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Silk Way Rally: Rally officially cancelled - "Nobody wants to visit Russia now". | 23.04.2014


Sealine Rally Qatar: Stage victories for Al Attiyah, Sunderland and Abu Issa. | 23.04.2014


Australia 2014: Robinson / Skinner winning AORC opening round in Kalgoorlie. | 21.04.2014


Sealine Rally Qatar: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons back in the Desert. | 20.04.2014


Breslau Rally: Rally will be more International - new full Cross-Country class. | 15.04.2014


Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot unveiled first details of Peugeot 2008 DKR Proto. | 15.04.2014


FIM World Cup: Paulo Gonçalves - "It's not about luck - it’s about hard work". | 15.04.2014













































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Expedition Trophy: "After more than two full days we got into Ekaterinburg".






By Robb Pritchard: If the 1800 km drive from Murmansk to Veliky Novgorod on sheet ice and pot-holes wasn't hard enough on its own crews also had to find points scattered along the route. Each was worth 15 points and each is valuable as after each stage the two lowest scoring teams get dropped out. But even with a crazy 50 hour time limit it was so tight that teams had to choose which ones to go for.

So 2 days after I'd seen them last tired and slightly bewildered looking people lined up at the regroup at the edge of a frozen lake and I wondered around seeing who had some stories to tell.

The start-line blessing the giant bunny received didn't seem to do it too much good as it was looking very sorry for itself with its once shiny pink fur all matted with ice and grime. But its team were in good spirits as they took on the hallowed Golden Envelope, a task so hard that many talk about it with dread.

The points available if you can complete it mean that you will get a guaranteed entry in the grand final in Vladivostok. The challenge was to detour south to Kazakshtan and look for crashed satellites in the snowy wastes. Don't find them though and you are out! Incredible. But the bunny still had a grin on its face as it headed out.

But the next task for the rest of the teams over the coming 2200 km stage didn't seem all that much easier. Some of the points the organisers had put in the northern forests were hard enough to get but but this time they'd put people with stamps on trains - yes, moving checkpoints. And all the teams had to go on was a time table of 20 trains that would criss-cross the route east to Ekaterinburg over the next two days...

I found a seat with Team NEC, a friendly group of Belarussians and Muscovites and few kilometers later we pulled into a cafe called Bummer to sit down and try and work out a plan. But it wasn't too long before the time-table was in pieces on the table. "Forget it! We go to Ekaterinburg the nice way, on the back roads" Igor said.

But talk of back roads in a cafe with such a name was doomed to trouble and an unsuccessful hunt for a tyre shop with a big enough machine to balance the 37' tyres and then a closed road that confused the GPS systems enough that we were driving through the night around dead-end villages and roads that hadn't been ploughed for a long time. Tensions rose in proportion to the new Russian vocabulary I learned. Although it is funny to know that the word for pancake is a curse!

The moon was almost full and cast eerie shadows through the constant birch and pine forests, while the snow-covered fields gleamed a strange silver but the dawn didn't bring any colour to the sleeping land. We started the stage with 2300km on the GPS and to remind me just how big this country is at one point it said Turn Left in 247 km. But stopping in a place that translated into 'The essence of spirit' the next afternoon it still said 1300 km to go...

There is an interactive cd-rom in Russia called 'How to Drive' that gives instructions on how you should drive. In the rest of the world it's called Grand Theft Auto 4! Progress was painfully slow we had to force our way around labouring trucks with wonky wheels, dodge the kamikaze Lada drivers coming the other way on the wrong side of the road and thread through the wreckage of recent accidents.

And then a storm came that white-washed the way ahead and we crawled along with the road indistinguishable from fields and sky. It was impossible to overtake as visibility was down to just a few meters... and wasn't helped by the windscreen wipers icing up until they just scraped a few useless lines across the glass.

From my back seat vantage point it seemed that only Russians could carry on like this. 4 days of constant driving, only sleeping in fits and starts on the back seat before being ruffled awake again to take the wheel and they could still manage to handle an overloaded 4x4.

Finally, more than two full days since we'd left Veliky Novgorod, we got into Ekaterinburg and gratefully checked into a hotel - but only for a painfully short few hours for a team briefing and the instructions for the next stage. No one did too well in getting the stamps from the trains, the best team got 4 stamps out of a possible 19 and my friends in Team Yeti were in the last two. If they didn't manage to win the next task they'd have to face the daunting Golden Envelope or go home.

But some good news. The Oleni team with the pink bunny in tow somehow managed to find the crashed satellite in the Kazakhstani countryside. The next stage is to a camp site near the city of Tomsk, a place according to Wikipedia is famous for its chemical and oil industries. Only 1800km away and we have two days to get there.

2013/03/01 | 23:05 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PRITCHARD











Silk Way Rally: Rally officially cancelled - "Nobody wants to visit Russia now". | 23.04.2014 11:42 | NEW




Dakar Rally 2015: Dakar Tour has visited Tokyo and the Japanese competitors | 23.04.2014 11:05 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Stage victories for Al Attiyah, Sunderland and Abu Issa. | 23.04.2014 10:56 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Marc Coma - "Terrain completely different to Abu Dhabi" | 21.04.2014 17:59 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Joan Barreda - "Really pleased with the stage in Qatar" | 21.04.2014 17:34 | NEW




TORC 2014 VIDEO: "Duel in the Desert" impressions of the Primm Valley race | 21.04.2014 17:14 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Al Attiyah, Holowczyc and Vasilyev first winner in the cars | 21.04.2014 15:48 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Honda´s Barrera and Sonik the early bike / quad leader | 21.04.2014 14:56 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar VIDEO: Rally scene and short interviews before the start | 21.04.2014 14:29 | NEW




Australia 2014: Robinson / Skinner winning AORC opening round in Kalgoorlie. | 21.04.2014 13:39 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar VIDEO: Overdrive Toyota Hilux testing before the rally | 21.04.2014 13:33 | NEW




Australia 2014: GHR Honda Team dominates Condo 450 Rally in the bikes | 21.04.2014 13:21 | NEW




SCORE 2014: Armin Schwarz and AGM aim for podium at Imperial Valley 250 | 20.04.2014 18:59 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Team Honda HRC to defend championship leadership | 20.04.2014 18:50 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Competitors from 18 countries to start in Qatar Monday | 20.04.2014 18:23 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons back in the Desert. | 20.04.2014 15:17 | NEW




Sealine Rally Qatar: Yazeed Al-Rajhi rejoins Toyota Overdrive Tam in Qatar | 19.04.2014 15:48 |




Sealine Rally Qatar: After a short break, four X-raid Mini are back in action | 19.04.2014 15:24 |




Donaldson CC: Tovey first footballer in Imperial Auto Celebrity Challenge | 19.04.2014 15:08 |




Hungarian CC: Second race, second win for Polish Chevrolet at Turkeve Cup | 16.04.2014 19:50 |




Sealine Rally Qatar: Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah to compete in a Mini All4 Racing | 16.04.2014 19:22 |




Breslau Rally VIDEO: Official trailer of the legendary Breslau Rally Poland 2014 | 15.04.2014 23:08 |




Dakar Rally 2015 VIDEO: The Lion is back - Peugeot 2008 DKR presentation | 15.04.2014 23:05 |




Breslau Rally: Rally will be more International - new full Cross-Country class. | 15.04.2014 20:06 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Dakar Tour stopped in the Netherlands with Cyril Despres | 15.04.2014 19:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot unveiled first details of Peugeot 2008 DKR Proto. | 15.04.2014 19:05 |




Hungarian CC VIDEO: Short impressions Turkeve Cup - Nissan Qashqai Proto | 15.04.2014 18:53 |




Hungarian CC: Double bad luck for Hungarian Solyom Team at Turkeve Cup | 15.04.2014 18:41 |




Australasian Safari: Competitors from all around the globe - Rallysafe System | 15.04.2014 18:13 |




Dakar Rally 2015 VIDEO: Tatra-Union - Loprais and Buggyra Dakar Forces | 15.04.2014 17:39 |




FIM World Cup: Paulo Gonçalves - "It's not about luck - it’s about hard work". | 15.04.2014 17:38 |




Sealine Rally Qatar: QMMF announces route for Sealine Cross Country rally. | 14.04.2014 17:43 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Marc Coma - "We fought until the last kilometer" | 14.04.2014 17:11 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge VIDEO: Official video impression D5 in Abu Dhabi | 14.04.2014 16:24 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge VIDEO: Summary Vasilyev Mini All4 Racing Team | 14.04.2014 16:19 |




Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge VIDEO: Kazakhstan Teams Interview Sven Quandt | 14.04.2014 16:13 |




TORC 2014: Kleiman adds second Truck 2014 - keeps busy at Primm Valley | 14.04.2014 15:55 |




TORC 2014: Canadian two-truck team Sle Co Race had a challenging weekend | 14.04.2014 15:47 |




TORC 2014: Cenni wins season opener - Kvamme gets first career podium | 14.04.2014 14:26 |




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