The struggle for victory went on until the last kilometers, and friendship decided its outcome
The Ceremonial Finish of the first ever Silk Way Snow Journey International Snowmobile Rally-Raid took place at the Naikom Arena in Naberezhnye Chelny. 57 competitors from seven countries started at the tremendous three-day event, which combined rally-raids and snowmobile orienteering, and the struggle for victory went on until the last kilometers of the distance. Friendship ultimately decided its outcome.
At the final stage, the competitors had to overcome a hundred kilometers of distance, and at first Alexander Finogenov pulled ahead, but towards the end of the selective section Alexey Zverev, his teammate from the RM Sport, seized the initiative – it was he who eventually became the best at SS-4, five minutes ahead of Andrey Proshin from Naikom Extreme Motocross. Ilya Stepanenko rounded out the top three, followed by two more Nart Time riders – Denis Stepanenko and Arkady Malkhasyan. Finogenov took only the 47th line in the stage classification.
Meanwhile Ilya Shcheglov, who led the race the day before, and his main pursuer Timur Sharafiev met in the struggle for victory. Sharafiev rode the special stage consistently and received a minimum of fines, but for Shcheglov the stage turned into one continuous adventure. He went to the distance first, cleared a path for rivals and did not avoid problems.
“I got stuck twice and fell over in a drifting snow. I made a mistake in navigation – I ran into a forest and got stuck so that only my skis stuck out,” rider said.
Nail Khubbatullin from the Naikom Extreme Motocross Team came to rescue Shcheglov, he helped return the snowmobile to the track. Shcheglov rushed to catch up with his rivals, and even with a suspension damaged from hitting a stone, he lost less than a minute to Sharafiev at the finish line. It was enough for the Doctor_32 Team member to keep the first line in the overall standings and become the first ever winner of the Silk Way Snow Journey International Snowmobile Rally-Raid!
“To be honest, it’s not just about victory, I didn’t even count on the finish line. This victory is primarily the merit of Nail Khubbatullin, the triumphant admitted. There was a lot of adventures! There was everything that could happen – I even finished with one wing. Everything is so unexpected for me, emotions run high, unforgettable experience!”
Timur Sharafiev is the second in the final classification – according to the results of three days of struggle he lost a little bit more than a minute and a half to Shcheglov. “I’ve done it great! Super! I felt bliss and joy at the finish line. It was very cool,” the runner-up said.
Alexey Popov from the Nart Time Team rounded out the top three. Vladislav Leonov from Naikom Extreme Motocross and RM Sport rider Anton Kuklin also entered the top five, which will share the prize fund of 1,500,000 rubles.
The tremendous event prepared by the International Project Silk Way Rally Directorate lasted three days and became an unforgettable adventure for both honored motorsport professionals and outdoor activities amateurs, who had never participated in competitions before. The experience gained on the track will allow them to feel more confident in the future not only at cross-country rallies, but also on the roads in everyday life.
The first chapter in the history of Silk Way Snow Journey International Snowmobile Rally-Raid is over, but the past three days have shown that the competitors liked the unusual format of the competition that gave the fans an exciting spectacle and a real festival of motorsport. It means that we have even more exciting adventures at the Silk Way Snow Journey ahead of us!