Serres Rally 2015: best edition ever!
7 days on the mountains… It was a fantastic week! A week full of action, navigation, Rally, enduro, fun, friendships...
The bivouac at the Elpida Resort and Spa, magnificent as always, hosted 80 participants from around the world. Among them great names in the field of Rally, with more than 20 experienced participants having to their credit numerous entries in the Rally Dakar.
The race began on Sunday with the prologue of 16km in the region of Rachovitsa with the Czechs Karel Scheder and Ondrej Klymciw making an impressive surprise, showing speed and intentions! The Italian Roberto Zanetti followed by the Australian Llewellyn Sullivan-Pavey and last year's winner Andrea Cosentino completed the first five positions. A small but technical day, which spread the time gaps of the top riders.
The 2nd day, was basically the great start to the race, with 2 specials stages of 106km each, in Vertiskos and Krousia mountains near the lake Kerkini, and a total of 300 kilometers awaiting the participants. Again, the Czechs Karel Scheder and Ondrej Klymciw share wins in the special stages, greatly increasing their lead in the race. Third climbed the Dutchman Frans Verhoeven, with the Italian Sandro Calesini 4th leading Roberto Zanetti. Soft dirt and mud, fast and slow, was the setting for the stages with the Lake Kerkini and the dense forest of Thessaloniki providing the perfect backdrop.
The 3rd day of the race was almost 300 km, the first Marathon special of 250km around the mountains of Lailias. This day found Frans Verhoeven picking up the pace and finishing 1st with the Czechs following, while Andrea Cosentino manage to rise to fourth place overall. Sandro Calesini fell back behind the 5th placed Roberto Zanetti while the Dutchman Jasper Riezebos and Llewellyn -Pavey followed closely behind. The Dutchman Robert Van Pelt Jr. was unlucky and had to loose time due to a technical problem. Wonderful weather, and an inspiring journey, with several amazing trails...
The 4th day of competition was a small game of Enduro navigation on the Bosdakas Crossing, at an altitude of 2.000 meters, where after 25km the riders ended up at the Menikia Lake for a small catering. A total of 100 kilometers but a demanding special, finds Ondrej Klymciw the winner in front of the Italian Enduro rider Giancarlo Moscone and Frans Verhoeven. Small variations in general standings, with the 6th position going into the hands of Riezebos. Wonderful scenery overlooking the tops of the mountain giving you the feeling that you are on the moon...
The 5th day was the longest of the race a 300km stage to Paranesti, which was the riders’ next bivouac. After a fantastic piece enduro in Lailias, next in line was Nestos River and the Rhodope Mountains to the Kara Dere, giving us a new first place winner: Robert Van Pelt managed to pull in front of Verhoeven and Zanetti. Without upheavals in the general classification. An adventurous day full of emotions, surprises and kilometers to arrive at a magnificent riverside place for camping with barbeque, guitars and Greek traditional music.
The 6th day was essentially the continuation of the previous, with a circular 86km special stage under the Virgin Forest of Paranesti. Winner and again was Van Pelt followed by Cosentino 2nd and Zanetti in 3rd. The next stage was a liaison dirt path to the Drama and from there a return to Serres after 250km. A virgin forest, forest logged roads with easy navigation and absolute driving fun were the elements of the 6th day
The 7th day that completed the Serres Rally 2015 was essentially a thoroughbred enduro track, only for motorbikes, 95km of dirt trails, off road passes, and technical pieces of medium difficulty, the kind of stage that leaves you wanting more was to make a fulfilling epilogue. Another victory for Karel Scheder with a Husqvarna FE 450, 2nd was Ondrej Klymciw with a KTM Rally 450, completing the race in 1st and 2nd overall respectively!
In 3rd place overall in Serres Rally 2015 was Frans Verhoeven with a Yamaha YZR 450 F, while fourth position was Andrea Cosentino with a KTM 450. 5th place was the 3rd of last day Sandro Calesini with a KTM ΕΧCF 350, while Robert Van Pelt with a Husqvarna TE 450 moved up to 6th after Roberto Zanetti and Jasper Riezebos abandon the stage on the last day. These riders were also the first of the largest class B (-450).
Winner in large motorcycles Class C2 was the Austrian Kreidl Ferdinand with a KTM 690 Rally with an impressive appearance and ending up 9th overall! Further back, the Englishman Paul Sumner and the Slovak Vladimir Obona both riding a KTM 690 LC4.
In the “small” category A (250) was finally won by Giancarlo Moscone with Yamaha after the misfortune of Roberto Zanetti with Honda who fell to 3rd place on the last day. Among them, the Englishman Chris Barwick with a KTM In the category C (450+) winner was the Slovak Anton Zboran with a KTM EXC 500, followed by his compatriot Martin Benko and the British Graham Jung – same bikes…
Finally, the 6 day race for the Quads, winner was once again the Czech Josef Machacek with a Yamaha Raptor 900, leaving 2nd his compatriot Martin Plechaty with a KTM E-ATV 690 SM. 3rd was the Dutchman Rene Van As with a Barossa AAM 650. We also had one beautiful girl in our company, as Susanne Kohlbacher on a Husqvarna FE 450 finish the Serres Rally in her 2nd attempt!
In Veterans Class, Giancarlo Moscone won, with Roger Hawkins and Chris Barwick on the pondium. It was a powerful 7-day action in 4 counties, 10 mountains, 3 cities, 7 lakes ... An adventure with a happy ending for all, leaving strong memories and excellent impressions. The race of 2015 was the best Serres Rally so far, raising the bar even higher, and giving a promise of an even better version next year.
As race organization, we would like thank all the riders for their presence, their participation and their kind words. They give us the strength to continue! A big thanks also to the sponsors and the people that so many years help and supported our race. Take care…
Save the date for 2016: 28/8 – 3/9 2016. The 6th edition!