After seven days of racing in the Balkan Extreme, crossing mountains, mastering rivers full of big boulders, finding the track through unpassable terrain and tight forests, Jim Marsden has built a lead on Franck Daurelle and Francoise Hollender. But especially in the Balkan Extreme, such a lead can melt away in the blink of eye, like butter in the Bulgarian sun…
Today after a fast start together with the Cross Country, the Balkan Extreme dived into the forest for a section through a river, continuing into a beautiful valley before a long descent from the mountains onto the plains near the coast.
‘It is just unbelievable how much off-road this country has,’ says Jim Marsden, who spoke with the organisers to lower the pace of the event, to allow everyone to reach the finishline. ‘We have well prepared cars,’ agrees Franck Daurelle, ‘But we are not alone!’
‘There are so many beautiful tracks!’ cheers Anneke Crijns from the Netherlands, competing together with Ron van Baal in the ‘limited’ class. ‘We have a very basic Toyota LJ, with some modifications but mostly original parts. And here, every day is a new adventure, I love it!’
Passing over the mountains, on the descent the teams had to master a washed out downhill section into a dry riverbed. Putting the car on the side, winching or with full-gas, everyone has a way to arrive at the bottom.
Tomorrow the Extreme class takes a short but tough stage, all before the finish on the beach of Shkorpilovtsi, in front of the Beachbar. In the Balkan Extreme, everything can change.. It is not over, until it is over!