Off-road weekend to remember: Wade Young defended Xross Challenge throne


What a weekend full of the best off-road experience! The sixth edition of the Xross Challenge race is in the books and it is going to be the one to remember. Around 130 riders from 14 countries accepted the challenge, and Wade Young (23) took the victory again, which was somewhat expected, having in mind that he is one of the best extreme enduro riders in the world. During 3 days riders had to tackle around 200 km of tracks full of tough obstacles and challenges, and contrary to earlier years – sun and good weather accompanied them throughout the whole weekend. Besides the race, the first BMW Motorrad Adventure Ride for adventure bike riders also took place – which completed this off-road weekend at Tara mountain.

Stone bridge that riders had to pass on the last day of race / Photo: Bogdan Kosanović

Let’s sum up the impressions. We are happy that this year, alongside our friends and long-time riders, we had so many new riders who came for the first at Xross Challenge and the race met or exceeded their expectations. Those riders came from Russia, Poland, Slovenia, Austria, and other countries, and few days before the race they took Xross enduro tours around Tara mountain in order to meet the terrain. However, they rode on the part of the mountain that has not been ridden on the race. The first day of the race was Friday when riders went on a 50 km long classic enduro ride and later, 32 best of them entered the Akrapovič Super Test that was quite the spectacle for the audience. Wade Young was the first on the race and on the Akrapovič Super Test, while Matija Zec and Teodor Kabakchiev were fighting for the second position. You can read the details and see more photos from Day 1 – HERE.

Miha’s creek was a huge challenge for the riders / Photo: Vladimir Mladenović


Saturday was the toughest and the longest day at Xross Challenge. The riders had to go on a 90 km hard enduro ride in the through the wilderness of Tara mountain. There was no rain or mud, the race was fast and very dusty, but the challenge was huge. The notorious uphill – the Mousetrap was once again the toughest obstacle on Day 2, and a lot of riders needed help from the audience to get their bikes to the top. Wade Young came first through the finish line, Teodor Kabakčijev and Maciej Loboz followed. BMW Motorrad Adventure Ride that we have organized with our long-time partners Delta Automoto and Delta Motors also happened on Saturday. Around 70 adventure bike riders participated in this ride that led through some of the most beautiful parts of Tara mountain. In their own words – it was good enough to raise the adrenalin and wake up adventure spirit. After that, they had the opportunity to test their agility on the Honda polygon and also to get some good advice about off-road riding from experienced instructors. Check out photos and read impression of the riders about Day 2 – HERE.

The audience was cheering for the riders / Photo: Vladimir Mladenović

On the last race day at Xross Challenge the riders had shorter, but the technically difficult track that was troublesome even for the most skillful riders. Famous Miha’s creek was super hard, even Young had some troubles on rocks, but the audience was cheering for the riders giving them an extra atom of strength to keep on riding. As expected, Wade was the first rider who crossed the finish line of the race in the old quarry. He won the race once again and defended his Xross Challenge throne from last year.

Unstoppable: Wade Young won Xross Challenge, again / Photo: Attila Szabo

“I  had a good weekend, being first every day. I really enjoyed Day 2 in the mountains – the longest day, it was really good and challenging, that was probably my best part. Throughout the race, there were definitely some challenges, like Miha’s creek and the Mousetrap on Day 2, but I had no technical issues and I had a smooth race all around so I enjoyed all the challenging parts out there. I really enjoyed the Xross Challenge and racing with the GPS. By racing with the GPS you know that you are on the right track, and there are no issues with the markers and stuff like that, and also we had a tracker in the backpack so people around the world could follow the race very easily. Everything here seems really well organized, according to plans. The tracks were very good, challenging on some sections, but in some places, the long grass wasn’t really good, but yeah, the tracks were hard enough to test you and challenge you, but everything was rideable. I am happy to take the win overall at the end of the race” – said Young, the second rider who managed to won Xross Challenge twice in a row. Before him, Philipp Bertl from Austria did it in 2016. and 2017.

After Young, the second rider who managed to the finish line in the old quarry was Matija Zec. However, because he didn’t have good results on Day 2, he took third place on the podium, while the second place in overall standings was Teodor Kabakchiev from Bulgaria.

PRO class podium: Kabakchiev, Young and Zec (from left to right) / Photo: Bogdan Kosanović

“I am happy with how the race turned out, I started with the second place and I manage to keep it all 3 days. The hardest part of the race was Miha’s creek I think, we lose the traction there so it was hard. But it was all right, I mean, you need to have some parts like this in a hard enduro, that’s why it’s called hard enduro – you need to have hard times. It was perfect. The tracks were good, it wasn’t too hard but I definitely felt the pressure each day. I liked the Prologue, the mountain, we had beautiful views and surroundings. The atmosphere was friendly and it is always good to speak with good riders and when they share their experience with you it is very useful, it helps a lot when riding. I think everything was perfect, definitely will come back next year” – Kabakchiev said.

EXPERT class winners: Rabar, Petelin and Zupan (from left to right) / Photo: Bogdan Kosanović

Two-times Xross Challenge vice-champion, Matija Zec ended up on the podium once again, but now in the third place.

“The last day was the best for me because I didn’t get lost like on Saturday. Also, I think the track had the best markings and the terrain was demanding. It was dry and the race was fast. On Saturday I started first, but Wade overtook the lead, and I lost the GPS signal and got lost in the woods. I couldn’t find the right track and I lost a lot of time, ended up in the 5th place. When you get lost or you crash hard, you just can’t get back to the rhythm that you had before, it deranges you a little bit. I think the competition wasn’t too hard, it’s my fault I got lost, technical issues could happen to every rider. The third place is also good” – said Zec.

HOBBY class winner: Vrcon, Juraszek and Žugič (from left to right) / Photo: Bogdan Kosanović

The EXPERT class also had new – old winner – Marko Petelin from Slovenia, he was followed by Mirjan Rabar from Croatia on the second place and Tomaž Zupan from Slovenia on the third. In HOBBY Class the best rider was Maciej Juraszek from Poland, the second was Rok Vrčon and the third Franci Žugič, both from Slovenia. In the Veteran category, it was Gorazd Krajger who took the highest place on the podium, and than Klemen Setnikar – they are both from Slovenia, the third was Stefan Schlaf from Austria. The only lady who finished the race was Tjaša Fifer from Slovenia.

Tjaša Fifer the only female rider who finish the race / Foto: Bogdan Kosanović

Xross Team would like to thank riders, partners, and sponsors who made this race possible, to the audience who cheered for the riders, and to each and everyone who in any way helped this edition of Xross Challenge race.

Prelepa Tara / Foto: Vladimir Mladenović