RBI Sport with Rallye Breslau and Ultra4 have joined forces to write an important new chapter in the history of the international off-road. This first step that Alex Kovatchev and Dave Cole have taken together is the prelude to a more assiduous and fruitful collaboration that will produce an incredible game changer in the off-road world in the future. 2023 will see the first step of this collaboration with the Ultra4 teams (European and American) who will participate in the Rallye Breslau.
Photography and Story by Paolo Baraldi
On 14 October 2022, RBI Sport announced the 2023 race calendar made up of the three classics of this organizer:
- Fenix Rallye (14-22 March)
- Rallye Breslau (25-30 June)
- Balkan Offroad Rallye (1-6 October).
Similarly, on December 15th 2022, Ultra4 Europe presented its race calendar for 2023 which, in addition to the European Championship and the British Championship, sees the introduction of the International Championship:
- The Genesis (28-30 April - British Championship)
- King of Poland (16-18 June - European and International Championship)
- Rallye Breslau (25-30 June - European and International Championship)
- King of Britain (4-6 August – British, European and International Championship)
- King of France (8-10 September - European Championship).
- King of Portugal (4-7 October – European and International Championship)
- The Redemption (20-22 October – British Championship)
I find it very interesting to see Ultra4 introducing the International Championship which will bring the American Ultra4 teams to race in Europe, and it will be even more promising to see the Ultra4 drivers (US and European) compete with the routes of the longest running European race : the Rallye Breslau.
Simultaneously, on opposite sides of the pond, Dave Cole and Alexander Kovatchev were innovators in the off-road world. In 2007 Dave Cole, with the first King of the Hammers, created a new concept of racing by introducing the Ultra4 vehicles. In 2011, Alexander Kovatchev took over the direction of Rallye Breslau innovating it, introducing the Cross Country category and bringing the quality standards of the race to the same level and perhaps even higher than other more famous international races. Simultaneously Alexander grew his two other races (Fenix Rallye and Balkan Offroad Rallye) thus offering its participants different types of racing terrains and sports experiences.
Today the King of the Hammers has become a unique week-long event that attracts drivers and spectators from all over the world and at the same time has exported this specialty outside the United States.
Thanks to Alexander Kovatchev's sporting vision and his professionalism, Rallye Breslau has grown both in number of participants, with the 2021 record of 404 participating teams, and in quality standards with the ability not to lose the atmosphere of the first Breslau . Thanks to Alex, today the Rallye Breslau is considered the Dakar of Europe.
Dave Cole took an Ultra4 4400 vehicle to Score and competed in the Baja 1000, this raised the interest in Ultra4 outside of mainstream Ultra4 racing family and within no time, an Ultra4 class was created in the Baja 1000, in other Score events; also The Mint 400 has an Ultra4 class. This principle can be read across to applying it to the Rally Breslau where next year we will see the Ultra4 category competing. I know Alex and Dave have been discussing plans and ideas to do this within all RBI Sport events. I am sure that the future of this collaboration will be a success for the enjoyment of the teams of these two great families and for all offroad enthusiasts.
This unique partnership it will come to light in the end of June 2023 with Rallye Breslau!
Ultra4 competitors from USA and Ultra4 competitors from Europe will race Rallye Breslau in Poland, which is the second of the three events of the RBI Sport calendar 2023 and will be taking place from 25th to 30th of June. Ultra4 Europe will include Rallye Breslau to its adrenaline pumping race calendar for 2023.
In addition, a plan for 2024 will be established and it will include the Ultra4 class in all RBI Sport events: Fenix Rally in the Tunisian Sahara, in March, Rallye Breslau in Poland in the end of June/beginning of July and Balkan Offroad Rallye in the mountains and valleys of Transylvania/Romania in the beginning of October.
In this regard it is interesting to read the comments of Alexander Kovatchev and Dave Cole.
Kovatchev says: “I am happy that Dave and I work in one direction and share common values in terms of the overall organization of off-road events. We want to deliver high quality experience to the participants and assist them in making life time memories in a very friendly atmosphere despite of the competitive characteristics of a rally. We both know our teams and what they love at the races. I very much look forward to this great cooperation.“
Cole says: “Since the founding of King of the Hammers and Ultra4, our mission has been to give teams the o pportunity to prove their skill while also having Lifetime Experiences. Alex and the RBI team exemplify this approach. This opportunity is an honour, one which I’m sure our drivers will rise to the challenge. Thank you RBI for allowing us to join your party.”
Already at work on the first important step of this partnership between RBI Sport and Ultra4
Chris Bowler, responsible for race planning and compliance of vehicles and race courses for Ultra4 Europe, is already working with the technical staff of RBI Sport to create an Ultra competitive class within the General Regulation, the Technical Regulation and the Sporting Regulations of Rallye Breslau to ensure that Ultra4 vehicles and competing teams make a seemingly minor transition to what is a different style racing event to what would normally take place in Ultra 4.
“Despite this transitinon”, Chris says, “both the Rally Breslau and Ultra4 events combine the qualities of endurance, technical excellence, crew and support crew teamwork, spirit of adventure and a desire to overcome all obstacles, both physical and mental, to win. So even though some aspects of the 2 styles of events are different, the fundamentals are very similar."
RBI Sport with Rallye Breslau and Ultra4 have joined forces to write an important new chapter in the history of International Off-road competition. (official joint announcement)
Alexander Kovatchev (CEO of RBI Sport and Clerk of the Course of all rallies) and Dave Cole (Owner/Executive Director of Hammerking Productions and Ultra4), after only a few minutes of meeting, found themselves sharing the same vision for the future of this sport. Both started from common foundations such as the deep passion for motorsports and in particular for the off-road discipline. Alex and Dave are successful motorsport drivers and share common opinions on topics like high quality and professionalism in the management of off-road events.
From these solid foundations, the idea of this partnership was born. It will come to light this year at the end of June, with Rallye Breslau. Ultra4 competitors from USA and Ultra4 competitors from Europe will race Rallye Breslau in Poland, which is the second of the three events of the RBI Sport calendar 2023 and will be taking place from 25th to 30th of June 2023.
Ultra4 Europe will include Rallye Breslau to its adrenaline pumping race calendar for 2023.
In addition, a plan for 2024 will be established and it will include the Ultra4 class in all RBI Sport events: Fenix Rally in the Tunisian Sahara, in March; Rallye Breslau in Poland in the end of June/beginning of July and Balkan Offroad Rallye in the mountains and valleys of Transylvania/Romania in the beginning of October.
RBI Sport and Ultra4 are working towards the creation of a new competitive class for Ultra4 vehicles. It will differ from all other existing classes in RBI Sport events .
The integration of Rallye Breslau into the Ultra4 Europe championship is a great opportunity for everyone - both for the two organizers and especially for teams who will be able to be fully involved in a new, full-blooded race experience.
Alex says: “ I am happy that Dave and I work in one direction and share common values in terms of the overall organization of off-road events. We want to deliver high quality experience to the participants and assist them in making life time memories in a very friendly atmosphere despite of the competitive characteristics of a rally. We both know our teams and what they love at the races. I very much look forward to this great cooperation. “
“Since the founding of King of the Hammers and Ultra4, our mission has been to give teams the opportunity to prove their skill while also having Lifetime Experiences. Alex and the RBI team exemplify this approach. This opportunity is an honour, one which I’m sure our drivers will rise to the challenge. Thank you RBI for allowing us to join your party.” Dave Cole
This first step that Alex and Dave have taken together is the prelude to a more assiduous and fruitful collaboration that will produce an incredible, game changing environment in the off-road world in the future.
More about the Organizers and the events
- About RBI Sport
RBI Sport’s ultimate goal has always been to create and provide the outmost rally experience for rally enthusiasts from across the world, regardless of their level of involvement in the sport.
Years of racing experience, research, creative meetings and thorough planning has led to the creation of three distinctive events with unique features aiming to satisfy all tastes.
Fenix Rally in Tunisia - With a unique exotic note to it, this rally originated in 2021, has already made its way into the hearts of those who have participated, establishing itself as a benchmark for desert rallies.
Rallye Breslau in Poland – With 27 years of history, it has made itself known as “The Dakar of Europe”, while in 2021 it achieved a world record with 404 competitor teams.
Balkan Offroad Rallye has a 10-year history, with the 10th edition in 2022 returning to Romania, the birthplace of this rally, but also a pure paradise for off-roading, featuring brilliant routes not only for the cross country category but for the extreme trophy fans as well.
In addition to the organization of annual events, RBI Sport provides GPS Tracking & Timing Solution to numerous international motorsport events in Europe and Africa.
- About Hammerking Production
The founders of Hammerking are the force that founded the National race series, Ultra4 Racing, and the toughest week of one-day, off-road races in the world, King of The Hammers. This amazing event takes place at the beginning of the year, on public lands in Johnson Valley, California. The race has evolved from 12 teams racing for bragging rights and a case of beer, to more than 530 teams competing in front of more than 80,000 fans in person and 2 million viewers online. Due to the incredible success of King of the Hammers, Hammerking Productions created the Ultra4Racing Series, which has grown internationally. Each National Ultra4 series race is a qualifier for the King of the Hammers race for the upcoming year. Hammerking was the establishing series of the Unlimited class, as we know them, the Ultra4 or 4400 race car. The defining characteristics of this class are the sturdy 4-wheel drive and unlimited builds. These cars come in all shapes and sizes, are capable of speeds over 100+ mph and contain gear ratios as low as 100 to 1 for technical rock crawling. Additional classes in Ultra 4 include the: Every Man’s Challenge which encompasses 4600 Stock, 4500 Modified and 4800 Legend’s cars. The fastest growing class is the 4900 UTV class and newest is the Electric Vehicle (EV) class. Motos and a Rock Bouncer’s Shootout are also held at KOH. Ultra4 series drivers can showcase their unique capabilities, whether the driver has dreams of building a racecar in their garage during free time, or with factory-backed support. The series challenges drivers to compete in a wide variety of terrain from endurance desert racing, competition-style rock crawls, short course racing and more. Currently Ultra4 has races in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. These races take place on both public lands and on private property around the world. Hammerking Productions has produced eight, full-length feature films chronicling King of the Hammers races, as well as the KOH live show yearly with all production in-house. These award-winning movies have helped shine a spotlight on the racing discipline around the world.
Official websites: www.kingofthehammers.com
- About Ultra4 Europe
Everyone knows everything about King of the Hammers, its kings and how it was born. And what about Ultra4 Europe? In 2009 videos, pictures and stories from King of the Hammers started to arriving in Europe and immediately a large number of European off-road enthusiasts was in love for this kind of race. In the following years many drivers from Europe went to compete at KOH. 2012 was the year of the first Ultra4 race in Europe; the race took place in Wales and was called King of Valleys. For 2 years the King of Valleys represented Ultra4 in Europe. In 2013 the King of Portugal was added and in 2014 Ultra4 Europe was born with its championship composed of 3 races: King of the Mountains (IT), King of Valleys (UK) and King of Portugal (P).
Today, Ultra4 Europe is a huge reality in the European off-road world. Every year there is a championship and even if the race course is different from that in the Johnson Valley, Ultra4 Europe, it offers to its drivers very difficult and demanding terrain. Due to the diversity of the competition fields (rocks, mud, water, forests and dusty-fast tracks) it can be said that the Ultra4 Europe championship is one of the most complete in Europe. As for King of the Hammers, the categories of Ultra4 Europe are: 4400 Unlimited, 4800 Legend, 4600 Stock, 4500 Modified and 4900 UTV.
Official websites: www.ultra4europe.com
- About Rallye Breslau
Rallye Breslau is the oldest off-road rally in Europe. It is a legendary endurance battle of man vs. machine, with a long history among rally veterans and big names of well-respected racers from the off-road world. Competitors often call it “The Dakar of Europe”, referring to its high level of professionalism, competition, challenging terrain and exciting off-road mayhem. Thus, it is only fair to be seen as the epitome of RBI Sport events, a rally that has been associated with thrilling moments.
Yet, since words are poor to do it justice, some facts about Breslau Rallye might do the trick instead. In 2021, during covid times, Rallye Breslau broke world records with a number of 404 signed competitors from all over Europe and 2000 people in the bivouac! A year later, with life and events slowly going back to normal, Rally Breslau managed to acquire once again the impressive number of 270 team entries in all classes. On top of that, the official Facebook page of the event reached 1 million people from around the world, an enormous achievement given the circumstances.
The rally is suitable for any team wanting to compete in one of the following Classes: motorbike/Enduro, ATV/quads, side-by-sides, cars or trucks.
It is meticulously designed for rally enthusiasts – either for professionals eager to race in FIA/FIM World Championships, or for racers/athletes aiming to train themselves and their vehicles for the Dakar.
Competitors can choose to compete either in the Cross Country or in the Extreme Category. Cross Country is the classic rallying with challenging navigation in combination with off-road. The Extreme is more about hardcore off-road in mud, water swamps and right tactics. There are also fast passages and a road book. But in the Extreme, the focus is mostly pointed on the perfect slowness in combination with the tactical skills of the participants.
Moreover, the rally provides a further opportunity for teams that want to live the full rally experience and navigate through the rallies' route, without the pressure of time. This opportunity can be found in the Discovery Category, where participants are equipped with a GPS, while they can simultaneously exercise and advance their navigating skills practicing using the road book. These participants can breathe real “motorsport air”, but inside the real action instead of just being a spectator.
Rallye Breslau 2023 will offer a qualifying stage plus 5 full rally days in some of the greatest regions and landscapes that Poland has to offer. Fast tracks, extreme obstacles, massive water swamps – only to name a few of the challenges that constitute this rally.
It is as simple as that – if you live and breathe for raw adventures and pure off-roading, you wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to become a part of this incredible challenge.
Official websites: www.rallye-breslau.com