Rally-raid “Silk Road 2009”: Choosing the desert
From the spectacular picture it is difficult to imagine that the sand can be dangerous and cruel. But when mountains of small silicon particles reach the horizon, it becomes uneasy. It seems the desert divides people into friends and foes. Maxim Gomianin went to the Karakum to meet those whom the desert recognized as his own. Photos of the author, “Volkswagen” and KamAZ.
Hearing the stern: “Smoking is prohibited on the street,” colleagues hastily hide cigarettes in their pockets. The warning of the airport employee in Ashgabat was puzzling, but here are the rules. Smoking in public places can not, for that matter, and driving. This, along with speeding and talking on a mobile phone, is a gross violation …
We flew to the capital of Turkmenistan to see those who were able to overcome difficult kilometers of the Silk Road rally-raid. The participants of the race drove through the South Ural and the Ustyurt plateau. In the end, the most difficult thing remained – the Karakum desert. And she has her own view on the driver’s quality of each pilot, and just so she did not submit to anyone.
The undisputed leaders in the Avtomobili class – the drivers of the Volkswagen team unanimously claimed that the last four days of the race were the hardest. Still, the conditions were very similar to the last “Dakar”.
ALL UNCLEAR ROADS
When we arrived at the bivouac, which was located near the airfield of the city of Turkmenbashi, peace reigned there. Mechanics peacefully asleep who where, waiting for the crews from the final speed section. Journalists fled from the heat under the eaves.
“Do you know that Nasser broke his” Touareg? “- Asks one of the organizers of the marathon. “Now the new race leader is Carlos Sainz.” For us, this was a revelation: the situation changed as we traveled 600 kilometers from Ashgabat to the bivouac. Somewhere the road was better than the German autobahn (straight and straight, like an arrow, seven lanes in one direction), and somewhere similar to the concrete near Moscow before repair. In addition, in the absence of pointers and information boards, it is difficult to navigate – one had to constantly be on the alert. Our problems were shared by the crews of technicals. But it was easier for them: the navigation installed in the cars helped. And most of all went to the navigators of the combat crews. In the Karakum desert, it is difficult to find landmarks to be tied to the terrain, in order to pave the route, around nothing but sand. Therefore, it was often necessary to lead the pilot only by instruments, and in fact the high rate of movement left a minimum of time to make a decision.