Inspiration: Interview

Handling a Tiger in the desert

Julien Welsch's verdict

FTR Bio:, Julien Welsch AKA Razerback

Years Riding: 8

Stunt Bike: Triumph Speed Triple

Biggest Fear: Losing


Like The Three Musketeers driven by a constant pursuit of injustice, a trio of the world’s best riders landed in the spice-scented heat of the desert with a foe to tame.

But there would be no clashing of blades here. The only metal that mattered in the unforgiving, aromatic heat of this battle would be the motorcycles.

In sweltering heat, their ‘weapons’ would need to conquer 10 diverse and utterly remorseless terrains, all hand-chosen by the team.

No ordinary band of brothers this though. Boundary-breaking stunt riders Julien Welsch, Manny Nieto and Ernie Vigil were in Morocco… on business.

Triumph stunt rider Julien was putting the marque’s 2015 Tiger XCx to its sternest test yet, filmed by his celebrated drifter buddies for a rally-style Icon Raiden video.


2015 Tiger XCX

After one week, 1,000km, sand to dust, rocks to water, valley to peak and lush green to arid terracottas, his condensed adventure was complete.

And his verdict will be music to the ears of riders in search of an intuitive and versatile motorcycle capable of mastering any challenge.

“It’s a bike for all seasons and I have to be honest, I really did rag it. We wanted to see what we could get out of it – and then some more!” said the French thrill-seeker.

“We didn’t change anything on the bike, just used it out of the box and it was absolutely magnificent.”

The acclaimed throttle mapping, ride by wire, and traction and cruise control options ensured a seamless transition whatever the landscape and however harsh the treatment.

The adventure, filmed to showcase Icon Raiden’s new range of sport bike gear, sees office-bound Julien – hardly likely – escaping the humdrum of routine to find thrills.

Julien said: “Usually, when we’re doing a video we travel to the location, ride and then travel again to a new location, but Morocco had it all so I stayed on the bike and the support crew followed us and filmed as we went, which made for some really authentic footage.

“Ernie and Manny were fully kitted up with cameras and they knew the kind of stuff I could do before I did it, so they got some great shots. It really was good teamwork, but the bike made it easy.”

As a door creaks wide from suburban France into the wide-open wilderness of the desert, so it begins.

After two days in Marrakech, the party moved south to the city of Ouarzazate, and the mayhem and magic of the Medina gave way to 48-degree heat and the fresh challenges of the towns on the Sahara’s edge.

“The light was absolutely incredible, the best in the world, and so good that they do loads of filming there. We went to the studio where they shot Game of Thrones,” said Julien.

“We rode the Tiger through streets, through the dust and really pushed it with slides, jumps and turns, and it performed like a champ on and off-road. It’s definitely the most versatile bike I’ve ever ridden.”

But however impressive the bike’s performance was, it was not the most unforgettable aspect of the trip for the stunt trio.

Julien said: “We turned up in crazy places and villages with no electricity but where the children ran out to see us with smiles on their faces. Money, technology and possessions – none of it mattered to them.


They just cared about life and living it, and that taught us all a lot.

2015 Tiger XCX