Every year when much of the snow has melted, the ski slopes of the Italian Alps play host to the world’s highest motorcycle gathering, as riders come together to socialise, share stories and most importantly, tackle the largely unsurfaced track which leads to the top of the 9,872 foot tall Colle del Sommeiller.
The Stella Alpina Rally has now been going for more than 40 years and takes place on the 2nd Sunday of July annually, and this year Peterborough based Dale James was returning to Italy to take on the challenge once again along with his partner Jola.
Tackling the Stella from the town of Bardonecchia isn’t supposed to be easy, after all, the event was designed to offer riders the chance to ride trails that are often inaccesible for much of the year, especially in the higher reaches of the mountain range. However, to make things a little more interesting, Dale wasn’t riding some big tech-laden adventure machine, or nimble little trail bike, but his Aprilia Tuono 1000R – which some people may recognise from our stand at the 2014 BMF Show in Peterborough.
Dale has made a number of modifications to the bike, including a set of our proven TKC 80 adventure tyres, as used by the likes of Nick Sanders and GlobeBusters. They take him everywhere, whether it be a spot of green laning, a commute to work, or for a quick lap of the Nurburgring – and he freely admit’s he’s unlikely to go back to a pure road tyre ever again. Also at this year’s meeting was Welsh rider Lee Davies, who took his Yamaha FZ8 right to the top and back down again on ContiTrailAttack 2 tyres. Again, Lee turned his bike into an off-road machine a couple of years ago with a pair of TKC 80’s, and rarely uses anything else. However, this time he wanted to see what he could do on our most road-oriented adventure tyre – and could be seen overtaking plenty of adventure motorcycles on the way to the summit.
After finally finding enough free time to edit his footage from the event, Dale very kindly shared his footage from the ride to the top with us – so you can get an idea of what to expect if you decide to tackle the Stella yourself next time round!