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Breslau Poland: Rally on standby by Military because of actual political situation. | 18.07.2014


Breslau Poland: The truck-legends are back - scrutineering - Ford Ranger. | 12.07.2014


Breslau Poland PHOTOS: First Impressions of the Scrutineering in Recz (60). | 12.07.2014


Africa Eco Race: End of preferential rates - review rally presentations Europe. | 04.07.2014


Dakar Rally 2015: Carlos Sousa switch from Great Wall to Mitsubishi Petrobras. | 04.07.2014


Hungarian Baja: 2014 is promising a big challenge for 11th edition in Hungary. | 03.07.2014


Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot 2008 DKR - first test, new detailed technical data. | 03.07.2014













































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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











Breslau Poland: Rally on standby by Military because of actual political situation. | 18.07.2014 09:56 |




Breslau Poland RESULTS: Daily results after SS01 Recz / Recz roundcourse | 13.07.2014 23:38 |




Breslau Poland: The truck-legends are back - scrutineering - Ford Ranger. | 12.07.2014 15:17 |




Breslau Poland PHOTOS: First Impressions of the Scrutineering in Recz (60). | 12.07.2014 14:29 |




Africa Eco Race: End of preferential rates - review rally presentations Europe. | 04.07.2014 15:44 |




Rally Raid VIDEO: Special tuned and loud Nissan Patrol RB25DET from Bulgaria | 04.07.2014 15:14 |




Red Bull Romaniacs: The most diversified Extreme Enduro track ever in 2014 | 04.07.2014 14:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Carlos Sousa switch from Great Wall to Mitsubishi Petrobras. | 04.07.2014 11:21 |




Baja Deutschland VIDEO: Summary of Dutch competitors in Germany in June | 04.07.2014 10:37 |




TORC 2014: Douglas continues to run up front - finishes Third in Round 7 | 04.07.2014 10:17 |




Hungarian Baja: 2014 is promising a big challenge for 11th edition in Hungary. | 03.07.2014 22:28 |




TORC 2014: Barlow Motorsports - All four cars had various levels of success | 03.07.2014 22:22 |




Dakar Rally 2015 VIDEO: The all-new Peugeot 2008 DKR buggy - first preview | 03.07.2014 19:08 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Peugeot 2008 DKR - first test, new detailed technical data. | 03.07.2014 18:48 |




Donaldson CC: The African sands deliver their verdict in the Dakar Challenge | 03.07.2014 18:18 |




TORC 2014: Team Kleiman Off Road Racing - "Big House Brawl" Race Report | 03.07.2014 18:11 |




TORC 2014: Ross Hoek gets first PRO-4x4 Podium - third place in round 8 | 03.07.2014 17:55 |




Donaldson CC VIDEO: Impressions Toyota Team Kalahari Botswana Desert race | 03.07.2014 17:48 |




Donaldson CC: Rhide SA´s Brian Baragtwanath wins Quads Dakar Challenge | 03.07.2014 17:38 |




Donaldson CC: Bertholdt / Rousseau win free entry for the Dakar Rally 2015. | 03.07.2014 17:17 |




Donaldson CC: History repeats in Special Vehicles Class in Botswana rally | 03.07.2014 15:40 |




Donaldson CC: Taylor / Murphy win Toyota Botswana 1000 Dakar Challenge. | 03.07.2014 15:17 |




OiLibya Morocco: Organizer NPO unveils details of the 2014 stages in Morocco. | 27.06.2014 14:22 |




OiLibya Morocco VIDEO: Official trailer for the OiLibya Rally in Morocco 2014 | 27.06.2014 14:04 |




Dakar Challenge: Team Rhide SA ready for the Dakar Challenge in Botswana | 26.06.2014 18:52 |




FIA CC World Cup: UAE study points way to increasing safety to saving lives. | 26.06.2014 17:48 |




LOORR 2014: Solid weekend at Miller sport park in Utah for Casey Currie | 26.06.2014 17:02 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Japanese Hino truck already preparing for 2015 Dakar Rally | 26.06.2014 16:59 |




Dakar Rally 2015: X-raid strikes back - Dakar winner Roma extends contract. | 25.06.2014 17:33 |




ULTRA 4 Europe: Second day report ULTRA 4 race in Italy - by Robb Pritchard | 25.06.2014 14:43 |




AXCR Asia CC Rally: Outlander PHEV to tackle rally for second straight year. | 25.06.2014 14:14 |




AXCR Asia CC Rally VIDEO: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Hybrid in AXCR Rally | 25.06.2014 14:08 |




Donaldson CC: Desperate times for Special Vehicles in Botswana 1000 desert | 25.06.2014 13:53 |




TORC 2014: Flying Dutchman Mike Vanden Heuvel prepares for Crandon Brush | 25.06.2014 12:59 |




TORC 2014 VIDEO: Impressions from TORC Series by Amsoil round Bark River | 25.06.2014 12:57 |




TORC 2014: Dale Chestnut wins RD2 and leads TORC Classix Championship | 25.06.2014 12:46 |




TORC 2014: Steve Barlow and Adrian Cenni take PRO-class podiums in BR | 25.06.2014 12:45 |




Dakar Rally 2015: Former Winner Nasser al-Attiyah to switch to Toyota 2015. | 24.06.2014 17:54 |




LOORR 2014: Team Toyo’s Kyle LeDuc captures third successive sweep in Utah | 24.06.2014 17:15 |




Baja Rally: Mexican rally adds new Adventure Bike Expert class for 2014. | 24.06.2014 16:54 |




















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