Although the plan was for Orlin Alexiev to participate in the race, things didn’t work out for him. The reason was the late delivery of his new car, which was supposed to be part of the race.
Most of you know that Orlin Alexiev will be the Bulgarian representative at the Dakar Rally together with Todor Hristov in 2023. For this purpose, both of them had to start their preparations, and it was most appropriate to do it at the Samokov Trophy this year. Unfortunately, the vehicle they were supposed to drive, the UTV buggy Can-Am Maverick X3 1000, failed to reach Bulgarian soil in time for the National Off-Road Championships. As a result, Orlin Alexiev was also unable to make the planned tests of the vehicle. However, the organizers saw fit to have him participate in another way and gave him the task of awarding the deserving winners. In the meantime, he took the opportunity to talk about some of his future plans.
The Samokov Trophy has been running for a number of years, with the 2021 event involving 500km of terrain to cover and ending at the Rideau MotoGP. The race has been the focus of riders from all over Europe and is a major event not only for the region, but also for the country. This year, the race was opened by Vladimir Georgiev, the Mayor of Samokov. Cars from Kazakhstan, Greece, Romania, Turkey and of course Bulgaria took part. The start was given from the city center and lasted 3 days as usual. It has become a regular part of the Automobile Federation of Bulgaria.
Who were the winners?
As already mentioned Orlin Alexiev handed out the trophies to the winners, all of whom had impressive results this year. As with any other rally, vehicles compete in different categories. In the standard car category, Andon Andonov and Emil Dimitrov topped the standings. In the category of the heaviest prototypes, the victory went to Ivan Penchev and Daniel Gospodinov. They had to compete against the extremely skillful drivers from Kazakhstan and Turkey. In the debutants’ category, VladiRadenkov and MetodiPaunov took the prize. Their team was awarded with the highest average maintained speed during the race. Also interesting were the father and son pair in the boosted standard cars – KaloyanNaydenov and TsvetanNaydenov. They drove a Jeep Cherokee, and this is not their first win ever with this vehicle.
What was new?
A rally always brings a lot of emotions to the participants. To a large extent this is also the motivation of most of them. However, it is not possible for a race to stay the same all the time. This is the reason why this year an innovation for satellite tracking was introduced. The system gave full information about the movement of the cars and even processed the results afterwards. Naturally, the race was not without some minor difficulties related to a hacking attack on the new system, but the situation was brought under control within 15 minutes, which did not hinder the competitors or affect the results in any way.
This race is the 3rd round of the National Off-Road Championship in the country. It is held with the support of the municipality and gathers guests from all over Bulgaria. The race is a bit different from the others because it includes terrains that are of different complexity. Not in vain it is called off-road championship. In the Samokov Trophy, competitors have to go through terrains such as swamps, ravines and riverbeds. This year, logging roads have also been added to the programme. However, the best drivers and their navigators are distinguished by the high speed they maintain, as well as their skill when the terrain reaches downhills and uphills. There are not a few riders who return to each successive race honed and ready to face all the miles the organisers have in store for them. The navigators also face huge challenges considering what the region is like.