The Gravel Rally 2024
Sectors & Courses
The Gravel Rally pits you against multiple sectors, 8 of which are timed, along a course that has to be tackled within a single day.
Each sector will require a different racing ability, from leg-shredding road climbing to technical forestry riding, gravel sprints and fast rolling descents, The Gravel Rally will reward the all-rounder who pushes their boundaries the furthest.
How it works
Each rider will be provided a timing chip and their total aggregated times for each of the dedicated sectors will give us a leader board.
Road transition stages are not timed and competitors will be able to use these as a chance for a brief recovery before hitting the next sector.
Transition - Stage 1
The first stage of The Gravel Rally is a neutralised rollout along a public highway. Remember to obey the Highway Code at all times and say “hello” to your Gravel Rally Clan mates, savour this moment, it’s about to get grippy…
Sector 1 – RPT’s Wry Smile
Riding from the shelter of the Conwy Valley and up into the desolate Carneddau, Sector 1 will more than warm the legs with its brutal, expletive-provoking barbaric climb. Welcome to the Pan Celtic Gravel Rally.
Transition – Stage 2
A brief respite, catch your breath because here comes…..timed Sector 2.
Sector 2 – Bec’s Breaker
With the ascent behind you, the first taste of gravel, delivers the riders into the belly of the beast - Eigiau. The first mountain sector takes rally riders past remnants of the failed dam to the right, before swinging left to meet a stunning panorama as gorgeous green lane goodness meets wheels. Continuing on to the ‘Black Pipes’, these colossal behemoths of engineering ingenuity act as a constant backdrop and draw riders along the ridge of the mountains, delivering them to Cowlyd, the deepest lake in Wales, sitting majestically at a height of 1,164ft.
Transition - Stage 3
Cowlyd’s backside sees the route return to tarmac as the gradient gets a little spicy once more. Be mindful of sheep and their lambs and don’t forget to say, “BAAAAA”. Enjoy the summit and its breathtaking views out across the valleys and prepare to scrub both elevation and brake pads, descending Cowlyd is both demanding and technical in equal measures. Strictly no racing here.
Sector 3 – Proper Mally’d It
Following the route from one valley to the next, we return to gravel and our first forest stage. Hemmed in by thick pine, the assault on the senses continues, stunning vistas of Eryri emerge, as the route flows, leaving riders rallying past lakes and descending into the next transition.
Transition - Stage 4
Mind the gate and freewheel down to the Ugly House before coming to a complete stop. Take care crossing the A5 and remember to obey the Highway Code at all times. You are representing ’The Clan’ and good manners and sensible riding are a must. Enjoy the chill and get ready for Sector 4.
Sector 4 – Gone Further
This next sector opens with the most technical ascent of the rally. Once rideable, recent flooding has washed away much of the gravel and stone, to reveal a jagged underbelly. Despite being relatively short, this skill-demanding climb will see only the most abled stay on two-wheels as most turn to 2-feet and hike-a-bike. At the top, the Rally enters the plain between Siabod and Cribau. A fast hardpack, strewn with mysterious sacrificial puddles, the trail whisks the riders to their second forested section and a first taste of true rallying conditions. Wide forest roads carpeted with gravel provide a fast adrenaline pumping section, rich in nostalgia of rallies gone by.
Transition - Stage 5
A brief stretch of tarmac on a Public Highway into the village of Dolwydellan, leads the rally to the ancient Roman road Sarn Helen. This history-soaked highway is a literal passage through time. Beware of motor vehicles and obey the Highway Code. Take particular care when riding through the village. The saviour we have come to know as Spar, can be found here for those desperate to re-supply.
Sector 5 – Albion Ritual Route
Entry to the forest at Cwm Penamnen takes the Rally to areas not often visited. A fast gravel forestry road leads to a 2nd technical ascent, where again the very skilled will be tested to keep their feet on pedals. Reaching the top provides the best views of the entire course and an ultra-fast descent will leave smiles wide as whooping riders can be heard echoing across the valley.
Transition - Stage 6
A relatively long transition stage that provides Riders with an opportunity to soak up some miles and steel themselves for what’s to come. The A470 is a fast flowing main road, as always please obey the Highway Code, ride appropriately and be respectful of others. Prepare to turn right across traffic and onto the longest of the timed sectors.
Sector 6 – Vapour Trails
The longest stage of the Rally has the riders starting on the hauntingly fairy-tale-like Lledr Valley trail, where skill and focus honed from the preceding stages will help navigate this enigmatic opening. From here, the forest roads of Penmachno and the roar of WRC cars still echoing through the trees, will give the riders the purest taste of rallying at its best. The answer to the question of why we ride bikes, can be found here.
Transition - Stage 7
A super brief stretch of tarmac on a Public Highway. Beware of motor vehicles and obey the Highway Code. Take particular care when crossing. A village shop can be found here, providing that all important coffee and jelly babies.
Sector 7 – No Mystery There
The forest Sectors keep coming as the rally enters Gwydir. It’s easy to get lost in the interior of this dense woodland with precious time lost, navigation is a key skill to winning a rally and concentration will be tested as weary minds falter. Wide roads hemmed in by thick woodland make this feel close and personal. With a sweeping, switchback finale, littered with technical aspects, this white-knuckle frenzy could be make or break.
Transition - Stage 8
Another brief transition stage, whisking the rally over the famous Pont y Pair bridge in Betws-y-Coed and up into the spectacular Gwydyr forest once more with its towering Douglas Fir trees. Beware of motor vehicles and obey the Highway Code. Take particular care when crossing and watch out for the jumpers.
Sector 8 – The Chief's Last Hurrah
A rally in North Wales couldn’t happen without visiting the world class trails of the Marin. Expect some technical single track, fast descents, spectacular views and full-throttle descents. With this being the final timed sector of the day, this could be the point in the rally where champions are made.
Transition - Stage 9
Good things come to those who wait and this transition stage does just that. Cruising alongside the stunningly beautiful Llyn Crafnant, the smell of barbecues, a chance to take a dip in the cool fresh water and that sweet tune of a can of beer being opened will wash over the tired rally riders. A devilish descent into Trefriw brings us to our final climb of the day… just remember that Toby wanted you to ride all the way to the top!
Transition - Stage 10
It’s as fast as you dare go. Blink and you ’ll miss it. A mix of gravel, hardpack and a little Welsh slate thrown in for good measure. The hill you just climbed will be a distant memory as the adrenaline kicks in. That’s it, the best is behind you and that bottle of cold beers lies just 10 minutes away. The memories of the day will start to wash over you as you wonder….” how did an 80-mile ride take me so long to complete”? The Gravel Rally makes no apology. It’s a big day in the saddle.