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Rally on a grand scale – Silk Way ready for Cross-Country Rally Championship 

A Dakar-sized adventure awaits for round two of the FIM Cross-Country Rally Championship at the Silk Way Rally 2019.


Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia and 60km from Lake Baikal, will host the administrative and technical checks for the 2019 Silk Way Rally, beginning this week July 6-16. 

Round two of the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rally Championship is a fresh race for all competitors and teams picking up after the opening round in Abu Dhabi. The Silk Way Rally welcomes motorcycles and quads for the first time this year for the second round.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Abu Dhabi 2019 560

Sam Sunderland won the opening round of the series and has been concentrating on his training over the past few months as well as developing the KTM 450 RALLY machine. The KTM Factory awning will be shared at this event by Luciano Benavides and Laia Sanz. 

Andrew Short will be the only rider to represent Husqvarna with team-mate Pablo Quintanilla – along with Dakar Rally 2019 winner, Toby Price plus Matthias Walkner – still recovering from their Dakar injuries.

Andrew Short Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing 560

Honda fields the racing trio of Kevin Benavides, Juan Barreda and Jose Cornejo, while Yamaha has entered the event with Adrien Van Beveren, Xavier de Soultrait and Franco Caimi. 

Portugal’s Paulo Gonçalves makes his world championship debut with the Hero Racing Team and compete the Silk Way Rally alongside Oriol Mena.

Hero MotoSports Rally Gonçalves 560

Epic 5000 kilometre, nine day race

The ninth edition of the Silk Way Rally is not for the feint-hearted. The route features a route of 5,007.96km, including 2,593.15km of special stages. 

The Silk Way is classed as a Marathon Rally which means the usual points awarded at the finish are multiplied by 1.5. That, combined with participation points awarded per stage, mean a good result is important for any rider with world title hopes.

Riders will cross the taiga or boreal forest region of Eastern Siberia in Russia where temperatures will be in contrast to the later stages of the event. The rally then navigates the vast Lake Baikal and heads south towards Ulaanbaatar and the Mongolian steppes – a giant grassland area. The rally continues to head south across Mongolia dropping into China and attacking the more familiar riding terrain, if not location, and the dunes of the Gobi Desert.

SWR2019 Route 1

Silk Way Rally 2019 daily route:

July 7, 2019

1st leg: Irkutsk - Baikalsk (Russia)

Total: 255.53km including 50.87km in Special

July 8, 2019 

2nd Leg: Baikalsk - Ulan-Ude (Russia)

Total : 413,63 km including 212,02 km in Special

July 9, 2019 

3rd Leg: Ulan-Ude - Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) 

Total : 691,35 km including 243 km in Special

July 10, 2019 

4th Leg: Ulaanbaatar - Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) 

Total: 476,96 km including 470,19 km in Special

July 11, 2019 

5th Leg: Ulaanbaatar - Mandalgovi (Mongolia) 

Total: 364,59 km including 337 km in Special

July 12, 2019 

6e étape : Mandalgovi - Dalanzadgad (Mongolia) 

Total: 411,75 km including 408,17 km in Special

July 13, 2019 

7th Leg: Dalanzadgad - Bayinbaolige (China) 

Total: 550.66km including 370.37km to the border and 180.29 km to the border ... 

No special, crossing the Chinese border.

July 14, 2019 

8th Leg: Bayinbaolige - Alashan (China) 

Total: 785,11 km including 326,60 km in Special

July 15, 2019 

9th Leg: Alashan - Jiayuguan (China) 

Total: 501,20 km including 290,30 km in Special

July 16, 2019 

10th Leg: Jiayuguan - Dunhuang (China) 

Total: 556,66 km including 255 km in Special

Photo Credit: Rally Zone
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester