Portugal de Lés-a-Lés – Blessed start for thousands of adventurers!

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The 25th Portugal de Lés-a-Lés kicked off with enthusiasm from thousands of adventurers, and not even the rain dampened the desire to travel from Bragança to Sagres.

When the weather conditions are perfect it is always more pleasant to ride a motorcycle, but there are situations that are impossible to control, at least humanly, and not even the tireless members of the Mototourism Commission of the Federação de Motociclismo de Portugal are able to prevent rain, hail and thunderstorms from threatening the 25th Portugal de Lés-a-Lés that started this Wednesday, June 7th.

With the Óscar atmospheric depression bringing unwanted weather disturbances to a large part of mainland Portugal, the worst of this scenario being what has been happening, unfortunately, in the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores, the more than 2500 adventurous motorcyclists completed the first day of Portugal de Lés-a-Lés today.

In this start blessed with water carried by the Óscar depression, the organization, revealing once again the enormous added value of its experience in the realization of what is the greatest motorcycle touring adventure in Europe, quickly took the necessary measures in order to change the Technical Checks that everyone had to attend.

Portugal de Lés-a-Lés - Blessed start for thousands of adventurers!

In order to ensure the safety and comfort of the participants while the technical and documentary checks, essential for participating in this 25th Portugal de Lés-a-Lés, were carried out, the location was changed from Parque do Eixo Atlântico, a green and pleasant place in the center of the city of Bragança, to the pavilion of NERBA – Business Association of Bragança District.

Once these procedures were completed and the engines were ready to start the great journey that will take the caravan from Bragança to Sagres, it was time for the first kilometers to be covered, with the performance of the much awaited Opening Ride.

This year, the Montesinho Natural Park was the venue for the ride, to be held, precisely, at walking pace and to the taste of each one, with a total of 116 kilometers and passing through the emblematic location of the event organized by the Motorcycling Federation of Portugal.

Portugal de Lés-a-Lés - Blessed start for thousands of adventurers!

The history of Portugal from Lés-a-Lés revisited

It was, 25 years ago, the starting point of a crazy idea of 5 motorcycle clubs, connected by the adventure and the mototouristic passion. Elements of the MC Porto, Estarreja, Centro, Lisboa and Ocidente, dreamed, idealized and materialized the connection between two extremes of the continental map, throughout 24 hours ‘non-stop’.

Portugal de Lés-a-Lés was born, and from the emblematic Rio de Onor bridge it would take 120 riders on 100 motorcycles to Cape Saint Vincent.

A simple stage, but of such significance for a marathon that quickly gained an unusual dimension. National and international. To get a better idea of the scale of its magnitude, just look at the total number of kilometers covered during the 24 editions already held: 24,546 km! And that’s just during the course taken by the 27,551 registered participants, not counting the trips to and from home.

Portugal de Lés-a-Lés - Blessed start for thousands of adventurers!

Thousands of Portuguese men and women, as well as many Spanish, French, Italian, English, Scottish, German, Belgian, US, Canadian, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Peruvian, South African, Angolan, Austrian, Dutch, Romanian, Ukrainian, Polish, Hungarian, and New Zealander people were present for once in the great marathon.

But there were only four who, being at Rio de Onor, at 12 noon on June 11, 1999, repeated the dose in the following years. In all!

From the 4 sections of 6 hours each that marked the debut edition, with stops in Celorico da Beira, Picoto da Melriça, Viana do Alentejo and Cabo de S. Vicente, in a format that was maintained in three more editions, with questions and surprises to keep the animation and participants well awake.

Portugal de Lés-a-Lés - Blessed start for thousands of adventurers!

Inspired by the moto-ralis that were also taking their first steps at the time, it underwent modifications throughout the years. Adaptations in the name of safety and the growing number of enthusiasts. In 2003, Chaves received a new format, with two 12-hour stages that would take the caravan to Albufeira. In 2007, a prologue was created before the two tirades. This was a way of getting to know the starting county and entertaining the participants on the day of the verifications.

Configuration that was maintained for a decade to, in 2017, gain another stage. Three days of adventure to which was added an Opening Ride, in a formula that consolidated the largest mototouristic adventure in Europe. Both in terms of participants and the total number of kilometers traveled.

That, in 2023, in the Silver Anniversary edition of the greatest mototouristic adventure on record, is marked by the return to Rio de Onor, taking the opportunity to breathe the fresh air of the Montesinho Natural Park.

Stay tuned to www.motojornal.pt to follow closely all the news from the two-wheel world and with particular interest in this Portugal de Lés-a-Lés that is already on the road.

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