HAT stands for Hardalpitour, HATseries is a calendar of events dedicated to off-road tourism, HAT Sestriere Adventure Fest is the latest born of these events, a great gathering dedicated to adventure tourism in Sestriere. Held from 28 to 30 June, it has allowed more and more lovers of this discipline to share and tackle organized routes on dirt roads in Val di Susa and Val Chisone, led by expert guides who took them on incredible scenic but accessible routes to the less experienced. And we were there.
Let’s face it: Sestriere is quite ugly, with its cylinders of cement and the fashionable shops that have little in common with the typical mountain villages. But then you look up and you see the mountains, so majestic that you understand it right away that you have to respect them. And you hear the breath, that in the hot days of this period here in the evening we wanted a sweatshirt, and on the bed, there was the duvet.
But Sestriere is also one of those biker-friendly places, where many hotels have free garage signs, and where the members of the Base Luna association, registered in the motorcycle protection civil department as a heuristic motorcycle group, as well as preserving the territory and to carry out relief work wherever it is needed, they promote this activity of adventuring using the bikes to move with the same philosophy with which once the horse was used. And it is with this philosophy that Mario Guerra, the President, will guide us to the discovery of wonderful roads and fantastic places.
Should we ever ask ourselves one day the definition of Adventoruring Paradise we would have no doubts: here it is, in this network, the largest in Europe, of about 700 (seven hundred) km of dirt roads in the Susa Valley and Val Chisone, in the district which includes Sestriere, Cesana, Monginevro, up to Bardonecchia. These roads are mostly open to traffic, at least in the summer period, which passes through uninhabited or almost uninhabited territories, and therefore not subject to the grievances of any residents, some enjoy the provincial status and as such benefit from adequate maintenance. Respect therefore for the many lovers of trekking or mountain biking that can be crossed, and eyes that are always open, that motorists also pass on those roads.
The military genius
Paradoxically, on the other hand, certain roads that are forbidden to circulation are in the worst conditions, landslides and snow in these parts do not give discounts, and being little beaten they are practically left to their fate, a real shame.
There is another aspect that makes these places a real paradise for those arriving with tiled tires: the dirt roads in Val di Susa are mostly former military roads. We are in the border area, and therefore of conflicts, since the Great War, and even before the time of the Napoleonic empire, and if we wanted to go back to the elephants of Hannibal, this maze of paths was built by the military genius. Experienced and capable people who did not have the problem of going from A to B in a straight line in the shortest possible time, but who on these lands had to transport goods, armaments, wagons, heavy stuff that needed certain bend radii and certain slopes. And here is this heritage, also historical as well as landscaped, it arrived in excellent condition up to our days.
From the first Daimler prototypes to the Panigale V4, the debate on the existence or not of the so-called total motion is still on. Let’s face it: it will certainly not be the most beautiful in the realm, but the Suzuki V-Strom is one of those toys that not only allows you to take long journeys even as a couple, it not only takes you to work or to do the shopping sneakily in the city , but, and we have touched it with hand, once gummed with the excellent Anlas CapraX it allows you to arrive in places that seen from the bottom a certain fear instilled him, for example up to the arrivals of the cable cars in altitude.
But once I learned the advice of our guides, well placed standing on the platforms, constant gas and engine in pairs, shifting the weight in the right way, it was a real satisfaction to arrive in full safety up there where the eagles fly.
The Suzuki V-Strom 650
We have chosen the 650, not so much for the lighter weight compared to 1000 (they are just a fifteen difference but we are always over 200 kg), as for a general balance and power a little less demanding to handle on certain stony grounds. That – shhh … don’t tell anyone – at a certain point they put in difficulty even someone decidedly more expert than us.
Unplug the ABS and set the traction control to a minimum, we all juggled well, with the suspension that guaranteed the right support (we heard the fork in the pack only in a couple of canals faced a little with Garibaldi), and with Nostra Signora del Tassello , the Anlas CapraX that once again turned out to be some great dirt roads, very suitable for a motorcycle that is certainly not specialized like the Suzuki V-Strom, which guaranteed excellent control both on dirt roads and on trails . The only difficulty, at least for us spilungoni over the meter Atlanta, the handlebars a little “from Graziella” and a few centimeters lower than necessary for the standing guide.
And for those wishing to refine their driving technique, we would like to point out that the 14th – 15th September 2019 will host the next edition of the V-Strom Academy, an unmissable event to learn how to make the most of the great potential of this bike’s offroad soul.
What to say, traveling at high altitude on the paths of the Mountains of the Moon that in certain points seems to fly, the look that spans 360 degrees, the mountain pasture that sells zero-centimeter cheeses, the twelve kilometers of dirt road along the spectacular Argentera valley … and nothing, better let the pictures talk.