MONSOON AT THE BATTLE OF THE HIGHLANDERS.
A truly Malaysian weather of heavy rainfall at the Northern Caucasus in the Battle of 4x4 Supremacy of the Rainforest Challenge kind in the highlands between Europe and Asia.
The mountainous region of Northern Caucasus at the shadow of Mt Elbrus (Europes highest peak), the land between the Black & Caspian Sea, that geographically divides Eastern Europe from Western Asia, is a tough, rugged as well as a stunningly picturesque place to be.
As part of the Russian Federation, the region is included in the North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts and consists of Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the constituent republics, from west to east: the Republic of Adygea, KarachayCherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North OssetiaAlania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and the Republic of Dagestan.
Calendar of RFC Global Series (RFCGS)
Apart from experiencing its diversity of cultures, culinary delights and traditions including indulging in outdoor sports, its also the venue of 4x4 motorsports of the extreme kind from the Rainforest Challenge (RFC). Established since 2017, RFC Russia Caucasus (RFCRC) is now part of the newly reorganized RFC Russia (RFCRU) under the worldwide 4x4 extreme racing calendar of RFC Global Series (RFCGS).
The unpredictability of weather in this mountainous region lives up to its reputation. Its the beginning of Summer (5 to 8 June), so it should be bright and sunny, but instead, Mother Nature decided to shower Predgorny district of Stravropol Krai with monsoonal downpours, just like in Malaysia from the opening day.
For the Highlander teams assembled for the opening D-Day at Mechta stadium grounds in Essentukskaya, the rain did not dampen the mood
of both the fans and the race teams from Chechnya, Nalchyk, Astrakhan, St. Petersburg, Armavir, Cherkessk and Pyatigorsk.
In fact, wet, soggy and muddy conditions are most welcome by these combat ready man and machines ready to do battle for 4x4 supremacy in R1 (Prototype) and R3 (Standard) for this years race.
The Special Stages (SS)
If the muddy madness was not enough, the teams also had to overcome the 22 Special Stages (SS); with 8 SS each on first and second days and ending with 6 SS on the last day.
All SS follow the racing format from RFC specially prepared by RFCRC organizing team of 4x4 KMV under the supervision of Arsen Gamzayen (RFCRU Sports / Race Director); which included steep ascends and descends, sharp twists and turns, ravines, undulating terrain and winching obstacles all easily found here in this highland region.
Prepared for Anything Goes.
For the seasoned teams, they know that nothing comes easy in the RFC; so they came well prepared to face anything goes: knowing what can go wrong will go wrong, but most important is to get up and get going to the finish line.
And thus, from the word Go it was a spectacular 4x4 action show for the hundreds of fans who turned out to cheer their favourite teams.
Rising Star in R1
The most surprising of R1 participants came from a Young Gun Team 111 of Aybazov Artur and Botashev Alan from Karachayevo-Cherkessia which caught everyones attention. Despite their lack of experience in RFC, they performed beyond expectation in all the SS and won second place in R1; a credit to the senior Aybazov (Anzor) with vast experience in RFC Grand Final in Malaysia, who probably must have trained his son well to expect the unexpected in the twists and turns of the SS.
The Big Boss
However, it still takes experience, strategy, tactics and driving plus recovery skills to win the top spot in R1 which was clinched by the seasoned team of multiple wins in RFCRU in the likes of Murat Tsintsaev and Mursalim Kovraev from Chechnya.
St Petersburg Rules
In the R3 (Standard) category, it came as no surprise for multiple winner in RFCRU races from the experienced Vladimir Okoneshikov from St Petersburg. Cool and steady with his Suzuki Samurai he and co-driver Yusov Alexander, they won all the SS convincingly to become champion of RFCRC 2021 in R3.
Combat Duty from Race Director
This year, Arsen Gamsayan, the Sports/Race Director of RFCRU finally has the chance to put into action his prototype mean machine nicknamed Breta which he designed himself. Sometimes a race director needs to feel the adrenalin rush and test the SS in real combat time, to inspire the other participants to perform even better racing against me and also to make the SS even better for the next time, he smiled. Even though Arsens team was 3rd placed in R1 due to mechanical problems, he has scored valid points to further improve RFCRU races for the rest of 2021 season.
Event Ops Base
The entire event operation of RFCRC 2021 was based at the village of Gorny with access to all the SS and with a well managed camp for officials, media and participants including meals management and well controlled race operations.
Mission Accomplished for Stage I
The awards ceremony at the Palace of Culture was a scene of camaraderie and pride for successfully completing Stage I of RFCRC 2021 after a year of absence due to the pandemic. In fact, this years event could take off is thanks to the recovery and vaccination progress in North Caucasus region of Russia.
In the coming Autumn of 2021, RFCRC will be more than ready for Stage II and III with vaccine roll out in full progress worldwide. RFCRC is part of the 15 events from RFCRU 2021 racing season.