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ADV VideosHere’s What It’s Like to Race a KTM 790 R In the ‘Ultimate Race’

Here’s What It’s Like to Race a KTM 790 R In the ‘Ultimate Race’

Riders race on the ragged edge, hellbent on winning glory and a KTM 790 R.

Published on 05.03.2019
The Ultimate Race highlight reel is live, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the six days and five stages of KTM’s inaugural owners event held alongside the epic Merzouga Rally in Morocco.

Make no mistake, this was a full-on race with riders – all non-professionals who had prequalified during KTM Adventure Rallies – on the ragged edge and hellbent not only glory, but the grand prize of a 790 Adventure R bike and a VIP experience for two during the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

KTM Ultimate Race on 790 Adventure R

While the concept is similar to BMW’s GS Trophy, this video drives home the contrast, with the KTM riders left on their own to navigate complex waypoints via mechanical road book instead of trailing behind marshals at predetermined speeds. During the highlight video you see one rider fire up his 790 to a bright TFT display that shouts “Ready to Race,” a true juxtaposition to the #NOTARACE stickers BMW officials had applied to its factory-supplied R1200GSs ahead of the 2018 Trophy event in Mongolia.


We all know by now it was 50-year-old Scott Meyers of Wildomar, California, who took the win, but still fun to watch him and the other eleven competitors clean and dry musing about the race to come, then see them nearly unrecognizable for the grime and sweat at the end of each stage, all big smiles and stories about blood-soaked goggles and the biggest headers ever.

KTM Ultimate Race on 790 Adventure R

“The Ultimate Race is fantastic,” says Canadian Radek Burkat who took second, “the pinnacle of cool stuff you can do on an adventure bike.” Sebastian Blum of Germany who rode to a fourth place finish could only smile and shake his head “Such, such crazy,” he laughs in the video, “Really hard.”

With KTM’s first endeavor into owner-inspired rally racing a resounding success, KTM will be offering this ride-of-a-lifetime opportunity again to anyone attending one of the brand’s Adventure Rallies on a twin-cylinder KTM adventure bike in 2019. Registration for The Ultimate Race qualifier can be achieved while booking your spot at the upcoming KTM Adventure Rally events in the US or one of the other international events.

Photos by Marcin Kin

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

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May 4, 2019 10:07 pm

Very cool. The 790 R sure seems to be a most capable off road bike!


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