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TransOrientale Rally





SSC member James Embro is competing in the inaugural edition of the rally. The rally runs from June 12 through June 28 and will travel from St. Petersburg to the great wall of China.  Over 10,000 Km! 

James' competitor number is 56.  The class is the Marathon Rally Raid class. You can follow his progress using the iritrack system just like the Dakar rally used.  Click HERE to follow.


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Update from Alicia "James says that stage 6 was fast, sandy plains with no navigational problems. He is extremely sad over the death of the French rider # 42 and the Chinese driver.  He also said he thinks the reason for incurring the penalty on yesterday’s stage is due to possibly “missing a check point”. He has not thoroughly figured that out yet because of disorganization with rally officials."

There is a picture of James on the Transorientale website Go to Gallery, click on the picture window with the (2) girls on bicycles, then click picture # 2 above the word “archives.

Stage #1 - Saint-Petersburg - Rogatchevo (834 km, Special: 71km). The fastest part of the race starts from St. Petersburg to the Russian forest. This phase has sandy tracks and includes more challenging, high speed areas.

I talked with James today after today's stage.  He said that one of the fuel lines to the rear fuel tanks was damaged today when going through a big G-out.  He managed to limp the machine in but his overall position suffered by this mishap.  They have the bike repaired and are ready to go again tomorrow.  Position today was 35 out of 58 entrants in the bike category.

Stage #2 - Rogatchevo - Petrovsky (736 km, Special: 92 km). Takes drivers deep into Russia where pine trees and silver birches line the roads. More then 75% of this stage is sand tracks surrounded by forests and glades.

Stage #3 - Petrovsky - Yelabouga (574 km, Special: 152 km). The checkpoint takes place on the verge of the Volga River where drivers will enter Tatar country. Drivers have to be wary of ruts in the winding then long, final stretch of road.

Stage #4 - Yelabouga - Mrakovo (693km, Special: 123 km). In Stage 4, drivers need to concentrate intensely on navigation control as the track winds through fields and disappears sometimes. This segment includes both dirt and sandy roads.

KAZAKHSTAN

Stage #5 - Mrakovo - Bogotse (630km, Special: 294 km). Stage 5 brings the drivers through the mounts of Ural, the gateway between Europe and Asia. Competitors will discover a mid-range stage cut by valleys and fords in the highest part of the Ural’s. The trail borders an oil pipeline with changing landscapes and gravel bed track.

Stage #6 - Bogotse - Arkalik (705km, Special: 327 km). This part marks the beginning of the marathon stage, which is fast paced and difficult to navigate since it takes place on a gravel track with lots of bushes in the way. Incredibly long straightaways seem endless.

James finished 11th in stage six, 37th overall after today's stage.  He is shown with a penalty of 4 hours and 20 minutes.  He stated that he might have missed one checkpoint along the way.  Update from Alicia "James says that stage 6 was fast, sandy plains with no navigational problems. He is extremely sad over the death of the French rider # 42 and the Chinese driver.  He also said he thinks the reason for incurring the penalty on yesterday’s stage is due to possibly “missing a check point”. He has not thoroughly figured that out yet because of disorganization with rally officials."

There is a picture of James on the Transorientale website Go to Gallery, click on the picture window with the (2) girls on bicycles, then click picture # 2 above the word “archives.

Stage #7- Arkalik - Botakara (692km, Special: 322km). Competitors will reach their highest average speed in this stage that crosses many fields on a gravel track. Drivers need caution at fords where the water level changes, which can slow their average speeds.  TODAY'S STAGE CANCELLED DUE TO THE DEATHS OF TWO COMPETITORS-Word came from James at about 11:00 pm his time when he completed the transfer section from Arkalik to Botakara approx 1000 km. The organizers cancelled Stage 7 due to the deaths of the French rider # 42 and the Chinese driver of Team Nissan.
They did not get started on the “caravan” to Botakara until 10:30 am and with very poor roads James did not arrive to the bivouc until late. Due to the rough ride for assistance vehicles on very poorly constructed roads guys are not able to sleep in the trucks and are not getting to the bivouc until late then with having to prepare the bike for the following day’s ride they are all sleep deprived.

Disorganization with the Rally is causing James to be concerned for the overall safety of Rally participants. He has also not been able to determine from Rally Officials what the 4 hour penalty was caused from.

Tomorrow Stage 8 will prove to be the longest stage of the rally at 729 total km with the special being 446 km. Dirt and rocky tracks. Fast.
Please keep James and the entire rally in your prayers and once again thank you for your care and concern as we all share in the excitement of this great adventure James is on.

Stage #8 - Botakara - Ayaguz (729km, Special: 446km). The Transorientale’s longest phase, with dirt and gravel tracks. Drivers must beware of stone-lined tracks that run between huge prairies.

Stage #9 - Ayaguz - Karamay (528km, Special: 82km). This is the last stage in Kazakhstan, a short phase beginning in the prairie gravel and sand. Steep and slippery fords are available but difficult to traverse as are the winding paths through mountains that drivers must navigate.

CHINA

Stage #10- Karamay - Turfan (782km, Special: 341km). In this stage, drivers enter the first Chinese special which starts with 20 km of rough trails where the convoy first crosses. All vehicles must cross the border at the same time. The trails are made of grass and dirt and get quicker until the checkpoint, which is in mid-stage. Next, a swift toboggan run that opens up into Chinese sandy dunes.

Stage #12 - Turfan - Hami (513km, Special: 413km). Throughout gravel tracks, competitors will be driving below sea level in Turfan. The trail then switches to dunes until the checkered flag. This stage features 25 km of difficult sandy dunes. The trail borders treacherous, gigantic cliffs towards the end.

Stage #13 - Hami - Quinguan (727km, Special: 436km). An extremely long stage and hard to navigate with a rocky start. Competitors will race for 80 km among sandy and difficult dunes to find their way out of the rocks. However, navigation will be easy.

Stage #14 - Quinguan - Alxa Youqi (636km, Special: 286km). This stage starts with a tiny trail of dirt and gravel and goes into a deep valley. Drivers face deep gorges before hitting numerous sandy dunes which make navigation difficult. The final part of the stage makes it easier due to the presence gravel and grass.

Stage #15 - Alxa Youqi - Bayan Hot (589km, Special: 202km). In the heart of the Badain Jaran’ desert (South Mongolia), which includes the highest sandy dunes (up to 500 meters high), before competitors begin a rough race downhill. Lots of zig-zagging through lakes and dunes.

Stage #16 - Bayan Hot - Hohhot (740km, Special: 121km). Last stage of 2008 Transorientale. Very fast. A total of 121 km of dunes make again navigation difficult.

Stage #17 - Hohhot - Beijing (616km) Arrival- Beijing- Great Wall of China. Participants meet at the Great Wall of China, 80 km from Beijing.

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