Renato Zocchi claimed victory in Class 2 of the 2019 Gibraltar Race, an extreme 7,000-kilometer motorcycle rally through Europe. It was his second time joining the competition, which recently concluded its fourth edition, beating adventure-designated middleweight motorcycles and placing seventh overall — on the Honda X-ADV maxi-scooter. Meanwhile, Allan Alistair won Class 1 on a BMW HP2 Enduro and Mark Kinnard won Class 3 on a KTM EXC 500 Rally — bagging first and second place overall, respectively.
Renato Zocchi #17 and his 745 cc Honda X-ADV managed to beat the other endurance riders on Class 2 (601 cc to 950 cc) adventure bikes such as the KTM 950 Super Enduro, KTM 790 Adventure R, KTM 690 Enduro, KTM 640 Adventure, KTM 660 Rally, Husqvarna 701 Enduro, and BMW F 800 GS Adventure. This was a big win for Honda and a great accomplishment for Zocchi, who renewed last year's challenge of fielding the X-ADV crossover maxi-scooter, which has been nicknamed the “two-wheeled SUV.”
The amusing factor of awesomeness in entering a maxi-scooter in such a demanding event has not been lost on Zocchi. “What most represents my feelings aboard this incredible medium is the word ‘funny’. Many would never imagine it, thinking of a sort of challenge to run with something that nobody would have chosen to do a race like this, and instead guiding it side by side with the single-cylinder and twin-cylinder enduros, the 'feeling' is just that: fun!” said Zocchi.
While Zocchi's X-ADV was specially outfitted for the task, the crossover maxi-scooter proved as reliable, rugged, and capable as any high-tech, purpose-built adventure bike. The Gibraltar Race is a serious test of endurance for both man and machine. The 2019 edition took participants on a 7,000-kilometer route which was divided into 14 stages and stayed open to public traffic. The raid entailed a varied mix of terrain — asphalt and dirt roads, difficult and rocky mule tracks, river crossings, and mud and grass sections. Riders could choose to sleep at either hotels or in their own tents. This year’s Baltic-Atlantic event began in Gdansk, Poland then passed through the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and France — ending at the Cape Finisterre Lighthouse in Spain. The entire affair was held from June 21 to July 6, 2019.
Renato Zocchi is an accomplished off-road rider with a Pharaohs Rally win under his belt as well as multiple successes in Dakar and the Baja 1000. As a motocross racer, he’s won multiple national championships in Italy and third place in the world championship. Here is what he has to say about his experience at the 2019 Gibraltar Race:
"Last year at the Gibraltar Race I had a great time. Carrying out such a long raid with a maxiscooter, even if as exceptional as the X-ADV, was very demanding, but it gave me some very strong emotions. Only Honda's technology and reliability made it possible. This year the 14 stages have been very varied and often also selective. Taking advantage of last year's experience with X-ADV, this time I was able to take advantage of its strengths even better.”
“Compared to 2018, this year we have made some additional changes to the X-ADV, to increase the height from the ground and make it more suitable for extreme off-roading. For this year's event I had an X-ADV 2019, equipped with advanced electronics compared to the first model, that is the G mode of the DCT gearbox, the traction control on two levels, and a greater extension of the engine, which makes it even more powerful on off-road.”
“Engine and chassis are standard. A high-performance SC-Project exhaust system has been installed and the suspensions have been adjusted for extreme off-road calibration with Öhlins by Andreani Group components. The tires are Anlas Capra X, the perfect mix for long distances on the road and off-road, mounted on Bartubeless wheels. The project to raise the X-ADV structure was studied by Rollfactory and all the modifications were carried out in the Honda workshop of the Moto Macchion dealership in Legnano, where Stefano Lucenti carried out and coordinated all the work, with the care of a real racing department.”
“For clothing I chose again OJ with whom I found myself very well in all weather conditions, which in these races vary from 2 to 50 degrees. For my safety I am always loyal to Arai, with an X4 Tour, and for navigation and shooting photos and videos I was equipped with Garmin, GPsmap276Cx and VIRB camera, which allowed me to publish all the updates on my social profiles.”
“A special thanks to Honda Motor Europe - Italy, who still believed in me, supplying me with a new Honda X-ADV and supporting me in the best way. I feel really part of a team, and seeing Finisterre's lighthouse as a winner this year confirmed it!”