into the mountains with its well-known narrow and twisty tracks the speed dropped drastically. Though this now was the time for the lightweight bikes Dirk von Zitzewitz was two minutes faster than overall leading Gerard Farres. Ugo Filosa, number two in the two cylinder class, lost 30 minutes on Dirk von Zitzewitz who could impressively prove his rally experience.

After the finish line Dirk von Zitzewitz and the Touratech-Team had two reasons to party: They won the two cylinder class and the surprising place two in the overall standings. The award ceremony on Edipsous crowded city square saw the Touratech-Team respectively in high spirits. This year’s Hellas Rally gave them more than they expected.

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 6

After the demanding day on the Greek mainland the rally is back on Evia. In the morning the special stage started from the sea level to climb the mountain ranges of the islands interior in twisty turns. The stage distance to cover was 105 kilometers and a lot of participants will have been happy about this rather short track. But those who expected a less challenging day were proven wrong. In one of the speed sectionsf.e. the fast ones arrived with a speed of more than 100km/h at a rocky river crossing. Especially the big twins were struggling here. An attempt to cross here with speed may have ended in severe damage or the end of the rally. 

The two leading riders in the twin cylinder class, Dirk von Zitzewitz and Ugo Filosa, managed this task very well even though Filosa continuously had to fight problems with his side stand. The side stands spring had gone lost earlier and became a constant risk. Probably also due to this problem Filosa lost another six minutes on Dirk von Zitzewitz on his Africa Twin RR. Once again Dirk von Zitzewitz improved his overall position and is now number two after the leading Gerard Farres (ES) on a KTM 450. 

For tomorrow’s final stage a place among the top three riders seems likely for Dirk von Zitzewitz. “To be among the top ten would have been a dream before I came here. I never thought that I might be on the rostrum”, he said after the race. But both, in the overall ranking and in the class of the twin cylinders, things can still change quickly. A technical problem or a mistake in navigation may still have a major impact on the classification.

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 5

The first light of the new day saw the Rally on a ferry to the Greek mainland. The great question after yesterday’s battle of the twins between Ugo Felosa and Dirk von Zitzewitz was if they would proceed with their neck-and-neck race. The conditions in mountains near Amfissa were nearly perfect for the powerful twins. From a wide open plain a nearly linear slope climbed the first hills to disappear in the forests. Later on the stage forced the riders up to more than 1200m above sea level, right below the snowline. All could have been easy but as always: Don’t count your chicken before they’re hatched!

Riding downhill on a stony slope Dirk von Zitzewitz hit a big rock with the right footpeg. Luckily neither his foot was not harmed nor did he loose the lever of the footbrake. Against all odds he was more than 12 minutes faster than Ugo Filosa. In the overall ranking Dirk von Zitzewitz on the Africa Twin RR is on place three now. Ugo Filosa is number eight and is more than 27 minutes in arrears.

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 4

It was the awesome start in one of the many mountainranges of Evia with wide open space that nourished the illusion of a fast stage with less demanding orientation. But that hope evaporated like many of the clouds above the island. The refueling brake around noon saw many exhausted faces. Though leading through a stunningly beautiful landscape the terrain was extremely tricky.

It were surprisingly the Touratech Africa Twin RR with Dirk von Zitzewitz and Ugo Filosas Africa Twin CRF 1000 that reached the refueling spot nearly simultaneously and by far ahead of most other riders. What yesterday’s stage already promised seems to become true: A real battle of the twins in their own class but also in the overall ranking. Filosa made it from place 12 yesterday to number 7 and Dirk von Zitzewitz reached place 5 after he was seventh yesterday.

Tomorrow the whole rally will move to the Greek mainland. It’s going to be an exciting day!

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 3

Todays stage of the Hellas-Rally surprised all participants with its broad variety. Steep mountain tracks and highspeed-sections took turns. At the end of the energy-sapping special section a rough riverbed separated those who could still concentrate from others who had left their stamina elsewhere.

For Dirk von Zitzewitz on his Touratech Africa Twin RR the stage held both, positive and negative experiences. On a long sandy beach dotted with gravel and bigger stones the Twin showed off with its sheer power. “That bike is so fast, it’s scary and fun at the same time”, Dirk mentioned later on. In the mountains, however, he really had to work on the RR to manage the tight corners and narrow tracks. It was just there when the IMO-tripmaster stopped working. For the final 100 of the 200kms long stage Dirk had no choice but to rely on the roadbook, his intuition and experience as a navigation specialist.

At the end of the day he was able to enlarge his lead in the twin cylinder class followed by Italy’s Ugo Filosa (Africa Twin CRF 1000) . In the overall ranking Dirk von Zitzewitz improved from the 12th place to the 7th today.

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 2

The first race day made it very clear: It’s not only top speed on this narrow course that takes you to the top. It’s also a lot about navigation. That’s why orientation specialists took advantage of today’s stage. Dirk von Zitzewitz and the Africa Twin RR made it to rank 12 in the overall classification and became number 1 in the two cylinder category. The carefully arranged suspension setting and the smooth engine contributed to the success. “You really have to work on the bike to make it through the tight passages. But I’m surprised how easy the big twin behaves”, Dirk said after the race.

However, during the race Dirk faced a difficult situation. Short before the finishing line he took a wrong turn. On his way back another rider made the same mistake. But because he hadn’t realized his fault he was still going at high speed. Dirk tried to avoid the collision by leaving the track into the bushes. Regardless his maneuver he was slightly hit by the oncoming motorcycle. Fortunately no severe harm was done to both, riders and the machines.

Now Dirk is looking forward to next stage: “The organizers are doing a good job and the atmosphere is very familiar. Today was a good warm-up. I’ve got to know the bike much better today and I’m ready for tomorrow’s long leg.”

Touratech at Hellas Rally - Day 1

This year’s Hellas-Rally takes place on Greece’s second largest island Evia. 168 competitors from 14 countries race from the 10th till the 15th of May in five motorcycle categories. Besides that several Quads and Buggies are joining the rally.

Touratech participates with the “Africa Twin RR”. Dirk von Zitzewitz, renowned Enduro competitor and Dakar co-pilot of Giniel de Villiers, rides the Touratech modified Honda. After the first test ride under the Hellenic sun he’s impressed by the bike: “That’s a real men’s toy!”

The opening ceremony in the harbor city Edipsou saw Dirk von Zitzewitz and the “Africa Twin RR” welcomed by an enthusiastic audience. That’s a good start into the first race day.

It might not yet look like it in our development workshop, but it'll soon be showing us just what it can do: Touratech is going on the Hellas Rally (8-16 May) on this Africa Twin, which is being converted to a rally bike.

Touratech's development workshop has fitted countless brand new parts to the CRF 1000L, while paying articular importance to the optimisation of the suspension. The fork has been upgraded with a Touratech Suspension Cartridge, which has increased the pitch of spring by an additional 20 mm. A milled aluminium hub sits at the centre of a high-strength Excel rim. The combination of milled hub and rally rim is also used on the rear, where there is also a specially-made Touratech suspension strut that provides an additional 25 mm  movement.

The ergonomics have been improved by a one-piece rally bench and higher, specially shaped handlebar. A lightweight Remus exhaust system comes courtesy of AC Schnitzer.
The cockpit has a fibreglass-reinforced rally front construction that will hold all the navigation equipment, from Road Book to GPS.

In line with the Touratech Racing Team's proven motto ("There’s no way of testing harder"), the use over six tough stages on various terrains ranging from mud and sand to rocks and forest trails will undoubtedly bring a wealth of experience that will go straight into series production.
We'll be providing daily reports with all the latest news starting on 9 May!

Learn more about the Hellas Rally

Learn more about Dirk von Zitzewitz

Hellas Rally Touratech Africa Twin "RR"
Category: Event, Top News