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ADV RidesTouratech DirtDaze 2019 Was Rally Good – Here’s Why

Touratech DirtDaze 2019 Was Rally Good – Here’s Why

ADV Riders descend on Pomfret, VT for a weekend of fun and great riding.

Published on 09.19.2019

Touratech and DirtDaze joined forces to create the Touratech DirtDaze Rally 2019. By creating a powerhouse team, they managed to pull off a ton of value for Rally goers. Like bringing on OEM’s for demo rides, organizing multiple group rides, having onsite rider training, an obstacle course, and making sure post-ride entertainment was on point. 

Taking two separate rallies and combining them in a new location sounds tricky on paper, let alone in practice. So when the location came up as Southern Pomfret, Vermont, my initial reaction was “are you sure?”. I was worried about the location change as scouting and route planning for these events can be a real bear of a task, and Southern Pomfret isn’t exactly listed as a top ADV destination. 

A Little Back Story

I’ve been to the Touratech Rally East 2015-17, in Huntingdon, PA. There was no Touratech Rally East for 2018. Touratech insisted they had big plans for 2019 (I was skeptical) and they needed an additional year to put it together. I was also at the DirtDaze Rally in 2018 up in Lake George, NY. 


Both events were ok, but at the Touratech Rallies I had my own GPS tracks for “the good stuff.” At the DirtDaze Rally in 2018, I hooked up with a pretty aggressive ride leader who also happened to be the local Beta dealer and ended up riding some great private property. But in the end, my experiences weren’t the same as everyone else’s, they were “special.” 

No “special” treatment this time. Instead, I joined the ranks and signed up for the guided rides that were available to everyone else. The only variance would be that I’d go ahead of the ride leader and video some of the group as they went by and then play catch up after that. Wait, let’s back up just a bit. 

Showing Up

Touratech DirtDaze Rally

I arrived late on Thursday, and the TT/DD Rally was well underway. Before I even got to the Suicide Six Ski Resort (Base Camp), eight-time National Enduro Champ and KTM pro rider Mike Lafferty pulled up to an intersection while leading a Demo ride. He held up a finger (the middle one) as I waved the group ahead. I think it was to tell me he was in first gear.

Check-in was standard procedure with the DirtDaze staff leading the charge on that with the invaluable Touratech volunteers wearing high-viz Rally shirts. Don’t worry about not knowing what to do, where to be, or when to be somewhere at these types of events. Between the volunteers and other riders, you’ll have a hard time not being pointed in the right direction.

The Community

Speaking of other riders, and being pointed in the right direction. I brought a complete noobie with me, Cassandra Ficacci, who had zero dirt experience. So I asked a fellow rider who had done “The Ridge Ride” (the toughest group ride) what it was like, and if a noobie would be ok riding it on a KTM 250 EXC. He replied with a fear-induced stutter, “Oh no, no, no, don’t do that.” 

Off to rider training for my ADV noobie then. Suicide Six Ski Resort (S6) let Dragoo Adventure Rider Training (DART) build an extensive and challenging obstacle course right in their front parking lot. With water crossing, log piles, a sketchy teeter totter, simulated rock garden and even the entire mountain at their disposal. I knew rider training would be invaluable to anyone taking it. I’m also a graduate of the Bill Dragoo’s training school and can officially declare their teaching methods are second to none. 

Touratech DirtDaze Rally water pit

I, on the other hand, loaded up my (personal) brand new Triumph Scrambler 1200xe and hit “The Ridge Ride” with some very high-level riders. Where the DirtDaze and Touratech Rallies of the past left skilled riders looking for more, the TT/DD Rally had some people looking for a less aggressive way out. 

The Rides

Catching air while blasting over rocks and water bars on “class 4” roads (unmaintained 4×4 only trails) was the easy part of the hardest ride available. As soon as we left the road, we went straight into a downhill rock section that would have been hard enough on its own. Follow that up with a couple of hundred yards of cross-rutted-footpeg-deep-black-mud from a week’s worth of rain and well, things got interesting. 

Touratech DirtDaze Rally Trails of Vermont

At this point, I was sure ADV noobie Cass was learning the things needed to survive being thrown in the deep end on a ride like this. While the riders in my group that needed a little help treading water got assistance from the rest of us. That’s the thing about these group rides. We’re all in it together and no one is left behind. 

By signing up for a group ride, you’re set up with a lunch mid-day. Local businesses are relied upon to cater to riders and depending on which ride you’re on; you’ll be eating in a small town shop you might typically ride past or even at another ski resort. At this point, I dropped back from group one to group two to ride with different riders and friends. 

It turns out group two was all dirt bikes, and the lead rider was on a KTM 500 with Jack Penton graphics on it. The rest of the ride resulted in me boiling over the Triumph on a massive, almost never-ending hill climb. Then, almost immediately after we re-filled the Scrambler with water from my camelback, said ride leader put a rock through my radiator guard and radiator! 

Touratech DirtDaze Rally Triumph Scrambler 1200

We were riding at a pace lets just call north of 80mph. JB Weld to the rescue and a couple of bottles of water later and we were headed back to camp. Again this is the benefit of riding in a group. I was out of water and didn’t have any JB Weld of my own with me. 

Pulling back into S6’s parking lot after a full day of riding and minor adventures, I decided to see the guys (Josh and Tobin) running the DART training and things must have been going great. Cass (the noob) who was signed up to take one, 4-hour intro class ended up graduating to the intermediate course (8 hours of training total in back to back classes) and looked no worse for wear. 

Saturday’s ride was more of the same, but I brought along my ADV Noob for the “Vermont Ski Resort Run” which was labeled as the second most difficult guided ride, but more relaxed than the Ridge Run. Besides the mud of the Ridge Run, the Ski Resort Run was just as difficult! Talk about being thrown in the deep end, which speaks to the quality of training from the DART instructors. One small “get off” after a mud hole/standing water crossing during the day but no other reportables. She not only survived but also pushed the pace of some less-skilled riders and even impressed an A-level woods racer on a 790R. 

Muddy conditions and great trail riding

Post Ride

After a massive day of riding and pushing yourself to your limits, Touratech and DirtDaze put together a ton of post-ride activities for rally-goers. I don’t know if you know this, but I won the slow race. After 5 pm, the obstacle course was open to all and S6 opened up a slalom grass track on the ski slope that went all the way to the top on a few different trails. 

Touratech DirtDaze Rally slow race

Ernie Vigil was there giving a talk about his recent 5th place finish at the Mexican 1000 on a Triumph Scrambler 1200xe. I gave a talk about how to choose the right adventure bike which turned into a great round table discussion and to cap off the event. The BackCountry Discovery Route people were there talking about the upcoming North East Coast BDR.

The Not So Good 

Other than the shower trailer almost catching on fire and only cold showers available on Saturday night, and the food could have been better (or more options), there weren’t many other hiccups, and I’m not surprised. Touratech has a rock-solid staff, and the DirtDaze crew were able to focus on putting on a stellar event since they got away from Americade. 

In The End 

Touratech DirtDaze Rally camping

I’d expect the Touratech DirtDaze Rally to double in size and popularity next year on word of mouth alone so make sure you buy the ticket, sign up for the guided rides and take the vacation. See you guys out there.

Author: Steve Kamrad

Steve has been labeled as a “Hired Gun” by one of the largest special interest publishing groups in America. His main focus now is video content creation as a “Shreditor” (thats shooter, producer, editor all in one nice, neat, run and gun package). If he’s not out competing in a NASA Rally Race you can find him on the East Coast leading around a rowdy group of ADV riders. Some say Steve_Kamrad has the best job in the world but he’s not in it for the money. He’s a gun for hire that can’t be bought and that’s the way we like him.

Author: Steve Kamrad

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Scott Hop Along Henkels
Scott Hop Along Henkels
September 19, 2019 5:13 pm

Glad to hear Cass had a great experience, would love to hear more about it. I’m the chap that had to give up the spot; she was the first to accept it after asking about a dozen other riders. Pretty to cool to see her pop up on Advpulse!

September 19, 2019 5:36 pm

Oh that’s amazing! Such a small community. She really had a blast. The 250 makes it a little easier than it should be but we ended up doing those harder rides and even a klr 650 would have been a massive handful. I’ll tell you said hello and thanks again man. That was really generous of you.

Robert Broderick
Robert Broderick
September 24, 2019 11:17 am

Living in mass and I thought I kept up on all moto stuff in the area but this slipped by me . Big fan of VT riding . Was there much advertising ? Will be watching out for next year . Sounds like it would be more fun for me (63 ) on my KLX250 than my 1K Vstrom .

Jim Hofer
Jim Hofer
October 18, 2019 2:18 pm

Please read with a good-natured tone as a motorcycle buddy would.

As part of group two I must contest your description of the pace. (We were riding at a pace lets just call north of 80mph) As our group pace was severely hampered by the introduction of “new” rider and his fancy 1200. Nice pictures of the hole in that radiator, what I’m just a hand model now.

There were many different types of rides to cover most riders style. Not just us, the harder the better “nuts”.

A slower pace with out KTM 500,640s BMW 800, and over powered KLR650 xr650l from the 90’s. is what Steven needed. As I see no action shots of our DUAL SPORTS not the (It turns out group two was all dirt bikes) you write about.

The four riders I came with to the rally with had mixed reviews. Two of us had a great time. The others felt there ride and other small details needed work. This being the first year at S6 some things will improve.

My high lights.
Ridge Ride ( Till that contest steeling weeble wobble showed up.) Yah I saw that act.
Training course / track
Hill Climb
Demo Rides (short lines)
Vendors ( some could not even sell and still showed up, VT tax thing.)
Small amount of people ( I think the sign up was limited)
Things that need work
Food ! (It was bad) Need Hot meals for longer hours
GPS tracks (more)
On site Repair/ tire change (Did anyone get a hole in something ?)
Training track bigger and get the logs to stay in place

No, I do not Know Steven, He just keeps showing up at the East coast rides.
Not my XR in the END picture. To clean.
Inside scope here (Jack) my have a PB500 in March 2020.
Did there advance class this month on my DUAL SPORT XR650l not the KTM 350 dirt bike.

Jason Howell
Jason Howell
December 30, 2019 6:27 pm

Nice article. Missed the race to tickets this year but will be on the look out for next year. Could use more excuses to get the dual sport out and get muddy.

June 6, 2020 1:48 pm

I’m brand new to DS riding in Southern Vermont, hope to catch this and other similar events someday. Is there an online community of DS/ADV riders in Vermont?


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