The first ever Silk Way Snow Journey International Snowmobile Rally-Raid enters final straight
The first ever Silk Way Snow Journey International Snowmobile Rally-Raid started on February 23, 2023 with an 8-kilometer Prologue, and on the second day the competitors tackled a real challenge in terms of distance: there were two selective sections about a hundred kilometers long each.
57 competitors from seven countries started at the first event in the history that combined two disciplines – rally-raids and snowmobile orienteering. Tracks of the Menzelinsky and Tukaevsky Districts of the Republic of Tatarstan surprised even experienced riders – they had to give all their best! Altitude changes, difficult navigation, drifting snow and icy bumps did not allow the riders to relax for a minute, and those who lost concentration inevitably got stuck in deep snowdrifts and lost precious time.
Alexey Zverev from the RM Sport Team set the pace at the beginning of the day, but before the final waypoint he lost about four minutes, and after the finish he received more than ten minutes of a penalty for exceeding the maximum speed. As a result, he was classified only the 18th. The best time at the selective section was still with Ilya Shcheglov from the Doctor_32 Team.
Albert Sharafiev and Vladislav Leonov from Naikom Extreme Motocross took the second and third positions, Alexey Popov from the Nart Time team was classified the fourth, and the Prologue winner Anton Kuklin rounded out the top five.
Shcheglov outpaced everyone at the third selective section, although the best time at it was set by other riders. The struggle continued literally until the last kilometer – Ildar Tagirov, Vladislav Leonov and Oleg Mareev were separated by only eight seconds at the last waypoint before the finish line!
In the end, Mareev turned out to be the fastest, but the idea of a snowmobile rally-raid is not only speed, but also attentiveness – almost all competitors received fines for violating the established maximum speed limit. It shows how difficult it is for competitors to simultaneously look for directions, follow navigation and be attentive to speed limits.
After counting all the excesses, Ilya Shcheglov came out on top – he eventually received the smallest penalty of 10 and a half minutes, Alexander Finogenov became the second (13 minutes 40 seconds were added), and Alexey Popov was on the third line (12.5 minutes of penalties).
Following the results of two days of the rally, Ilya Shcheglov is leading in the overall standings, who is ahead of Albert Sharafiev by two and a half minutes. Vladislav Leonov and Alexey Popov, who are separated by four seconds, are another two minutes behind. Anton Kuklin, who is rounding out the top five, is 14 minutes behind the leader, and the riders following him are 18 or more minutes behind.
Now the competitors have the decisive breakthrough ahead of them – the fourth selective section, which will determine the prize-winners of the race who will receive awards. We would like to recall that the five most successful riders of the Snow Journey will share the prize fund in the amount of 1,500,000 rubles.
Meanwhile, the tremendous festival of motorsport, outdoor activities and music continues – for the second day in a row the spectators who came to support the competitors found an exposition of unique racing vehicles, meetings with motorsport stars and races for the smallest fans, and in addition, everyone had the opportunity to purchase promotional products from famous teams.
On Saturday, February 25 there will be a culmination of the weekend – the Ceremonial Finish, and everyone will get the opportunity to share the emotions of three days of exciting struggle with the competitors.
Silk Way Snow Journey is a three-day festival of motorsport, music and outdoor activities. Challenge the snowstorm together with the Silk Way Rally.