DAY 8 – BALKAN CROSS COUNTRY: It ain’t over till it is over

The finish of Balkan Offroad Rallye is at the finishline on the beach at the Black Sea. Not just a finishline, but a legendary location in the Bulgarian motorsport. The teams who thought to be certain of a position were quick to wake up from their dream, as today the stage was fast, with tricky navigation and many chances to ruin your overall ranking.

Arunas Gelazninkas has ruled the Bulgarian mountains and each and every stage of the Balkan Offroad Rallye, in such a way that he expected to win, came, saw and took the trophy. His future is bright and we are proud to see him win the last stage as well. On his first Balkan Offroad Rallye, Frank Modl is happy to arrive as second bike.

For a beginner in motorsports, Lodie Boelhouwer definitely shows talent, racing his light bike and making a third place on the last stage. ‘My navigationkit collapsed 5 km into the special stage, so I had to hold the tripmaster with my hand! I tried to catch up with Bram van der Wouden, but he was too fast!’

Making a final impression, Tsanko Tsankov wins the stage with his fast Side by side. After breaking the clutch he lost too much time to be on the podium, but the taste of winning the last stage is sweet. Two generations racing together for the second and the third stage: Lea Gauthier started ahead of Jose Castan, the French ‘Tout Terrain’ champion. ‘He said he wanted to race with me today,’ says Lea. ‘But today, I did not want to risk my chance for the podium so I let hm pass!’

Herman Jasper and Evert Blaauw win the stage today with their Nemesis, on a route written for fast cars built for long distance racing. ‘It was not our week,’ says Herman. ‘We had technical problems and the stages were too rough for our car. But today was just perfect! They arrive ahead of Konstantin Cholakov, who takes it easy. Also from the Netherlands are Sietse and Klaar Ronner, winners of the Rallye Breslau Poland.

A special battle was fought in the Car Limited category, where Jean Francois Ryo and Sebastian Morisod both try their maximum on the stage today, with Patrycja Brochoka moving up one place, between her two main competitors. Having a standard ‘limited’ class that is so interesting to follow is something huge for the event.

After the pricegiving ceremony, the Balkan Offroad Rallye 2018 is over. The teams will travel back home, the vehicles will be checked and plans made for next year…

DAY 8 – BALKAN EXTREME: Reach the end!


One loop close to the beach, through the forest just south of Shkorpilovtsi. This would be the last stage for the Extreme competitors, but it proved to be a tough and difficult day!

‘It was very tricky today, I needed 100% percent concentration!’ says Francoise, arriving as first car in the finish today. Her driver Franck is proud of the work they did today. ‘This day is for the navigator, it was very difficult. And when we saw Jim searching on the stage, we knew there was a change to get the here.

After Franck Daurelle, Christophe Moine is the second car today. ‘I burnt my clutch!’ he says, happy it is the last day and the car can be fixed in the workshop at home. ‘Normally we have no chance,’ he continues. ‘But on this race, the balance is the most important. The engine, the suspension, everything needs to be ok for the driving style and experience of the teams.

‘We messed up,’ says James Ayre, Jim Marsdens co-driver. ‘I just could not find it, so we drove around to find it. ‘This allows other teams to get ahead and try opening the stage.’As long as we did not loose the lead we had built, I was fine with it,’ says Jim.

Josselin is perfectly happy with his car, being the young racers allowed at the Balkan Extreme this year. ‘It performs so well!’ he says. ‘I had only three weeks to prepare the teams. Anneke Crijns loves the stages, racing with Ronny van Baal in the blue Toyota LJ70. ‘It is just that we cannot reach the finish on time,’ says Anneke, ‘because our car is not fast and the pace of the event is quite high.’

Tonight the pricegiving was the closing of the race, and the competitors will travel back home after 8 days of fantastic racing. New plans are being made, and for next year we invite the trophy scene to  beautiful Bulgaria for the Balkan Extreme!

Text: Niels Hatzmann
Photo credit: RBI Media