| 07/05/2014 | 0 Comments


RFC_Italy_14The soggy, muddy, slippery and treacherous terrain in the vicinity of the Isonzo River has the reputation of testing man and machine to the limit and beyond through the ages. Only the special warrior breed would be able to take their machines to rise above such punishing terrain.

Story by Luis J.A. Wee
Photos by Giulia Maroni

RFC_Italy_8The venue chosen was appropriate enough; former war zones from the Isonzo Front where a series of 12 battles were fought between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies during World War I. Further back into history, this northern part of Italy was also the conduit through which the Romans made military excursions and connections with the exotic world of Byzantium and the Orient as well as being a reverse conduit for the invasion of Rome. Truly, hard-fought battles took place in this region of flood prone riverbanks through the centuries in this flood prone riverbanks.

RFC_Italy_5Present day 21st century, the Isonzo region recently played host as a venue for sports tourism event: RFC Italy which is part of RFC Global Series 2014 calendar. This time, the storm troopers from Austria, Slovenia, Belgium and home teams Italy arrived at Farra D’Isonzo in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia for a battle of a different kind – that of extreme off-road 4×4. The winners get concessionary entry to the mother event Rainforest Challenge (RFC) to be held in Malaysia this 29 Nov – 8 Dec.

RFC_Italy_1“We use the undulating and untamed terrain here which is similar in difficulties from our experience in Malaysia,” commented Ales Plesnicar, the Event Director. “Every team here must learn how to tackle each SS with off-road skills and a corresponding mindset to match, otherwise they will not last the entire 10 days of the mother event RFC, especially the Twilight Zone,” he smiled.

RFC_Italy_11But, first, they must test themselves and their machines to the fullest and in the closest simulation to the mother event in the punishing terrain of the Isonzo. Twenty-nine combat 4×4 machines representing two classes assembled for battle; one from the Modified Class (full body RFC specifications) and the other the Proto/Tubular Class.

RFC_Italy_10D-Day commenced with a night Prologue Special Stage (SS) which was fast and furious as the teams zoomed off into the darkness from Tenuta Borgo Conventi, a vineyard mansion used in the event as start and finish point. Adrenalin was pumping high as this was also the first day of action. There was a touch human drama in the countryside for both the seasoned and the new entrants; however everyone finished in high spirits. It was a good warming up session and a prelude to the hard battles ahead

RFC_Italy_13The second and third days saw the warriors battling it out in more extreme stages along the vicinity of the arduous riverbanks, which tested their driving and recovery skills to the limit even for the more experienced team. The proto-type class faced harsher test than the modified 4×4 class, but they all faced extreme winching exercises whichever way they chose.

RFC_Italy_6Thus, for three days, they went through watery, muddy, sandy, soggy obstacles combined with narrow twists and turns through gullies and river banks that required strategy, skills in driving, maneuvering and recovery as the participants shake, rattle and roll their machines in the 16 Special Stages (SS). This year, the SS were longer, approximately 1 km in length filled with obstacles. There was, however, no let up in the action from day to day, which thrilled the weekend spectator crowds who came to Farra d’Isonzo, Gorizia & Gradisca d’Isonzo. to cheer their respective teams.

RFC_Italy_4The top three teams of each class fought intensely as they tried to outmatch and outmaneuvered each other for maximum points. The slightest error proved to be costly for the race to the top but they relished with gusto, that’s what they are here for.

RFC_Italy_12For the rest of the participants, this Italian spring event, the first to kick off RFC Global Series for this year was a series of exhausting 4×4 battles, it has also brought out the best in passion, style, skills, willpower, winch power and machine power from the race teams. For these modern-day warriors, it has been a tough weekend of hard fought battles no different from the days of old. At the end of the day, it was “Missione Compiuta.”


Classifica Preparati (full body 4×4 modified):

  1. Augusto Grandi / Riccardo Merlo (Suzuki Samurai)
  2. Giovanni Mascheroni / Joseph Maggioni (Suzuki Samurai)
  3. Marco Znuttini / Ivadi Calligaris (Land Rover Defender 90)

Classifica Speciali (proto-type)

  1. Bernhard Feeberger – Heinz Feeberger
  2. Axel Burmann / Tom Olieslangers
  3. Francesco Nano / Sebastian Casagrande


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Category: NEWS, SPORT

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