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ADV EventsBaja Rally 2017: Rally Racing Gets Bit by the ADV Bug

Baja Rally 2017: Rally Racing Gets Bit by the ADV Bug

Adventure Riders chase thrills and glory racing big bikes at the 2017 Baja Rally.

Published on 11.02.2017

The BAJA RALLY has kept the insurgence of ADV bikes in the racing community flowing in 2017. Long time “big bike” competitor and first-time rally navigator Wes VanNieuwenhuisen exploded onto the race course in a flurry of dirt, sweat and perseverance.

You would never have known he’d won the ADV Expert class on a fractured foot. If not for a few technical mishaps which led to game-changing penalties, VanNieuwenhuisen was pegged for an overall finish on the podium on his KTM 950 Super Enduro. Maybe because he rides with an intensity quite unlike his cool, quiet demeanor, you wouldn’t immediately slate him as a winner. But Team Cyclops and their sponsor Konflict Motorsports have been ever-present in the Winner’s Circle since Wes’ father Darryl began competing with a smattering of Adventure-sized monsters in the Pacific Northwest some ten years ago.

KTM Super Enduro 950 racing at Baja Rally
Wes VanNieuwenhuise of Team Cyclops/Konflict takes home first place in the ADV category and a respectable 15th overall on his KTM 950 Super Enduro.

This is not to discredit the incredible journey that popular blogger Eric Hall (of took during his likewise inaugural Rally Raid effort. His team consisted of himself. The hurdles he encountered seemed endless: a mishap at the starting line at one stage, running out of gas in another, submerging his KTM 990 Adventure into a cavernous rut and a pinched flat on the final day. But persistent as ever, Eric overcame all these issues and accomplished his ultimate goal of completing the BAJA RALLY. He even took home a medal!

KTM 990 racing at Baja Rally
Eric Hall of XLADV competed in his first ever Rally Raid event riding a KTM 990 Adventure.


Win, lose or DNF, what the presence of Adventure Bikes in a rally raid event such as this represents is the growing diversity in motorcycles and the motorcyclists willing to ride just about anything, anywhere, for a little thrill and maybe a lot of glory. Check out these dynamic images by motorsports photographer, Justin W. Coffey, to inspire yourself to ride outside the box, like the fellas he featured.

Photo Gallery

Baja Rally 2017: KTM 950 Super Enduro

Baja Rally 2017: KTM 990 Adventure

Baja Rally 2017

Baja Rally 2017

Baja Rally 2017

Baja Rally 2017

Baja Rally 2017

Baja Rally 2017

Click here for full race results list of the 2017 BAJA RALLY.

Photos by Justin W. Coffey

Author: Kyra Sacdalan

Kyra is a freelance journalist and author, as well as the co-creator of WESTx1000 a multimedia company that creates content for the adventure community. Conceived in a coin-op laundry room in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, what started as an excuse to ride dirt bikes in Baja has become a portal into the lives of two authors, photographers and cultural anthropologists. Whether they’re documenting the infamous Baja 1000 off-road race, crossing the country on a pair of Indian Scouts, investigating Japan’s eclectic motorcycle culture, or riding their dual-sports from Barstow to Vegas, the idea stays the same…

Author: Kyra Sacdalan

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5 thoughts on “Baja Rally 2017: Rally Racing Gets Bit by the ADV Bug

  1. This looked like a fabulous event. When I saw the article show up in my feed reader I was a little disappointed in the substance of the article. I was really hoping for more on it. It’s a little thim.

    Maybe interview or have someone who was a competitor or attendee write something?
    No need to publish this comment, I’m not a hater either.

    • Hey Mike!

      I appreciate that you took time to read this article. To be honest, my words were really more of a catalyst for the plethora of images which were created from the rally. And the fact that you want more information is a great thing!

      Maybe if someone encourages our editors at ADV Pulse to publish a more detailed story, I can give you all the insights I know (and then some). Better yet, we can conduct an interview.

      Nonetheless, I know ADV Pulse’s intention is to give you the news, info and insights you, their readers, are looking for. So it’s not a hard sell… Rob Dabney, any thoughts?

      • Thanks Kyra! I certainly didn’t want to bash you and I hope it didn’t come off that way.
        I’m a big fan of the site and read each and every post!
        #BRAAAP! 🙂

        • Good stuff, we’ll definitely take this into consideration! Thanks so much for your comment Mike! We do love your feedback and really appreciate you making us aware of your interest in this event.


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