Passing through the Rhodopian Mountains for the last time, the Balkan Offroad Rallye says goodbye to the high mountains and heads east to the second bivouac in Starosel. ‘Really, after this rally I would like to ride back from Varna to Sofia, but with more time to stop at all those beautiful places,’ says Franz Schreiber, the German Enduro rider who is doing his first rallyraid event here in the Balkan Offroad Rallye.
‘Slowly I am learning about rallyraid, navigation and the speed you need to finish,’ he explains after today’s stage. On his first rallyraid event he is able to race with the best riders, a big surprise for him. ‘I will have to go slower in the next days, but not too much as I want to keep my ranking. Guys like Rico van der Sanden really have their bike under control. When they overtake me the rearwheel doesn’t even move, they go so smooth over these rough tracks!’
Racing for seconds the Car Cross Country class is a high speed affair. Pawel Moglo in the Overdrive Hilux had a great stage, finishing first today: ’After yesterdays problems with the clutch we had to overtake many competitors and I can only compliment them: it was fair play on the stage, we had no problems at all.’ Frank Stensky is fourth on the stage, chasing the leaders. ‘We are so close together at the moment, you see even the smallest mistake in the result at the end of the day!’
As we are moving in eastern directions the competitors find their ‘rhythm’ in the race and on the stages. ‘I usually need a few days before my concentration is where I need it to be,’ says Gerard List, racing in ATV Cross Country with his two-wheel drive quad. ‘It better comes soon, so my speed can go up. On these fast stages you need to be focused!’
Racing together with the Balkan Classic Rallye allows us to compare the speeds of the classic rallycars and the offroad vehicles and to our surprise today Bernard Munster had the fastest overal time in his Porsche, with more than 5 minutes lead over the fastest offroad car. The Balkan Classic is organised for the first time, to see if it can grow and become an event specifically for classic cars.
After a beautiful descent from the Rhodopian mountains onto the Trakian Plains the competitors adjust to the new terrain, become faster en deal with the challenges of high speed racing on a flat surface. On LEG4 the terrain could not be more varied, with dirtroads and fast tracks, long climbs and excellent panorama’s. Bulgaria is a country gifted with excellent landscapes and in the Balkan Offroad Rallye the competitors get to see the best of it.
More info and our daily videos from the event can be found at www.balkanoffroad.net and on our Facebook page.