Going extreme for charity: Pol Tarrés helps boost the work of Riders for Health

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Pol Tarrés is a trials world champion, and in recent years has switched to extreme enduro and rally raid, where he can be seen online doing incredible things on a Yamaha Ténéré 700 adventure bike, things that to the average rider just shouldn’t be possible.

His talent on two wheels is awesome, but this year, there has been more to his riding than racing to the finish line of events including the Tunisian Desert Challenge, Red Bull Romaniacs and the infamous Erzberg Rodeo.

In 2022, Yamaha Motor Europe partnered with Riders For Health, powered by Two Wheels for Life, to raise €100,000 to help replace a fleet of life-saving AG100 motorcycles in The Gambia, in which nurses ride to hard-to-reach communities to deliver vital healthcare.

Pol Tarres

Win Tarrés’ Ténéré!

The Yamaha Motor For Riders project has been spearheaded by the official Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, which have been raising money for Riders For Health by giving fans the unique opportunity to win the official Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid ridden by Tarrés and teammate Alessandro Botturi via a once in a lifetime prize draw.

So, ahead of October’s Africa Eco Race (15-30 October) which is next up for Tarrés and the team, we sat down with the official Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team rider to find out where his talent came from, the 2022 season so far, advice for new off-road riders, and why the Yamaha Motor For Riders project is so special.

Where did your love for two wheels and adventure come from?

PT: My love for riding came at about six years old when I would ride dirt bikes back home in Spain. My uncle Jordi Tarrés [seven-time motorcycle trials world champion] was also one of the best trials riders in the world, so motorcycles run in the family! My whole life has revolved around either riding or working on bikes.

Pol Tarres jumps his Yamaha Ténéré

You’re one of the most skilful riders on two wheels. How did that happen?

PT: Well, my father realised that I had some special talent from an early age, so then he pushed hard to teach me and help me improve riding bikes. Then, when I was about fourteen or fifteen, it was my first year as a professional, I then made my way up by working, training and pushing hard every day until now, first with trials and now with enduro and rally!

Was it always your ambition to be a professional rider?

PT: Yes, of course! Riding has been my life’s work. Everything that I do is around riding motorcycles, nothing else.

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team is new for this year and you’ve already completed the Tunisian Desert Challenge – how was that, and what was the most difficult part?

PT: This is a project that is still very young. This is normal, but we need to prepare better the bike, the team, and also me because I’m completely new to rally raid! It has been difficult to learn the new bike and the navigation, but I’m still working hard on that. And Yamaha are also working hard on improving the bike, too. The Africa Eco Race is next, and we will be ready.

Pol Tarres slide

Have you been learning lots from your teammate, Alessandro Botturi?

PT: Yes, of course. He has a lot of experience in rally raid, so he’s tried to teach me as much as possible!

The Africa Eco Race is this month – what are your expectations, and what are you most looking forward to?

PT: At the moment, it is like a dream! But it’s amazing, so I will try to enjoy this moment. Our mission for the race is making it to the finish line, that is always number one priority. Of course, we want to push to be in the top positions, but we can’t forget that the mission for the team and Yamaha is to complete the race. It will be amazing if we can do it.

You’ve been recovering from injury recently, how are you now and will you be fully fit for the Africa Eco Race?

PT: I broke my shoulder just over one month ago, it is not easy as the recovery time is usually three months. But actually now, I feel good, I feel strong, but I still need to be careful in case I have a crash. But overall, I am okay and I feel ready for the Africa Eco Race.

Pol Tarres wheelie

You became the first ever rider to race Erzberg’s main event and reach checkpoint 17 on a twin-cylinder bike on board the Yamaha Ténéré 700 – an adventure bike isn’t the obvious choice to compete with at Erzberg, so what was it like?

PT: In my life, I’m always trying to reach a new goal, so with my crew we decided to do something crazy. We competed at Red Bull Romaniacs on the Ténéré and I performed well in the extreme enduro, so the next step was to compete at Erzberg. So, I called the team boss to tell him that I wanted to race on the Ténéré 700. As it’s usually ridden on enduro bikes, he said ‘Pol, you’re crazy but it would be amazing and we support you!’. So we did it, and broke the record to become the first rider to reach checkpoint 17 on a twin cylinder motorcycle. But, we didn’t reach the finish line, so next year, we will go back and try to complete it!

You have a habit of making history on the Ténéré 700 – what record would you like to break next?

PT: The next one I am already planning in my mind! But the first one will be to finish the Africa Eco Race this month on the Ténéré 700, which will be a new record as no one’s reached the finished line on a twin-cylinder motorcycle before. Something else I am planning is to go back to Argentina to reach a new altitude world record for a twin-cylinder motorcycle. [Pol currently holds the record riding his own Yamaha Ténéré 700 to an altitude of 20,203 feet].

For someone who wants to become the next Pol Tarrés, what advice would you give them?

PT: It is not easy! You need to dedicate your life to it, and nothing else. No parties, no skipping training, nothing. Everyday you must train, and push one hundred percent all the time. I get up at 6am to run and finish my training at 9pm, I’m always trying to improve and get better, so you need to put in the work. But when you do, you can achieve amazing things.

Pol Tarres training

What’s the one piece of advice you would give people who are riding off-road for the first time?

PT: Just enjoy it, and don’t try to be fast. It’s not easy to understand the terrain, so just enjoy the experience. For me, when you are off-road, it’s something completely different. You are up a mountain for example, enjoying the views and your surroundings and you can take it slow and have fun. It’s totally different to riding on the road, so if you haven’t, give it a go for sure.

In your opinion, who are the best riders in motorcycle sport? – MotoGP, enduro, super cross, rally raid, trials or another discipline?

PT: For me, I have a lot of respect for all of the top riders in all of the disciplines. It is not easy to be the best in any of those, like MotoGP, motocross and all of those guys, and I have so much respect for them. But for me, the best riders in the world come from trials, and I think it’s the most technical.

Yamaha Motor For Riders project

Pol Tarres on his hard enduro bike

Riders For Health are title partners of the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team. Can you tell us a bit more about the partnership between Riders and Yamaha, and why is the Yamaha Motor For Riders project so important?

PT: I think Yamaha and Riders For Health are doing something very nice together, and I am glad to be involved to work to help people in Africa and to live in a better world by helping to raise money for the Riders For Health programmes. We might not be able to change the world in one month or one year, but we need to start somewhere and I think we need more projects like this to help people less fortunate.

The Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid that you’re riding is a special bike, and there’s a prize draw to win it! What makes it so special, and why should people enter the prize draw?

PT: Wow, I mean for me it is like a dream bike! The time the team has taken to build this bike with all of the special parts, it really is amazing. There are only three or four in the world, so it’s super special, and if you are the winner of this bike it will be something crazy. It’s unique, it’s like winning a MotoGP bike!

You can find out more about the Yamaha Motor For Riders project and to enter the official Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid rally bike here.

This page is a free example of the amazing content MCN Members get every single week. Becoming an MCN Member gives you full access to all of the bikes, the behind-the-scenes stories, news exclusives, racing insight and invaluable advice – right in the palm of your hand!