The Rainforest Challenge Balkans 2015 is finished. And the first year was a success. Teodora Veleva invited us a few months ago. She is also one of the organizers of the RFC Balkans Global Series race. So we wanted to find out more.
1. Teodora please tell us more about the race and the first edition.
It was the year of 2013 when I had the chance to participate in Rainforest Challenge Malaysia. I was the team manager of first Bulgarian off-road team on RFC. We had an unbelievable number of obstacles on our way to Malaysia – the vessel carrying our racing car had a malfunction on the main engine and got to the port in Kuala Lumpur five days after the start of the race. Thankfully for Mr. Luis J.A. Wee we still had the opportunity to participate and we decided to make the first Bulgarian-Malaysian offroad team ever.
You understand the risk we took because this is one of the toughest motor races in the world and pilot and co-pilot meet for the very first time on the start. In that very moment, I believe Mr. Luis found out that we have real passion for the Rainforest Challenge and after the race in 2013 he offered us to be RFC representatives on the Balkans. This put us up to the idea of RFC Global Series in Bulgaria. Now off-road teams from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Croatia and other European countries could participate in a race for the Rainforest Challenge trophy.
2. Where was the race held?
The first RFC Balkans was held on the Black Sea Cost. The ceremonial start was in the Old Town of Nessebar, UNESCO heritage city. All participants were accommodated in Sunny Beach Resort. The racing tracks were in Stara Planina (Old Mountain) and in sand quarry near the village of Kosharitsa. This section of Stara Planina Mountain is very special because this is the place where the Balkan meets the Black Sea. The Twilight Zone, the most extreme stage of RFC Balkans, was near cape Emine. It is said to be the stormiest cape in Bulgaria. It is located 49 miles south of Varna, 34 miles north of Burgas and 9 miles south of Obzor.
3. Program of the race
16 Sept. – arrival, registration and technical inspection
17 Sept. – briefing for competitors, ceremonial start, 6 special stage in the sand quarry, official dinner
18 Sept. – three special stages in the morning and the Twilight Zone started at 17:00
19 Sept. – finishing the Twilight Zone followed by two final special stages and awarding ceremony
The Twilight Zone is the ultimate challenge in RFC formats. This is the most difficult part of the track where competitors have to race in teams by two or three vehicles. The concept of the Twilight Zone is to test the off-road abilities of teams and vehicles but also to build strong relationships between everyone in the RFC because the general idea is to expand the off-road family. This year Twilight Zone started at 5.00 PM and finished at 6.00 AM. All competitors decided to drive as one team so in general it was “All for one and one for all”. It was unexpected surprise for the organizers because such experience happened for the first time on the Balkans. The track was full of steep slopes, twists & turns, ups & downs along rutted, sharp thorny bushes, stony slopes where only the toughest dare to go, not a place for the faint hearted for sure.
4. How many vehicles participated?
The competitors were divided in two categories – Competitors and Touring Adventurer. This year there were 7 teams in the most extreme class and 23 in Touring Adventurer.
The winners in the general ranking:
1. Marian Andreev/Costin Fantana, Romania
2. Hristian Georgiev/Danail Konstadinov, Bulgaria
3. Stoyan Frantsov/Nikolay Asov, Bulgaria
6. What were the expectations before the RFC Balkans race?
This was one historic event for off-roading on the Balkans. The first step has been made and now the history of RFC Balkans has begun. All participants were satisfied and they are expecting the second RFC Balkans. Mr. Luis J.A. Wee evaluated our organization and gave us his trust and support for future events.
7. Tell me more about RFC Balkans next year.
All teams from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey, Albania, Croatia and all over the world – get ready for RFC Balkans 2016. In a week we will be ready with the dates and location. You can follow us on Facebook and catch up the latest news on this website – extreme4x4.eu.
Partnerships and sponsors (THANK YOU!)
Partners: Moto Pfohe, Land Rover, Florina, Hotel Shipka and Vivent Karaoke Bar, Extreme4x4.eu
TEXT: Teodora Veleva, Emilio Mocibob
PHOTO: Anton Anestiev, Yana Stancheva