‘On the Balkan Offroad Rallye no one is sure of their position in the ranking, something happens every day!’ Henno van Bergeijk is enjoying the race, even though he has messed up his navigation on several occasions. ‘I wanted azimuths, and I got them. Today I ended up in a canyons, sometimes I cannot understand my own choices!’
Today the rain messed with the schedule of the stage, as a thunderstorm passed over the first stage. ‘It is a tradition,’ says Konstantin from the roadbook team. Even front runners like Ronald Schoolderman got stuck in the mud on the first special, so the organiser led the cars around the blockage, neutralised the time and made sure everyone could start in the second stage.
‘And that second stage made up for all the rain and mud!’ Beat Juen is smiling from ear to ear. ‘It was fast, fantastic. You cannot imagine how they make the roadbooks here, it is a treat to ride them. In the forest is can be though, if you make one mistake you’re out. Today we had everything, except snow of course!’
Helping each other is a good tradition in rallyraid, as there is always a tomorrow. ‘We found Olaf and his Suzuki in the forest,’ says Raymond van Hoeijen. ‘Both the bike and the rider were ‘broken’, so we dragged them out. It took quite a bit of work, but we had excellent fun today!’
And when all else fails, you call race control. Right on the crest of a mountain, Pierre Michel broke the rear trailing arm of his Can am. ‘Last night I welded the chassis, today I break my trailing arm. It will be a short night again!’ Luckily the recovery truck is nearby, and as we hear the sound of the Deutz diesel in the valley Pierre looks more relaxed.
The recovery crew puts the bed of the truck down, right in front of the quad. With a rope and the winch they pull Pierre’s Can am onto the truck, ready to take off. A quick look on the tracking shows they have a good timeframe to reach the asphalt without disturbing any competitors, and off they go. It is a great asset to have such an experienced recovery crew at the Balkan Offroad Rallye, and even though they arrive in troublesome times most competitors are only happy to see them!
The long stage means there are still competitors on their way to the bivouac. Driving at night is a special experience, but everyone is happy when they reach the final bivouac, on the beach of the Black Sea in Shkorpilovtsi!