With THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK seeing more than 2000 riders racking up a total of 1.5 million kilometers across the globe, it was Raul de la Jara who topped the rankings for the longest distance ridden. Completing more than 5000 km on his 2013 KTM 1190 ADVENTURE, the engineer from Chile had his fair share of adventures along the way. We called Raul to learn the full story…
“I’m 38, a married man, a family man with a dog. Everything is pretty normal. But the motorcycle changed my life. It allowed me to know my country and other parts of South America that just wasn’t possible with any other vehicle. It is a lifestyle.”
Raul de la Jara was one of 2,368 riders that joined THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK from July 5-11 this summer. The challenge? To accumulate at least 1,000 km in the saddle – clocked with the RISER App – and attempt a few tasks such as climbing altitude, stopping at a KTM dealer, making a ‘marathon’ 390 km stint on the way. The 38-year-old accrued more than five times that amount (indeed the top one hundred classified participants doubled the total necessary) with a 2013 KTM 1190 ADVENTURE. But the South American was lucky to be able to combine THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK with his passion and also his profession.
“For my work I have to travel a lot,” he tells us on the phone “and after a while I became bored with the routine of flights and hotels. I changed to vehicles until I discovered the world of Adventure bikes and that allowed me to explore some alternative roads and routes to visit work sites that are spread around Chile from the Atacama Desert to the furthest points of Patagonia.”
“The motivation to move and travel was professional, but it ended up being touristy!” he adds. “Chile is a very narrow country geographically but it’s very long. The capital, Santiago, is in the middle. I’ve gone from Santiago to the north and the border with Bolivia – where you can reach -16°C on the moto – to the south where I’ve entered Argentina, Patagonia and gone along the ‘Ruta 40’ in five days, riding to the last city in Chile which is Punta Arenas in the south.”
Raul’s choice of the 2013 1190 ADVENTURE raised an eyebrow but his preference for KTM came because of his desire to thread along some of the more alternative roads and paths on the way to his destinations.
“I tried a lot of bikes actually, new ones, second-hand ones and other KTMs and brands,” he explains. “KTM stuck in my heart though. Other bikes could be more comfortable for very long trips but the energy of the KTM is unlike any bike from other manufacturers. For top level performance there might be a few that are similar but for the overall feeling across many different terrains, especially offroad, then there is only one choice. You might be able to use other bikes on difficult roads, but you’ll have to be a really good rider; the KTM makes life much easier and opens possibilities for tricky trails. I really like to find alternative ways, especially when travelling through a place like the Andes.”
The photos Raul posted on his RISER profile page demonstrate his claim: rain, mud, rocks, fog, gravel roads and snow. His KTM ADVENTURE takes some punishment but there is an undoubted connection with the older 1190. “I tried the KTM 790 ADVENTURE R and it was very compact but I wanted more power for more distance. We don’t have many speed controls here – not like in Europe – so there is a bit more freedom! I also tried the 990 and the 1290 but, in my opinion, the look of the 1190 is great, especially the front end.”
“People that know me know WAW was not a big thing!” he laughs. “I love the bike and I love to reach as much of the country as possible with it. To do that, you need a motorcycle you can trust. With other bikes I was able to learn a lot about servicing and fixing problems when you are stuck on the side of the mountain! I’ve been able to count on the 1190. You also learn to anticipate any issues. I always look out for the fuel filter and things like the bike stand. You have to adapt.”
Raul did have one hitch on his travels. The Day 3 challenge of visiting a KTM dealer was well-timed. “The skid plate came loose, well, the screws,” he remembers. “I use offroad tires and the bike moves a lot more at speed on the road. Luckily, I was passing a KTM dealer that day. I paid a few dollars and got the needed screws!”
THE WORLD ADVENTURE WEEK united Adventure riders on any bike and from the west to the east and the south to the north on a worldwide scale and revealed how bikes are allowing people to move, to holiday, to discover and to challenge themselves.
“Riding at night, during the day, in the snow, in the fog, poor visibility but, really, without any problems,” de la Jara says of his experiences and, as he remarked, his lifestyle. “Also, I always joke that heated grips are one of the best inventions ever!”