MotoDiscovery's Trans-Amazonian Challenge
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Posted by: Wes Fleming
South America continues to be a prominent destination for today’s motorcycle touring enthusiast, attractive due to its stunning geographical diversity, colorful traditions, layered cultural heritage and an inviting Latin charm. With two prominent players in the adventure motorcycling travel world entering into a unique collaboration, MOTODISCOVERY and MOTOLOMBIA announce a fresh offering for adventure riding enthusiasts with the first running of the Trans Amazonian Challenge slated to gather in Cartagena, Colombia in August, 2015.
MotoDiscovery is an early pioneer in masterminding epic South America excursions going back to the early 1990s. The Texas-based company, founded by Skip Mascorro and supported by a legendary staff, enjoys an unrivaled 34-year history in the world of organized motorcycle tours and expeditions, including countless journeys on the South American continent. Groundbreaking events include licensed travel of Cuba, intriguing moto tours of Iran, and a successful adventure into the remote Caucasus region of Dagestan, Russia during their first Black Sea to the Caspian Tour.
Motolombia, run by Danish expat Mikkel Thomsen, now calls Cali, Colombia home, and has earned success tearing away at the myths and perceptions associated with travel in Colombia with guided tours, self-guided tours, and a blossoming motorcycle rental operation. With a growing fan base of motorcycle touring enthusiasts testifying to the wonder and magic of Colombia, Thomsen has put this once volatile, but now peaceful country on the adventure riding map.
The Trans Amazonia Challenge, a 45-day, 8,700 mile (14,000 km) adventure ride, is the first venture generated by the teaming of Motolombia-MotoDiscovery. The focus of the event is the 3,000-mile Trans Amazon Highway, stretching from the Colombia/Peru through Brazil. The roadway was intended as a massive social project in the 1970s to provide “land without people for people without land” and access from the mountainous Andean region to the jungles of the Amazon and Brazil. Surrounded in controversy, the highway did little to solve social ills, yet it has served well as a means of accessing the Amazonian jungle regions and as an alternative to river barges and water transport. Only partially paved, the Trans Amazon Highway will certainly in time rival the notoriety of Argentina’s Ruta 40 in the world of adventure motorcycling.
It did not escape Motolombia and MotoDiscovery that the Amazon Highway presents a unique and intriguing motorcycle adventure opportunity. The architects of this event, Motolombia’s Mikkel Thomsen and MotoDiscovery’s Skip Mascorro, both agree that participants will have to keep expectations in check. This is a pioneering effort and one for the adventure traveler, not the tourists. "From inception, we wanted something different," stated Mascorro who, along with his Motolombia teammate, agreed that there was far more to South America than the popular southern Patagonia regions. Motolombia’s Thomsen says "Being in Colombia, we wanted to bring attention to the northern part of the continent and the Trans Amazon Highway was an exciting hook... with a route along the Atlantic coast through countries that are virtually ignored."
Riders undertaking the Trans Amazon Challenge can use their own bikes or rentals; both options will be fully supported with riding staff and a chase vehicle. The tour begins and ends in Cartagena, Colombia and will earn passport stamps from that country as well as Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela. Approximately 20% of the route will be unpaved. With areas of the route lacking in traditional tourist services, riders should anticipate accommodations, on occasion, to be rustic.
Additional highlights include the ancient mountaintop Incan city of Machu Picchu, the mysterious Nazca Lines, and the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, Angel Falls.
Group size will be limited to 10 bikes plus staff, encouraging interested adventurers to make an early commitment. Planning and preparation for such an event is considerable and creating a cohesive team of riders even before the rubber hits the road can be considered part of the fun and magic of the Trans Amazonian Challenge.
For more info, see the tour's OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Signing up requires a US$1,500 deposit; the 45-day tour costs start at US$11,990 for a rider using his or her own motorcycle.