Baja Russia 2022: Tips for beginners or what is the difference between a snow and ice baja and a desert baja?


What is the difference between a snow-ice baja and a desert baja?

Baja Russia organizers asked this question to Boris Gadasin, two-time FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas winner, the only Russian driver who won the Silk Way Rally, and eight-time Russian Cross-Country champion. Gadasin became the Baja Northern Forest winner four times and studied the issue well.


If we talk about some advice for those who have never tried the snow and ice surface before, then the main thing to be prepared for is that snow, ice and what will be under the wheels at the Baja Northern Forest are absolutely unpredictable. That is, you can drive 100 meters and have an excellent grip – the car holds on to the road better than on gravel. Further you can get into some loose area, and the grip can disappear completely there. Therefore, the first thing to urge the competitors is that they should not assume they have understood the surface from the first kilometers. During the special stage the grip will change from zero to very good hundreds of times. So it is necessary to react precisely to the behavior of the car and not to think that if you have passed two corners and the car is holding on the track, then it will be the same in the third one. Most mistakes and crashes are related to this.

Tips for beginners or what is the difference between a snow and ice baja and a desert baja?


Second, it is necessary to practice and try to drive exactly “by sight”. The drivers who have spent their whole lives in the sand are very well oriented and can visually determine what they will find on the next section of the route, determine the density of the sand. The same thing is here – you need to analyze in advance, but it’s easier to do on the snow – dug areas or hard ones are visible on the snow and you need to be ready for them in advance. The same gradation corners must be passed at a speed of, say, 100 km/h, and the same corner with a different surface will have to be driven at a speed of 40 km/h. If you approach a corner and see with your eyes that it is loose and slippery, the reaction should be in advance, since overspeed in a corner is fraught with hitting the marbles. This is what people who have never driven in the snow should prepare for.


I love winter races because they are not monotonous in turns of pace. You must constantly seek the limit, but at the same time constantly retreat. Unlike the classic rally, in cross-country rallies you do not pass the track in advance and do not know the exact gradation of corners on the baja track – everything happens “by sight”. Rally drivers who can go fast enough often end up in a snowdrift, since it is enough to make a mistake once. The road is unknown, the surface is unknown, you have to react very quickly to what you see, to how the car is behaving.


If you see a rut on the sandy track, you should try to avoid it, try to go around, since the unduged sand will be denser. Everything is the opposite here – if you see a traffic-compacted road, you need to try to stay in it, since there will be a pressed surface, so the spikes will hold better. You need to change your habits here, remember that you are on the snow cover.

  • Tips for beginners or what is the difference between a snow and ice baja and a desert baja?


Of course, there are fairly standard mistakes that beginners who are unfamiliar with races in subzero temperatures make – driving through puddles or fords. They can be found at the Baja Russia – Northern Forest. In no case I recommend driving into the water at full speed, because the car will pass the water section quickly, but then you will have to stand for a long time and wait for the instantly formed ice on the windshield to melt. Even if the heater is good, you still have to wait, because when there is freezing temperature overboard, when there is a lot of suddenly formed water, it will freeze, hitting the windshield and there will be zero visibility. Many people make this mistake, even at Russian competitions; and people who are unfamiliar with northern races will find it out on the track and it becomes a surprise for them.

  • Tips for beginners or what is the difference between a snow and ice baja and a desert baja?

And there is one more piece of advice. Once our Brazilian friends took part in the Baja Northern Forest and Reinaldo Varela, who performed at T3, did not expect that, passing a frozen puddle, there was a section on a level with the ice where the ice was broken and the water was visible. They did not expect that there might be a “subway entrance” – such a deep hole. They drove at a high speed into an area with broken ice, fell with a wheel, felt an unpleasant hard step onto the ice, collected all the ice at full speed, and the windshield broke. It was possible to go around there, but the water beckoned and no one expected and did not understand that if you see ice and somewhere on the side there is a trail of broken ice, then it is better to go this place around, since it will be deep there. It is better to drive around on a hard surface, avoiding such holes with water.

As for special equipment, T1 and T2 class cars have no problems – a normally prepared car has a good heater and the weather does not cause discomfort for the crew. Special equipment is more needed for T3/T4 that do not have a sealed interior.

boris gadasin 20 12 w 2


Considering that the race goes along a certain route and along a certain road, there is a high degree of probability that someone will pull you out, so if you get stuck too much, a shovel will not help – it is better to prepare a cable here. If the car is hooked a little bit and there are hydropods, as in T1, then all the classic techniques are used – sand trucks, shovels, etc., as in the sands.

  • Tips for beginners or what is the difference between a snow and ice baja and a desert baja?


I do not use yellow glasses now, and in bright sunlight I just use polarized glasses to avoid glare. In cloudy weather I rely on my vision without extra lenses.

Good luck! Baja “Russia – Northern Forest” is a wonderful adventure that will give you an irreplaceable experience and improve your piloting skills! See you on the Igora Drive!


Source Baja Russia

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