The Great Malle Rally is a test of rider and machine held over six days and five stages. Starting at the tip of southern England, the goal is to make it to the north of Scotland, having plenty of fun on the way. Harley-Davidson invited Jeremy to join them on the 2021 Rally and ride one of their Street Glide Specials.
When Harley-Davidson UK invited me to join them on the Great Malle Rally, I was excited. I had read about the event and the adventures of those fortunate to participate. As I discovered, many people on this Rally are repeat entrants; they love the event that much. Due to logistics, the number of riders is kept to one hundred, and be warned, the tickets do sell out extremely quickly.
Before I describe the Rally, I will tell you about the company who organised it.
About Malle London
Malle was founded in 2012 by two British designers Robert Nightingale and Jonny Cazzola. They wanted to create something that didn’t exist; Malle was initially born out of a need for a robust and refined piece of motorcycle luggage. Passionate bikers, they rode classic bikes and required bags that fulfilled many requirements. Large enough to fit plenty of kit in, strong enough to withstand the pressure put on bits strapped to motorcycles and completely waterproof. Putting their heads together, they designed the Malle.
In French,’ Malle’ roughly translates to Trunk or Tool Chest; when asking a French family member what the word meant to them, they said it was “The essence of travelling in style, prepared”.
Jonny and Robert found that if they wanted a bag designed for global travel by motorcycle, it must be weather-resistant, lightweight, dirt-resistant, and highly durable.
Passion for transportation drove the momentum to create the first Malle. The two designers then looked at other products they could produce to meet the requirements of Motorcyclists who want the best. Malle London believes they do manufacture the finest luggage and clothing for travellers.
The Great Malle Rally 2021
The simple premise of the Great Malle Rally is to ride from the tip of Cornwall through England, Wales and Scotland. You Complete the tour in the north of the Highlands after five stages. Sounds easy, but the organisers plan the Rally to avoid main roads and seek out the most scenic routes.
On the Sunday before the first stage in Cornwall, all entrants gathered at the basecamp for registration. Here you get your Rally Number to attach to your motorcycle, and you get your all-important log book. You also get allocated your tent and meet with the person you are sharing accommodation with.
During the evening meal, how to complete the stage is explained, and you are issued your riding companions to form a team of similar style bikes. As I was on a Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special, I was placed with three other Harley owners.
The First Stage started at the Lizzard in Cornwall and saw us hammered by winds and rain all day. Progress was slow due to conditions, and by the time we entered the Cheddar Gorge, my group had been riding for about eight hours. We did have a couple of breaks along the way at scheduled locations.
When you reach the break location, one rider from the group takes the Rally Log Books from all members and gets them time-stamped. All the Rally is not a race; it features a degree of timing to get participants focused on riding to a schedule. We finally finished at a beautiful campsite after riding the last leg of day one through the scenic Gorge. Here are tents were already erected and bedding laid out, and our Malle race bags ready to collect.
The excellent support crew carry the Malle bags for each rider in vans, so riders don’t have to put the kit on their bikes each day. There is a whole host of the crew, from tent and bag organisers to fully trained Mechanics. In the unfortunate event of a breakdown, the Mechanics can assist and get you going or even transport the bike to the next campsite to work on it there.
Stage Two took us into Wales, riding through the country from the south to the north. Passing through the Brecon Beacons and then the challenging roads around Snowdonia National Park. We ended the day in Cheshire at a fantastic Castle grounds.
On Stage Three, we took in the majesty of the Lake District with lots of epic riding. The roads are tight and winding through the National Park, but what a rush you get travelling them. The day ended with swimming in Lake Windermere, which was so refreshing and much needed.
Travelling from Winderemere on Stage Four heading ever further north, we rode to Kelburn Castle. An estate on the west coast of Scotland, it has so much history and stunning Geography.
We left Kelburn on Stage Five, heading to Torridon. A beautiful area in the northwest of Scotland right on a loch sharing the same name. Plenty of amazing scenes to take in on the journey and destination. The loch was fantastic to swim in and cooling on the tiring muscles after an adventure.
I had a fantastic six days riding the Rally and must thank Harley-Davidson UK and Robert of Malle London. The Street Glide Special proved the ultimate bike for touring Great Britain with its superb riding position and a supremely comfortable saddle.
The bike was also highly agile for something that looks so big, but its low centre of gravity enables you to flick it around and get great lean angles when cornering fast. Things I appreciated when some days I was riding for eight hours. I would recommend the Great Malle Rally to any Motorcyclist as it is so special. The organisation is professional, and all crew are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
I made friends with many like-minded bikers, and we intend to meet up soon. The experiences you all go through bond you; you are all adventurers, so feel a kinship. If an event can do this, then it is well worth the cost of entering. You can’t put a price on friendship.
Malle London – Where and How?
Malle also holds an annual gathering of like-minded people for their Malle Mile event. Bikers enter their machine in one of many classes to race the mile-long course in the fastest time. Held over two days, there is much more than racing with music, displays and plenty of adventures.
Entry costs vary depending on the packages chosen; for more information, please visit Malle’s website, https://mallelondon.com.
The images used in this article are courtesy of Shane Benson for Malle London.
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