THE MOUNTAIN RALLY – SHORT DOCUMENTARY FILM

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RALLY

The Mountain Rally

Short Documentary Film

100 motorcycles, 2000 km, 6 countries in 6 days, Austria to Monaco. Riding across every highest road and highest mountain pass in each Alpine territory. With a long distance endurance Rally adventure, you need to push your limits and push your boundaries, but you come back a better person.

Film By Bristow Films

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Film maker Charlie Bristow joined the Malle team for The Great Malle Mountain Rally, to document the longest motorcycle Rally ever attempted across the entire Alps mountain range, from  East to West and North to South. His short film tells the story of the annual ‘Mountain Rally’, which starts in Austria, 2000km through 6 Alpine countries in 6 days, across every highest and greatest mountain pass in each Alpine region and then completes at sea-level in Monaco.


Each year the Mountain Rally attracts 100 custom, classic and rare motorcycles/riders from around the world, who throw themselves into the Mountain Rally challenge. This year saw highly custom Harley-Davidson Pan America and other new and old classic Harleys, custom Royal Enfield 650’s, Norton Commandos, custom 1980’s Dakar BMW’s and many stock Triumph Scramblers, BMW R9T’s etc. Each road rally stage is approximately 300-350km per day, with 5 Rally checkpoints in each stage and Marshalls timing. Being a road rally, speed limits must not be broken, The Malle Marshall team know the precise timings and for each minute early or late the rally teams lose a point, meaning a winning team at the end of each stage and an overall winning team.

350km a day on a custom motorcycle may seem straight forward. But throw in the highest roads in the highest mountains in Europe into the mix. With unpredictable mountain weather, where skies can turn black in minutes and warm valleys soon turn from 37C to 5C at the highest passes of 2770m. The Mountain Rally soon becomes an endurance adventure, where the teams main focus is to complete the stage, look after their team mates (some of which only met for the first time at the start-line in Austria) and enjoy the greatest motorcycle riding in Europe, arguably, in the world.

Charlie Bristow was documenting the event from 3 wheels, strapped into a Malle Rally Spec. Morgan Super 3, meaning he could get closer, lower and amongst the Rally teams as they all crossed the Alps.

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“For that one week we get to escape the world, we just ride and ride and with a long distance adventure like The Mountain Rally it becomes so mediative, body and machine become one and your mind gets into this flow state.”


We asked Malle founder and Rally Marshall Robert Nightingale why they host the event; “On paper it sounds like a very strange idea. strapping 20L of petrol between your legs, then setting fire to it slowly as you embark on the largest game of hide and seek across the entirely of the Alps Mountain range. But when you find yourself 2500+ meters up on the side of a mountain, in some remote Rally checkpoint, staring across snow cap peaks, downing strong Italian coffee and swapping rushed stories from the Rally stage before, with a load of motorcycle obsessed friends from all over the world; from Mexico, USA, Australia, Sweden, France, Germany, Britain, Japan etc. the camaraderie is like nothing else! All of us in it together, working towards one single goal, to get every man, woman and motorcycle across that finish-line with as much fun and adventure as possible.

For that one week we get to escape the world, we just ride and ride and with a long distance adventure like The Mountain Rally it becomes so mediative, body and machine become one and your mind gets into this flow state, taking on 57 hair-pin bends back to back, pure concentration, but you really get proper time in your crash helmet to think. Then to see the Alps through the eyes of new riders each year is amazing. When riders from downtown Los Angeles or Tokyo see some of these tiny rural places, it can be pretty mind-blowing”.

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“Then as we hit the lake on the valley floor, the cloud gave way slightly and I got these amazing shots of the final team all coming into camp. Riding above the clouds is something pretty wild.”


The Great Malle Mountain Rally takes on all of the well known mountain passes like Stelvio, Furkha, Splugen, Gotthard, San Bernardino, Col d’Iseran and Passo Rollo, but also connects many much lesser known roads and Alpine passes. we asked film-maker Charlie Bristow if he had any favourites. “The famous Passes like Stelvio are great, most people just do the famous hair pin bend section on the South side of Stelvio and then go back down the same way again. But if you carry on to the ‘dark side’ of Stelvio it becomes really wild, huge Alpine forests that go on forever, they reminded me of Canada, really beautiful.

Then when we were coming down the Maloja pass, we just caught the golden sunset at the top, nearly all of the Rally teams were back at the Rally Camp by then, but as the film team we’re usually the last ones in with the Malle Marshall/Engineering team, supporting all of the teams. We were coming down to Maloja, suddenly as we turned the bend, there was this huge perfectly flat sheet of cloud, maybe 500m thick in the valley. As we ploughed into the thick cloud layer beneath us, temperatures and visibility dropped dramatically, blindly following 3 of those custom Malle Rally Royal Enfields in the cloud, following the distinct sound of the exhaust pipes to navigate the way. Then as we hit the lake on the valley floor, the cloud gave way slightly and I got these amazing shots of the final team all coming into camp. Riding above the clouds is something pretty wild.”

Several custom motorcycle builders also join The Malle Rally team, with Alec Padron from Revival Cycles and Calum Pryce Todd from deBolex Engineering, Calum has been the lead Rally engineer for 7 years now, we asked Calum what’s the Rally experience like?. “I feel really privileged to be a part of the Malle Rally crew, it’s one of the best weeks of the year, where I finally get out of the workshop and to really ride bikes. There are always mechanical challenges and very little sleep, but a big highlight for me was the 2022 Mountain Rally where we had two of our custom bikes on the adventure, dB25 No4 and our ZRX1200R. I was heading into one of the many epic mountain passes and we were suddenly joined by Joel on his dB25. We blasted up and over the pass with back to back hair pins. Being tucked up behind Joel and watching one of our projects dancing around each bend was a really special moment.”

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The Malle Rallies also attract many classic motorcycles and Alex Coco has now completed 3 Malle Rallies on various vintage machines and this year he completed the Mountain Rally for the first time on a 1980 BMW R80/7, we asked Alex what it’s like to take on the Mountain Rally on a 44 year old motorcycle? “Well I wasn’t on the oldest bike this year, but it’s two of my favourite things: motorcycles and mountains. There’s a stillness in the mountains that you just can’t get anywhere else. Mountains make you think. One’s riding improves with every bend or switchback. Nothing feels better than the stillness of the mountains against the noise of a classic motorcycle.”

The Mountain Rally film was screened first in London. You can watch the film here or learn more about The Great Malle Mountain Rally in the Alps, or The Great Malle Rally across Great Britain, or The Great Malle Arctic Rally in 2025.


LEARN MORE about The Great Malle Mountain Rally.