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Old 24th June 2010, 16:30   #1
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Namaste! ))

I'd just like to ask whether anyone would appreciate me posting a report and a few images of one of the world's premier off-roading events, the Ladoga Trophy, held in Russia. (9 days, 1200km, 160 vehicles ... )

(I thought it would be best to ask first ... ))
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Old 24th June 2010, 16:39   #2
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Please go ahead and do it...I am sure that there are many like me, eagerly waiting for the details ! And welcome to Team BHP !!!


Здравствуйте! приветствовать !


(Courtesy : Google Translate)

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Old 24th June 2010, 17:29   #3
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Yes, we like offroading, go ahead and please some interesting offroading photos.
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Old 24th June 2010, 20:55   #4
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Dear robb4*4 - we eagerly await the photographs of the "Lagoda Trophy Russia" event as well as the description of your experiences in off-roading. Please post the information immediately.

Please accept my best personal regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 24th June 2010, 21:59   #5
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Ladas Galore!! Pictures Please!! Is this a Snow thing???
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:15   #6
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Bring it on mate...we Indians learn from anything

BUT, how about introducing yourself first??

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Old 24th June 2010, 22:22   #7
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Bring it on mate...we Indians learn from anything

BUT, how about introducing yourself first??
Anyway, here is Ladoga 2010, looks more like winch testing contest


Last edited by The Wolf : 24th June 2010 at 22:24.
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:23   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robb4x4 View Post
Namaste! ))

I'd just like to ask whether anyone would appreciate me posting a report and a few images of one of the world's premier off-roading events, the Ladoga Trophy, held in Russia. (9 days, 1200km, 160 vehicles ... )

(I thought it would be best to ask first ... ))
Namaste-- Carrry on posting, No formalities ( with me ), dont know about others .
It will be good to see such things , Yes we are eager to learn.
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:36   #9
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Well, I am Robb. I run an expedition company, but the rules seem pretty strict here so I won't write the name down. I am British, but live in Russia and have travelled around Rajasthan with a very cool guy some of you might know called Captain Raaj Kumar.
I have competed at Ladoga 3 times and covered it as press a few times, but was recently inspired to try and become a real journalist ... which is why I was looking for some international media to offer my articles to. I didn't find any suitable published magazines in India, but I did come across the massive forum! ))
Text will come soon, but it seems there is an issue with posting outside links, so I guess I'll only get a few pics up...
By the way, that video is just the Tourist class ... that's just about as easy as it gets in this competition!! And those guys had the most amazing support truck. I shall find a pic for you )))
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:37   #10
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Bog Standard.

The bogs in Russia have a timeless quality about them, as though millions of years of evolution have completely passed them by. A cloud of mosquitoes buzz around my head and somewhere through the stunted trees dotting the landscape a single bird calls out. This is nature in her most untouched state... A scene from National Geographic, maybe But half an hour later though it's very different scene as this stretch of the middle of nowhere has the Ladoga Trophy passing through it. The high-pitched whine of winches, the angry roar of big engines as the Proto cars inch their way through meter deep mud and the voices of a dozen determined faced men as they shout instructions and insults out to each other in Latvian, Finnish and Russian. It has taken me two hours to walk here and I can't go any further. With each step I sink to my knees and I only have two Snickers bars left to give me the energy I need to trudge all the way back. But this is no spectacular vantage point I have come to see with all the film crew and photographers hovering around, it is just the start of the very first Proto stage and I didn't even make it as far as the second waypoint out of 25... But this is the soul of the Ladoga Trophy. This is what the 99% of the competition that people don't get to see looks like...and I have to say it is absolutely epic!
For those who don't know what it is, the Ladoga Trophy is a 9 day, 1200km long assault through just about every type of terrain possible around Lake Ladoga, north of St Petersburg, Russia. As well as the well documented bogs there are huge river crossings, car sized rocks to crawl over and huge slopes to winch up...More than 160 vehicles tackled the event this year, spread over 9 classes, from the monster truck Protos to beaten up standard Lada Nivas. This diverse spectrum of vehicles is what gives the competition it's unique atmosphere. There's everything in these forests, from the independent suspension portal axled buggies to Suzukis that look like someone's been watching too many episodes of Scrapyard Challenge. On the start line in the centre of St Petersburg a 40 year old UAZ is parked next to a Hummer H2, Proto beasts stand proud on 40 inch tyres next to an immaculate and massive Toyota Tundra
But it's the famed toughness that the event is really famous for. Each evening the leader board is pinned up in camp listing the times of those who have made it through that day's stage, but the numbers dont really mean anything. 6 hours 17 minutes cant adequately convey what challenges had to be surmounted in the forest far from spectating eyes and nor does the ominous 0:00:00 tell to what lengths a crew is going through to get their vehicle fixed, or extricated from an inaccessible bog. Its only back in camp, to the sounds of angle grinders and hammers pounding out bent body panels that the stories come out. For example Kari Sihvonen had only finished building his Discovery based Proto the night before scruitineering so was very happy to be third at one point...until he ended up stuck in a lake with the water lapping over the roof, just 2cm from the snorkel. It was just a little wrong turn, he said. But you know, it's so hard here. The route that you are supposed to be on is so hard that it's possible to kill the car at any moment, so when you go a little the wrong way it can be quite serious!

The competition is divided into 9 classes giving the widest possible scope for competitors. TR1 is for standard vehicles without any major modifications and this year it was the most closely fought class, coming right down to the penultimate stage. A group of brand new Land Rover 90s and ageing 70 series Land Cruisers spent the best part of a week chasing the immaculately prepared Lithuanian Suzuki Jimny. The Suzuki had built up a lead of over an hour with two days to go, but the crew got handed a 60 minute penalty for missing a GPS point by 30 meters. That left them a scant 12 minute lead, which they said they were comfortable with, but in the very next stage a small tree ripped up through the floor pan and cut through the electrics. A hasty repair meant that they got out of the stage, but the lead and the win was lost. Driver Ben Vanagas was very philosophical about it though. You hear it a lot, but it's very true that in this event at every moment something can go wrong. One rock, one tree, one bad river crossing, one thing breaking on the car is all it takes to stop you going any further.

The Tourism class followed in TR1's wheel tracks. The vehicle specification is the same, but whereas TR1 times are scored like a rally, with an accumulation of overall times, in Tourism you just need to get through each stage before a set time and you win by tallying up as many stage 'passes' as possible, as well as scores from a Night Orienteering section and the beach race. The organisers bill this class as one of the easiest, but the name Tourism is a bit of a misnomer. In many places the road has been completely chewed up by the cars in front where else would you see tourists winching through twenty meters of thigh-deep mud for four or more hours a day? This year it was a husband and wife team leading most of the way in their beloved Land Rover 90 pick-up, but as they came through the woods it wasn't exactly a picture of marital harmony screams of abuse echoed through the trees as Lydia yelled instructions and insults at her husband driver. Left, LEFT! I said left! What is the matter with you! she shouted as she watched the Land Rover get beached on a sizeable rock in the river. They were leading until a stray stick punctured the top of the fuel tank which slowly filled with water. Just one stupid stick, she lamented. We were driving over whole trees for days and one piece the size of my finger cost us the stage and the win. Now we just have to hope something serious happens to the others...
Unfortunately for her, nothing terrible happened to the others and the class was won by a very battered Suzuki Samurai which, to demonstrate the fact that Russians have a seriously different idea to what 'easy off-roading' is to the rest of the world, on the final meters of the final stage we watched it being winched backwards off a cliff...

TR2 is for much more seriously prepared cars, stripped out, lifted and with modified bodies and the routes are correspondingly much harder. My Kazakhstani friends were boiling their national dish plov as they generously handed out shots of vodka. Three brand new Land Cruisers and a Iveco 4x4 support truck crowded around their camp while their Land Rover 90 was jacked up having it's break pads replaced. It's just fun, Marat Abikaev smiled as he refilled my glass. There are no bogs in Kazakhstan, so we come here. But money is not the only thing that you need to succeed in Ladoga 3800km was a long way to come to finish last in class. Marat shrugged dismissively. We came and did Ladoga! That's good! And look, we are here at the finish, so really we won, huh!

The only difference TR3 and Proto cars is in the size of the tyres. 940mm is the maximum allowed for the Russian off-road championship, so TR3 is where the home-grown beasts compete together and Proto is the almost mythological elite class where machines on meter-tall tyres, four winches and even the Frog, the independent-armed, chain-driver buggy go. TR3 was rather thin this year, but the Proto class was full of the usual monsters tackling conditions that are so hard, in places so remote, that people just don't get to see what happens.
Proto is very special, says Finnish driver Tapio Siitonen next to his beautiful Land Rover Wildcat looking car. You can't think about what your competitors are doing, you don't look at their times. It's so difficult here that it's only the conditions that you compete against, only the bog that is so wide you don't know where you can winch to, or the river that you have to cross that is almost to hard to swim across. You get through the stage and only then do you look at what others have done.
This sentiment was echoed by the eventual winner Aigar Zeiza in his Nissan Patrol derived Proto which stood on Volvo Laplander axles and a nice homemade twin A-frame suspension set-up that allows for great articulation. I asked him what it takes to conquer the hardest class at Ladoga. In your car you have to be light weight and have a low centre of gravity and have lots of under body protection. For the drivers you need to focus on every 10 metres that come, just think about how to get through the piece of road right in front of you as fast as you can with no damage. You just go through each stage like that and then you see what other people have done. But you just have to hope that nothing breaks, so you need luck too. Then the last thing is the team. You have to have mechanics that know the car, people to run around getting food and making the camp, to be at the end of the stage with the trailer. Everything is important!

A new class called Grand Tourism has run for the last couple of years but it is almost derided by some of the more hardened off-roaders as an Easter-egg hunt in the woods, but the Belgian crew of Quentin Monteyne and Filip Van Vracem in their Range Rover Classic thought that this was an unfair comment. Originally they were entered in TR1 but got let down somewhat by their team having to pull out at the last minute. Determined not to give up they bravely entered the unknown GT class. Its the only class you can hope to do without a support vehicle following you with supplies and spares, so actually it's much cheaper to come and do, Filip said. Quentin added, The days consist of following what Brits would call green lane trails which are liberally interspersed with winching sections while scouring the Russian landscape hunting for clues using GPS. We were actually driving in the lake the other day, as the road went through it. There are river crossings that are knee deep, or crotch deep if you take a wrong step, diff-crunching rocks, bogs to cross, trees and if you get stuck behind the Toyota Tundra it leaves a right mess of the trail! The organisers almost dismiss Grand Tourism as not real off-roading, but the Russians just have a totally whacked idea of what easy and hard are. GT is hard off-roading and its an excellent format, brilliantly organised and the language barrier isnt a problem because everyone is so eager to help all the time. Grand Tourism at Ladoga is well recommended, it's excellent fun! In fact they enjoyed themselves so much that the organisers even created a special prize for them at the closing ceremony, that of Most Optimistic Crew'.

So what exactly is Ladoga and where does it fit in the world stage of high-class motorsport events? Despite all the photos people fawn over every year, the videos of drowning cars, the scale and fabled severity of the event, as well as the fact that it is held far away in the perpetually light forests of Russia, a myth status seems to have grown up around it which means that it is not an easy event to define. At first I was thinking that its definition was to be found in the muddied faces of those in camp almost dropping from exhaustion, but then I realised that actually, it's more in their smiles the secret of Ladoga is in the challenge it presents and the pride felt from surpassing it. Its a life-enriching adventure, an expedition into the unknown and its true definition is found in the hardships youre thoroughly mentally and physically exhausted and the car is on its last legs and its only Tuesday. It's the friendships formed in the swamps, a winch line thrown, a spanner lent, mud brothers for life as well as the electric sense of anticipation you feel rolling up onto the start ramp and knowing that the sight of your name on the finish board is something that you are never going to forget ... It's not the Paris Dakar, and nor does it aspire to be, but for those who bash and weld away at their beloved off-roaders and take part in weekend winch challenges I would say that it has to be considered one of the worlds ultimate off-road challenges.

For the gallery please have a look at World 4x4 Adventures

For the official website -

Class system at a glance...

TR1 820mm tyres (32.2 inches). No beadlocks. Can only modify body to fit winch. Back seats can be taken out and back windows can be replaced with plastic or metal. Only 1 winch. Original engine and transmission.

TR2 2 winches. Portals only if original (UAZ, Volvo etc) Any engine or gearbox modifications, but have to keep the original casings. Plastic windows, beadlocks and central tyre inflation systems are allowed. 35.4 inch tyres.

RAID Same as TR2, but tackling the stages in groups of 2 or 3 vehicles.

TR3 / PROTO. Free construction. Only limit is tyre size, 37 inch for TR3 and 40 inches, or 1 meter for Proto.

Difflocks are allowed in all classes.

TOURISM Same as TR1, but with 33 inch tyres if vehicle is a long wheel base. Follows TR1 route, but stages are not timed, just passed. Scoring is from getting through every stage and the times from the Night Orienteering, Beach and Dune races.

OPEN TOURISM Same rules as Tourism, but following TR2 route.

GRAND TOURISM GPS hunt, green laning drive and winch challenge all rolled into one. The best fun in Ladoga and youll also get to see a lot of the local culture. Excellent first-timer class.

DISCOVERY Basically for spectators.
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Old 24th June 2010, 22:45   #11
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Some pics )) ..................
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Russia's Ladoga Trophy-27.jpg  

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Old 24th June 2010, 23:33   #12
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And this is the support truck for the G-wagon in the video above... It weighs 4 tonnes and is bullet proof ))
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Old 25th June 2010, 07:59   #13
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Default great write up

Quote:
Originally Posted by robb4x4 View Post
And this is the support truck for the G-wagon in the video above... It weighs 4 tonnes and is bullet proof ))
the dartz-kombat , that thing is bigger than hummer.
Quote:
Russia's Ladoga Trophy-dartzkombatt9800.jpg

Russia's Ladoga Trophy-kombat001.jpg

Russia's Ladoga Trophy-kombat003.jpg
robb4x4 great write up ,
looking forward to next post.
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Old 25th June 2010, 09:22   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robb4x4 View Post
Namaste! ))

I'd just like to ask whether anyone would appreciate me posting a report and a few images of one of the world's premier off-roading events, the Ladoga Trophy, held in Russia. (9 days, 1200km, 160 vehicles ... )

(I thought it would be best to ask first ... ))

Hey Robb,

Good to see you in this forum. Also pleased that you are interested in 4x4 of this part of the world.

Cheers
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