Motology, MOTONOMAD 3 - A 7000km adventure through Chile, Bolivia and Argentina
Author: Team Adventuremoto Date Posted:13 April 2018
Adam Riemann, Mark Portbury and the most recent addition, Chris Hollis, have been at it again! The wheelie-popping-rock-hopping riders of Motology Films have recently completed a 20-day Andes motorcycle ride across South America’s Chile, Bolivia and Argentina, from deserts, to rugged high mountain passes and blizzards, while filming the third of the Motonomad Trilogy - Motonomad 3.
We’ve just caught up with Adam Riemann, on the day of his Motonomad 3 launch to fill us in on the secrets of their rides.
1. Adam, can you tell us bit about yourselves, and how you guys met?
Well, all three of us have a racing background – mostly enduro and motocross. We actually met during the Australian Off-road Championships in about 2005 and became friends over the course of many competitions throughout most states of Australia. In 2008, the three of us formed a small Aussie contingent and raced Erzberg in Austria, which is one of the world’s toughest Enduro events. Hollis was our Australian Enduro/Off-road Champion that year and dominated in Australia for many events after that. Ports was always running around the top 10 in Australia while I was pretty much the mid-packer at National Level. I did manage to finish higher than both of them at Erzberg though … but that’s more of a battlefield than your standard motorcycle race.
2. Clearly, you guys know what you’re doing. But how did these sensational filmmaking international rides begin, and what’s the driving force behind them?
It actually began through an idea I had to travel through India with my father in 2012. He was a total novice rider and we’d planned to buy some old bikes and travel around the country. It evolved quickly, we got some 150cc dirt bikes and ended up doing a 4500 km adventure into the Himalayas. I was working between all the Australian Dirt Bike mags at the time and had the idea to film the journey for a promotional DVD to cover-mount to Dirt Action magazine. The film was really popular and made me want to go bigger and better… You know, get some real enduro bikes and travel with a mate who could actually ride. So I came up with the idea to start an adventure from the KTM Factory in Austria, then ride to the most significant landmark from that point. To me, the pyramids was the ultimate challenge and so Motonomad was conceived – a 7000 km extreme adventure from Austria to Egypt with Mark “Ports” Portbury.
3. How do you arrange bikes in other countries, and do you have specific requirements or preferences? Do you ever ship your own bikes?
Well, the first mission from the KTM factory was easy to get started because we had a deal organised through KTM Australia, so we basically just rolled out of the factory in Mattighoffen with two brand new 500 EXC motorcycles. They’d organised all the licensing and carnets, all we had to do was just go through the motions at every border crossing. That film was pretty gnarly given we rode through some badlands of the Middle East, but it’s been the most successful selling film yet and paved the way for Motonomad II – Kazakhstan to Mongolia in 2015. I had two new friends join me for that ride, Scott Britnell and Hein Schwarz. That was a whole new level of preparation. We used the KTM 500 EXC model again, but modified them for long distance riding by custom building rally screens and saddlebags. We built them in Australia and had them airfreighted into Kazakhstan… don’t even ask, it’s a total headfu$%. But we made it happen and rolled on for an even bigger 9000 km adventure for part 2. After all that, I thought organising Motonomad 3 would come easier with two films under my belt, but it was a whole new level of frustration and documentation trying to import 3 motorcycles into South America. Ports returned to join me for that one, and Hollis took a year off from professional racing to complete our team for MN3 in South America.
4. What’s been your favourite place so far, and why?
Tough question. I don’t think you can have a favourite place as such because every part of the world is made unique by the people and culture, irrespective of the landscape. But if I had to just say one, then Wadi Rum in Jordan is probably the most surreal, otherworldly landscape I’ve ever seen. It’s a barren desert with huge rock formations the size of mountains. Pretty sure it’s been used to film parts of the original Star Wars, and more recent films like The Martian… it really is like being on another planet, and we rode right through it during the production of the first Motonomad.
5. Lots of people think the world is a dangerous place, but we’ve found that the more people travel, the less they believe this to be true. Would you agree? How do you keep yourselves out of harm’s way on the long and winding road?
Yeah, it’s obvious the world is a dangerous place and there are bad people everywhere, even where we live in Australia, but what most don't realise is that the majority of any population just want to live peacefully. In the first Motonomad we travelled right through the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A stupid thing to do in hindsight, but we met and stayed with very kind people who happened to be living in a volatile environment. There were many occasions we were surrounded by machine-gun-clad military, but they were very respectful to us as foreigners, as are most people. There’s no real guarantee of avoiding harm's way. Just use your wits, research the areas you intend to travel and just move forward with good intentions.
6. What are the most important items in your kit—those ‘can’t leave home without ‘em’ pieces of gear?
US Dollars. Thermal underwear and my KLIM Krois helmet of course!
Day 7 - Approaching the Bolivian border at -5° | 4000m | 5:30am
7. You guys have probably tested out quite the selection of gear along your journeys. Do certain brands stick out as better than the rest?
Well, I can’t go past KTM for starters. I’ve produced three films now using the KTM 500 EXC, and each trip they’ve successfully got us through without mechanical failure. As for the accessories, I was really impressed with Giant Loop saddlebags. We made our own for MN2, but for the recent trip across South America, we used Giant Loop’s Coyote saddlebag and they were better than I thought they’d be in terms of durability and fastening to the bike. We ride pretty hard at times and it was great to have the peace of mind that the saddlebags would sit tight through all the abuse.
8. What bikes are in your shed at home?
Haha, the only bike I own is a 2007 Honda CR250. It’s a vicious animal that keeps you on your toes, but I bought it so I’ve always got a bike in my shed between project bikes (manufacturer loan bikes). I’m currently working on some short films utilising the 2018 KTM 500 EXC for enduro, so yeah, there’s a 5-hunge parked next to the CR. I think Ports has a Yamaha YZ450F and Hollis has made a comeback to pro racing and is currently on a deal with Suzuki Australia to ride the 2018 RMZ450.
9. For the novice filmmaker, what camera, equipment or editing software would you recommend to document their rides?
You can’t beat any of the Canon SLR cameras. I’ve still got my first HD film camera, the Canon 5D MkII, which has been all around the world to film the entire Motonomad Trilogy. Get GoPro helmet cams, as they’ll handle anything and are the least glitchy with best quality footage.
10. Plenty of people see this and want to do the same, but lack the confidence or knowledge to take the leap and go for it. What suggestions or advice can you give others to do what you’re doing, and get out there and explore?
Stop talking about it, just go. You don’t need to be the best rider or have the best bike, just dream up a small adventure and do it. There’s no better feeling than riding off into the unknown with only what you’ve strapped to a motorcycle. Start small, then once you’ve completed a small weekend adventure somewhere, your confidence and experience could evolve to take you around the world.
Cheers Adam for sharing some MotoNomad insight with us. Today we are all very excited as they release their MOTONOMAD III video today!
Watch the epic Motonomad 3 trailer!