Kove Wins In Tunisia

Matteo Bottini took the win home at the Swank Rally, showing the Kove 450 Rally can indeed handle the slog through the desert. PHOTO CREDIT: Kove Italia/Rally POV

Up-and-coming Chinese manufacturer Kove has another credit to their brand: The company’s riders just took home first and second place in the Swank Rally in Tunisia.

This rally certainly isn’t on the level of the Dakar or the Africa Eco Race, but it is a well-known and respected rally raid that experienced European amateurs go to. Winning there doesn’t mean you have to beat out Toby Price or other elite alien-talented racers, but you still have to bash through hot, dangerous desert for hours, and you still have to get past a lot of expert rally racers. You could perhaps compare it (loosely) to the Baja 1000.

The first-place finish in the single-cylinder class went to Matteo Bottino, who was a former European rally raid champ riding a standard Kove 450 Rally machine for Solarys Racing. Second-place went to Cesare Zacchetti, who was riding for Kove Italia, the manufacturer’s Italian importer. Zacchetti had raced for Kove Italia at the 2024 Dakar Rally and acquitted himself well there, finishing the race with himself and his Kove 450 Rally Pro in one piece. That theme continued at Swank, and he’s reportedly done nothing but routine maintenance to this machine (oil, tires, etc.) since he finished Dakar.

Results like this might seem small potatoes when viewed against the accomplishments and speed of the top rally teams. But for independent privateers who just want to participate in rally raid, the Kove’s lower price and easy availability are tempting; seeing the bikes do well in competition is just the icing on the cake.

If you were at the MMIC shows this winter, you should have seen Kove’s machines in person. The rally bikes are coming to Canada this year, followed by motocross and adventure models. The corporate message seems to emphasize affordable reliability, and they’re building a dealer network in Canada as we speak. That doesn’t mean your next bike is going to be a Kove, but it looks like, going forward, it might be a very attractive option.


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