Dual Thu 25 October 2018

HAT - tention

Beginning of August, my holidays are about to start but I don’t have my motorcycle in mind since it’s a family vacation. Looking at the calendar of motorcycle events I’m a bit sad because I won’t get to ride my bike for at least 3 weeks and then I see it: “8-9 September Hard Alpitour” … Right! The HAT!! I can’t miss it! It’s the 10th edition …. but, it is late, it’s certainly fully booked by now.
Dispirited, I phone the editorial staff to hear how it’s going and what they are going to do during the holidays and while I’m at it I also tell them about my disappointment regarding the HAT 2018. After a bit, Pietro offers me to participate on behalf of Discovery Endual. I’m overjoyed, I hang up and run in the garage to prepare my KTM 1290 SuperAdventure S slightly in advance. It may not be the most suitable bike, but with reliable spiked rims and knobby tires I can still have fun.
The 7th of September comes and, after stopping at Pietro’s to collect the magnificent LS2 Subverter dirt helmet, I leave for Sanremo, the organization’s base of operations and starting point of the rally that will finish in Sestriere.

I reach the hotel at 6:30 pm, just in time for a shower before attending the presentation of the event.
After introducing all the sponsors that helped make this wonderful event come to life, the organization illustrates the HAT 2018, the only Enduro Adventuring event in Italy recognized by the International Federation.
This is the edition of records: 480 participants from 16 different countries; the famous lady rider Amy Hardburg coming from Australia after riding through Asia and Europe; many ex-Dakar-riders like Bruno Birbes, Aldo Winkler and Brenno Bignardi who kicked off the rally at midnight with the Extreme category; the youngest participant of all editions, only 10 years old; Mario Ciacca who participated in all 10 editions; Nicola Dutto, champion in life and on the bike, who teaches us that life is a gift and must be lived even through difficult times.
As already stated, the HAT is divided into 3 categories that have different itinerary difficulties and lengths: Extreme – 900 km; Classic - 580 km, the one I chose; Adventuring – 480 km, that sees a very large number of women participating, a tangible testament that enduro is not a male “thing”.
The icing on the cake of this edition is the world premiering of the Yamaha Tenerè 700 prototype that will be rode at the HAT by none other than Alessandro Botturi.
My category leaves the following day at noon and a few minutes later I’m off too with two travel companions.
There are all kinds of bikes, some purposely outfitted and I start worrying about my choice of bike. Furthermore, my backpack is filled to the brim, including a sleeping bag, to be prepared for any mechanical or oneiric circumstance.
The road climbs towards the mountains heading for Sestriere and soon enough we are off-road.
The trail isn’t that easy, but my K does just fine even if its weight is a bit much.
The kilometers rapidly go by immersed in the magnificent nature of Liguria and Piemonte.
While I’m finally going at an excellent pace, I feel that something is wrong in the back; I lower my eyes and see that the tire pressure light is blinking a bright red indicating that the rear tire pressure is low.

Nooo, why now?!?! Dispirited I immediately stop consoling myself that with what I have in my backpack I could take on a thermonuclear war …
Besides, a group of Tenere 1200 stops and the riders help me fix the tire. I take off with them and at a good pace we reach the afternoon rest stop.
After I thank them grateful for their help, I keep going to try to catch up with my travel companions who are ahead to get a head start with pictures and videos.
The road gets more and more beautiful, partly retracing the salt trading route. The town of Limone, where we will have dinner, gets nearer and nearer and the desire to reach our destination asap increases.
After a series of downhill jumps I’m on the tail of a group of slower bikes. I got the hang of the track, so instead of waiting for the trail to get wider, I decide to rapidly pass them on the grassy shoulder. Big mistake!!! The grass hides a ditch and I’m thrown off. The slow riders, sneering, and rightly so, stop to help me lift the bike. No damages except for the windshield and my hand. It really hurts, but I am almost in Limone. Escorted by the riders, I get to the rest stop where a doctor is waiting for me and where I discover that even one of my travel companions had a mishap hurting his shoulder. The doctor says that the last phalanx of my left index is probably broken, and my thumb sprained … it’s my clutch hand.
While I eat I put ice on my injured hand; my mishap mate and I decide to try to finish the rally even because looking at the map it seems easier from there on.
Refreshed and rested we leave around 2:00 am
The trail confirms to be easier than before and offers breathtaking landscapes as the Assietta, that we wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Sestriere welcomes us at 10:00 am and I’m really satisfied despite a swollen and hurting hand.
I grab something to eat and rest before heading back home where my wife is waiting for me to have my hand checked.
7 more hours on the road and I’m home, wiped and dirtier than ever, but overjoyed by the wonderful experience that confirmed my conviction that motorcyclists are great because we are all friends even if we do not know each other.
My congratulations to the organizers of the HAT because it didn’t miss a beat, supplying all the support needed.
This is an event I highly recommend for the beauty of the itinerary, the landscape and the friendliness of participants.

P.S. (ER): broken left index and left thumb!

Text: Fabrizio Guido
Photos and video: Fabrizio Guido e Gianclaudio Aiossa