Siberia 1990

To celebrate the start of a new decade of adventures, the organisers of Camel Trophy decided to move out of the familiar environment of tropical rainforests. For the first time in Camel Trophy's history, the event was held in the northern hemisphere. Not only north of the equator but in the Soviet Union.  The mystical setting was the vast and fascinating forests of Eastern Siberia, the Tiga, in the vicinity of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Biakal.

Moreover, the eleventh Camel Trophy assumed considerable historic significance since no international event of its kind had ever before been organised or undertaken in the USSR - Glasnost and Perestroika were still a year or so away.

"It's difficult to understand and impossible to explain. At the time of Camel Trophy 1990, the great Soviet Empire was on the verge of its death. A lucky star led us into the wonderful world of Camel Trophy and gave us dozens of friends from countries that since childhood were considered our enemies.  We welcomed them, showed them a few wild and harsh corners of Russian nature in Siberia.  1990 marked the return of the American team to Camel Trophy and it was another good symbol!  Now we are members together of the of Camel Trophy family!"

Mark Podolskiy, Team Soviet Union 1990, speaking at #RU19

Crossing the border was still a formidable undertaking.  Ron Neely, special tasks coordinator, smuggled Northern Irish moonshine, called poitin, into USSR in bottles of Smirnov vodka.

In keeping with a completely new location was a completely new vehicle.  Originally known as the "Jay", Camel Trophy 1990 was the first of many events to feature the new Discovery.  In 1990 the three-door 2.5 Tdi proved to be more than up to the task and received nothing but praise from the sixteen teams that competed in Siberia. This in itself was something of a record, representing the greatest number of nations ever to have competed in Camel Trophy up to that point.

Setting out from the start at Bratsk in a southerly direction to Kob, then through the truly vast Tiga Forest, via Kachug to Lake Biakal then west to the finish at Irkutsk on the Angara River. The total, just over 1,600 km of some of the remotest country on the face of the earth.

At the end of the event, overall victory went to the Dutch team of Rob Kamps and Stijn Luyx, who took the Camel Trophy for the Netherlands for the second time.  The coveted Team Spirit Award went to the popular team from the Canary Islands of Carlos Barreto and Fernando Martin.


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