The Silk Way is one of the biggest off-road races on Earth. Modeled after the Dakar Rally, it’s been attracting huge off-road teams to Russia since since 2009. But this year the Russian government decided dealing with the Sochi F1 and the rally was too much. Guess which one got axed.
Can’t say I fault the Russians for picking F1 over a rally-raid event, between spectator access and general revenue influx the decision pretty much makes itself from their perspective.
But it’s a shame they couldn’t find the resources to do both events. Russia has such amazing off-road drivers and vehicles, and since this would have only been the fifth installment of the Silk Way race it’s really only just building momentum.
This year’s race was slated to cross Russia and Kazakhstan over 3,000km and eight days in July.
Straight from the Silk Way race organizers:
Due to a very tight sports calendar in the Russian Federation in 2014 and in order to have a better balance of the workload of all the structures involved in the organisation of sports events in Russia, the Silk Way Rally Organising Committee had to take the decision to postpone the event in 2015 .
The Silk Way Rally Organising Committee, benefiting from the support of the government of the Russian Federation and of numerous ministries, understand that strategical events like the Olympic Games in Sotchi or the Formula 1 Grand Prix that will take place in October, are a priority.
What they meant by “postpone in 2015” is that the event is supposedly coming back next year, but some sources like Marathon Rally think it might be gone for good. “Nobody wants to visit Russia now…” a member of the Silk Way Rally sold them unofficially, “Sotchi is history and we maybe also.”
It’s also said that race organizers ASO, who run the Dakar, pulled out their support for the Silk Way long ago which started a cascade of big teams bailing as well.
So what are we looking at here; small speed-bump in the world of racing or is this the beginning of a terrible trend to sideline off-road rallies?
Provided by Jalopnik