It’s May 2023, and Belgian rider Thierry Sarasyn is at it again—or rather, he was. On Friday, May 19, 2023, Sarasyn set out from the triangular border of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia on a very specific, thoroughly planned journey. The goal: To visit 15 European countries in under 24 hours on his Kawasaki Versys 1000. If he succeeded, he’d break the previous world record that he’d set just a year prior, when he visited 13 countries in under 24 hours on an MV Agusta Turismo Veloce.
The whole thing started as a bit of a joke, according to Sarasyn. In June 2022, he set out to break Valerio Boni’s existing world record for most countries visited by motorcycle in 24 hours. Back in 2021, Boni visited 11 countries in 24 hours on his MV Agusta Turismo Veloce, traveling a total of 2,003 kilometers (1,244 miles) along the way. In 2022, Sarasyn officially upped the record to 13 countries visited in just 19 hours and 43 minutes—but only traveled 1,808 kilometers (about 1,123.4 miles) in the process thanks to geography.
For some riders, accomplishing such a feat might have been enough—but some riders aren’t Sarasyn. With so many tiny countries to make the geographic possibilities favorable, he set his sights on just two more countries than he’d previously visited. He also set another rule for himself: He would set this record while simultaneously obeying all speed limits and traffic rules in the countries he visited.
Gallery: 15 Countries in 24 Hours: Thierry Sarasyn
While some people might have done something like this to raise money for charity, or for some other reason, Sarasyn told Dutch news site Nieuwsblad that it was motorcycling itself that he wanted to draw attention to. As he explained, there are a lot of negative misperceptions about riding—including issues of noise and safety. He wanted to show the positive aspects, such as fuel economy, not getting stuck in traffic (or contributing to traffic jams), and getting a bit of activity into your life.
Just like his 2022 journey, Sarasyn used Legend Tracker to keep an official record of his progress and time spent on the road. When he finished his 2023 journey in the Netherlands on May 20, he’d completed his personal challenge in just 22 hours, with two hours to spare.
The total distance traveled was 2,200 kilometers (or about 1,367 miles), and he visited the following countries, in order:
- Czech Republic
Partnerships with Kawasaki, Motul, and Bridgestone undoubtedly helped him along the way. A big part was also Sarasyn’s careful planning, which involved isotonic drinks, NASA astronaut food, and Immodium to keep hydration and nutrition maximized and toilet needs minimized. He also kept extra fuel on board, in order to avoid long lines at filling stations—but of course, he had to refuel along the way. When he did so, he also made sure to eat, drink, and use the bathroom to keep himself awake and present in his journey.
Congratulations to Thierry Sarasyn on his latest record-breaking riding achievement, and we hope he rests well and satisfied with his accomplishments.
Sources: Kawasaki Nederland on Instagram, Thierry Sarasyn on Legend Tracker, Nieuwsblad, Moto Station