80% of the country which used to be known as our limitless motherland is roadless. Even paved roads, often, are of very low quality. Apparently, that's why off-road vehicles are so popular in Russia.
The ancestor of all modern 4x4s is considered to be the Willys MB; the off-road vehicle of the joint production of Willys-Overland Motors and Ford. Later on, following the principles of this "all-terrain vehicle" the famous Land Rover.
Not surprisingly, the Jeep CJ6, a direct descendant of the legendary Willys, born in Ford factories, became the first car used at the initial stage of the legendary off-road world adventure the Camel Trophy™. And it's no surprise that Land Rover Range Rover became its worthy replacement, as well as in the history of the world car industry.
By the end of the 20th century, the century of the car, the great adventure of the Camel Trophy™ reached 1/6 of the earth's land area, occupied at that time by the country known as the USSR. The first stage of the expedition was to pass through the northern hemisphere. That is why 1990 is considered to be the starting year in the history of Russian off-roading. After this, huge amounts of people started getting involved in trips and off-road competitions.
1990: Siberia, the USSR
In 1990, the organisers of the Camel Trophy decided to hold a competition in the USSR, having travelled through Eastern Siberia. On the way the participants visited Krasnoyarsk, Bratsk and Irkutsk.
In 1990, the first three-door Land Rover Discovery TDi was introduced. Participants travelled through the endless Russian Taiga forest, braving a distance of 1,600 kilometres.
The winners were Rob Kamps and Stijn Luyx, who brought the award to the Netherlands for the second time. The team of Carlos Baretto and Fernando Martin from the Canary Islands, won the "Team Spirit" nomination.
1991: Tanzania - Burundi
In 1991, the Camel Trophy returned to the African continent. The Camel Trophy Tanzania Burundi'91 route lay across the border of the two countries. This year, the number of participating countries rose to 17, which was an absolute record. This time the crews competed driving the five-door version of the Discovery 200 Tdi.
The route of 1,600 kilometres ran along the path of the famous Scottish explorer David Livingstone, who discovered the source of the Nile in the XIX century.
As a result of the competition, the Austrian crew took the award for the "Special Task", the Turkish crew won the "Team Spirit" nomination and took the main Camel Trophy award.
The Russian team took part for the first time. Camel Trophy Guyana'92 pleasantly surprised the participants with good weather conditions. For the first time in the history of the competition, participants made their way through the jungle, not only by cars, but also by boats, reaching the Kaieteur waterfall, which is 5 times higher than Niagara Falls.
The crew from the USA won the award in the nomination "Team spirit", the award for the "Special Task" was given to the French crew and the Swedes, Alwin Arnold and Urs Buggisser, took the main award.
1993 - Sabah, Malaysia
Sabah is located in East Malaysia and is the second largest state of Malaysia. Previously, being a British colony, this area was called North Borneo; Camel Trophy was held there in 1993.
For the first time in the history of the competition, the route was looped, starting and ending in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the country. The programme also included a hike to the "Abandoned world", where participants crossed deserted jungle, which really was a historic journey.
As a result of the competition, the French crew won the award for the "Special Task", the crew of the Canary Islands took the award for "Team Spirit", and the main winners were the team from the United States.
1994: Argentina, Paraguay, Chile
For the first time in its 15-year history, the Camel Trophy passed through three countries - Argentina, Paraguay and Chile. Starting on 16th April, at the famous Iguazu Falls, located on the border of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, the convoy of British 4x4 Landrover, overcame the Paraguayan swamps, the majestic Andes and the lifeless Atacama Desert and finished on the Pacific coast, in the Chilean town of Playa de Hornitos. In total, the route was 2,500 kilometres.
For the first time women were among the Camel Trophy participants: 27-year-old Swede Christel Persson and 30-year-old Frenchwoman Carin Duret. For them, there were no indulgences, and they performed all tasks on par with men.
1995: Mundo Maya
Mundo Maya'95 ("Maya Land'95") - this time it was called the Camel Trophy marathon. Its route passed through the territory of five states of Central America: Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Participants of the competition had to make their way through the jungle, deserts, mountains and swamps. The faithful companions of the adventure were heat, mosquitoes, spiders, snakes and malaria.
The crew consisting of Pavel Bogomolov and Sergey Fenev from Russia won the award for "Team Spirit".
1996 - Kalimantan
The island of Kalimantan is located in the Malay Archipelago, in one of the most inaccessible exotic regions of the globe. The abundance of crossings, dips and steep thickets got in the way of the participants all along the route. This competition has become a landmark for the history of the national Camel Trophy. For the first time the Russian team consisting of Dmitry Surin and Alexey Sverkov got one of the main awards: Special Task award. Overall, the Russians took eighth place. The Greek team won. Also, for the first time this year, Land Rover established a special award. In this category, the Russians took second place.
1997 - Mongolia
A turning point for the Camel Trophy was the "Mongolia'97" competition, which, for the first time, brought together teams from 20 countries. The number of Special Tasks exceeded the expeditionary component, which turned the Camel Trophy into an all-round sports event with the use of canoes, bicycles and elements of orienteering on the ground. Cars have taken a back seat, becoming only a means of delivery from one sporting event to another. Also, for the first time, there was no single convoy and no overcoming obstacles by joint efforts. The teams were free to choose their travel routes, getting to the checkpoints their own way and even having the freedom to choose choose their fellow passengers. It was only necessary to arrive at the checkpoint at a certain time.
1998 - Tierra Del Fuego
The 1998 Camel Trophy was an abundance of snow and mountains. The venue for the Camel Trophy'98 was South America. The route passed through Chile and Argentina from Santiago to Cape Horn. The total length of the route was 5,000 kilometres. Each team made its way to the finish line alone. The strategy for completing the route was chosen individually: to reach each checkpoint the teams could use mountain bikes, canoes, skis, snowshoes or snowboards. This was the first time the car wasn't given the main role.
2000 - Tonga - Samoa
Initially, it was planned that the route would pass between the archipelagos of Fiji and Tonga. For the first time in history, the Camel Trophy participants had to overcome the distance not in cars, but on inflatable boats with Honda engines. The military coup in Fiji put a real spanner in the works, so it was decided that the competition be held on another group of islands - Samoa. As a result, the route was called Tonga - Samoa.