Migration Gravel and The Rift are among six existing gravel events across Europe and South Africa which will pull together for a new circuit in 2023, the Gravel Earth Series. Klassmark, promoters of the circuit, announced the series as a way to maintain “the essence of gravel” for some of the most unique off-road events on the international scene.
The series will begin April 29 in Girona, Spain with The Traka 360, which last year saw Mattia De Marchi take the victory over Lachlan Morton on the men’s side and Marion Dziwnik winning the women’s category. A concluding seventh event, the Earth Final, is yet to be announced and is expected to be held in late October or early November, which will be a month following the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships, set for September 30-October 1 in Italy.
Participants in the series will earn points at each event, with the final standings based on the top two scores of the circuit, plus the score of a seventh event. The finale does not require qualification and is open to any participant.
Overall winners will be crowned for individual male, female and non-binary categories. Organisers will also recognize top finishers in Under-23 and several Masters age divisions if there are a minimum of five participants in each category.
A rating system developed by organisers will divide events into three categories, taking in factors such as the difficulty, total distance, elevation gain, and “prestige of the event”. Riders in each category with the fastest times of the first six races will receive top points ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 points, determined by the event rating. The scores of the rest of the finishers will then be set by a system that organisers are developing that factors in the number of participants in the event. The final event has a top score of 18,000 points.
“All of them must promote gravel in a positive way, inspiring the community throughout the territory. The result? Six countries and six events with different itineraries and formats, plus the Earth Final,” was the description of the series made by organisers in a media statement. “The tracks of the Gravel Earth Series promote remote areas little visited by the general public to find genuine contact with the Earth.”
After the series launches in late April at The Traka, the next stops are six weeks later with back-to-back offerings in France and Kenya. The Nature is Bike Gravel Festival in western France has a new 200km course with timed sections on June 18. Migration Gravel Race in Kenya runs from June 20-23 with four stages spanning 650km.
The lead-off event in the heart of the summer is Octopus Gravel on July 2 with 155km across the Swiss Alps. July 22 is The Rift Gravel Race across Iceland, with its signature remote landscape that includes lava fields and a rugged 200km route. A stop on August 12 will be in Sweden for the 180km Bergslagen event, which is one of five events that are part of the Nordic Gravel Series.
Klassmark, based in Girona, Spain, has organised environmentally-friendly sporting projects such as trail running and off-road cycling events for the past 12 years. Among the six of seven events disclosed for the inaugural season, Klassmark operates The Traka.
Gravel Earth Series 2023
- The Traka (Spain) – April 29-30
- Migration Gravel Race (Kenya) – June 20-23
- Nature is Bike (France) – June 26
- Octopus Gravel (Switzerland) – July 1
- The Rift (Iceland) – July 23
- Nordic Gravel Series: Bergslagen (Sweden) – August 12