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ADV NewsChris Birch Nabs Impressive Finish at Hellas Rally on KTM 790 R

Chris Birch Nabs Impressive Finish at Hellas Rally on KTM 790 R

 KTM demonstrates race potential of new 790 R with Chris Birch at the helm.

Published on 05.28.2019

The 2019 edition of the Hellas Rally Raid saw a little less than 200 competitors take on a 1,200km adventure in the mountains of central Greece. Opting to enter the week-long event on the potent twin-cylinder KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, Birch went head to head against a number of racers on all kinds of enduro machines.

Putting in a consistent run in the opening stages of the race, the KTM ambassador and racer Birch made full use of his vast experience to climb up in the overall rankings as the race went on. Crossing the finish line on Sunday with a total race time of 27 hours and 39 minutes, Chris was thirty minutes behind overall winner Leonardo Tonelli.

Chris Birch takes on Hellas Rally 2019 on KTM 790 Adventure R


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Earning fourth in the event’s overall standings, Birch dominated the M6 class for twin-cylinder motorcycles over 660cc. Topping the class’ standings by more than seven hours to second placed Alberto Ballardin, Birch lead an all-KTM podium with Oliver Bassi finishing third in the class.

With his 4th place finish, Chris Birch demonstrates the great potential of the new KTM 790 Adventure R in real rally racing conditions. He even surprised himself, mentioning that he never expected to get this kind of performance from an adventure bike.

Chris Birch takes on Hellas Rally 2019 on KTM 790 Adventure R

Chris Birch takes on Hellas Rally 2019 on KTM 790 Adventure R

“I’m stoked. I never expected to be able to go this fast on an adventure bike. I’m very happy with 4th overall and with the win in the Adventure bike class. Ever since I rode the prototype KTM 790 ADVENTURE R my eyes were set on racing this cool new machine. It’s an amazing motorcycle and it’s taken me a while to learn how to explore its vast potential. The places we went in this race were incredible. From remote mountain passes with stunning scenery to enduro-styled trails in the valleys. The low point for me was losing my navigation gear for almost 250km and being forced to ride in the dust of other riders. Luckily the mechanics from the Kini Red Bull squad did a great job and fixed the issue at the next service point. Overall, it’s been an amazing experience racing the big bike in Greece and I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Hellas Rally Top 15

Hellas Rally 2019 Final Ranking

Note: Official roster document above from Hellas Rally erroneously lists Birch to be from AT. Chris Birch is from NZ.

Photos by Actiongraphers/Hellas Rally

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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8 thoughts on “Chris Birch Nabs Impressive Finish at Hellas Rally on KTM 790 R

  1. Awesome job Chris! That 790 Adventure R is certainly the real deal performing fantastically on street and dirt! After reading some preliminary ride reports on the Yamaha 700 Tenere, the cost savings may not be enough to justify it over the KTM 790’s.

    • That’s a screenshot straight from the official Hellas Rally roster. They have him erroneously registered from AT. See note above.

  2. Cool, Birchy now being Austrian made me top kiwi in the race with a measly 3rd in the lite class. (Or perhaps it was because I was the only other kiwi)