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Cross Country Rally on a Beta 500 RRS

Season 6

15 December 2022

The adventure will continue. That's one thing that's certain. My endeavors around the world have merely just begun! But every now and then, I've come to realize, I enjoy engaging in other motorcycle activities. 

Racing a rally

After finishing my Patagonia to Alaska journey, I immediately started preparations for new solo adventures. Those preparations were mainly focused on fixing up my bike after all the abuse it had suffered on the way to Alaska. I decided to do all this work on my bike in Alaska, and then ship a brand-new rebuilt bike to my next destination. This had several advantages for me, but also one big disadvantage: it takes ages to get motorcycle parts to Alaska. 

I didn't particularly want to wait for 6 weeks in Alaska for these parts, right during the onset of winter. So when I heard about a cross country rally that I could race (in a warm climate!), I didn't need much convincing! This would be the perfect opportunity to train, learn new motorcycle skills and gain experience on a light, enduro bike. Skills that will undoubtedly come in handy when I'm on my own again in the middle of nowhere. 

Riding a new bike

The bike of choice for this rally was a Beta 500 RRS. Admittedly, it wasn't really a choice though. I knew I needed to rent a motorcycle for the race, and didn't really care what bike it was. Is it terrible to admit I'd never even heard of the motorcycle brand Beta before? So when the organizer of the rally told me I could rent this bike if I wanted, I agreed. Because I am not a sponsored rider, I am free to ride whatever motorcycle I want, and show the good, the bad and the ugly! 

Knowing myself though, I tend to quickly fall in love with the motorcycles I ride, and it wasn't any different with the Beta. What an incredibly powerful beast and an absolute joy to ride. The sound, the handling, the power - I loved it. The love for the 500 RRS soon changed into a relationship in which trust was an issue. In the short time I rode the bike, I encountered several issues. I found myself stranded on the side of the road several times too. 

My feelings about the bike

Situations that had never happened with my Honda and they made me appreciate my Honda even more. The distrust in the bikes reliability made me not want to ride it on my own in the wilderness. I only felt comfortable when I had other riders near me. For me as a solo rider, this was a very strange notion and I'm glad I never have this feeling when I'm on my round-the-world travels!

But when there weren't any issues, the Beta was just flying. I've never tackled harder terrain with more ease than with this bike. Because it was so easy to handle, I could focus my attention on deciphering the roadbook. For the first time in my life, I was trying to navigate by reading a roadbook. That means either a digital display or a paper scroll mounted on your handlebar, with graphic depictions on where you are supposed to go. Quickly understanding which way to go, while also riding as fast as you can - it's a huge challenge. I think I need all the training I can get! 


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It was so exciting to watch you gain so much experience, even though parts were harder because of injury. You certainly showed the world what grit you have. You go girl!

Debbie R.  | 

Thank you, as always, for sharing your adventures. I’m very excited that you finished the rally so well. Also, minor injuries are inevitable and I’m glad you were able to ride on and finish despite the severe bruising you incurred. Can’t wait until the next adventure begins! Ride safe.

Willy’s Performance Cycle Center  | 

who is mandy

ron garth miller  | 

Norlay, are you planning on racing Dakar this year, if so what is your number i would like to follow your progress? You have inspired me to take some time while I'm searching for a new job to finish making my Honda CRF250L street legal again.

KB3NZQ  | 

I watched your progress in the rally. I have ridden some of the desert runs in AUS and they really take a lot of mental and physical effort. Riding is hard enough but you did it with a roadbook as well and worked through muscle pain!! I really think you are a very talented motorcyclists. I like your videos and voice overlay which is very interesting and at a very professional level in my opinion. More videos please. M

Mal  | 

I continue to be inspired and can’t wait to see you next video. I am a bit anxious about the leg injury and I can see your were really hurting. That amount of bruising makes me feel it is a torn muscle, but I certainly pray I am wrong. I know how much you enjoy all of this and we love seeing you do it. Heal fast, and keep it up. You certainly live my motto, “this is not a rehearsal”.

JRod  | 

i did watch your ride with my billen samengeknepen. amazing what you do,i drive all my life but good not do what you did . i hope the injury is not a long turn problem, go for it girl, we ( millions i think ) will keep on following you
greetings from an old (75) dutch canadian.

simon 160  | 

@ Christmas dinner “ so how are your friends doing?
Me:” oh Norlay is doing great, she just sent me a video!”❌⭕️❌⭕️❌⭕️

Geralddrz  | 

Ignore the jerks, your are an inspiration!

Im an old guy with tons of experience, i follow and support women in riding ( and in general) why?
They’re honest! They get scared, they lose confidence, they question their choices, as they should, but they share these emotions so we can all go “ its not just me”
The men think they are all VR46!! ( not into bikes? Google it.
You have taught me so much, thanks Noraly

Geralddrz  | 

Been a fan since ainforst found you on Youtube.
You've got guts and obvioulsy insane or can handle pain. When I saw you down..Seen the medics trying to figure out your injuries..then you got back I just fell in August..a severe collar bone rehab now. Heal my dear!

Rap/Fjr1300  | 
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