Shortened from the original seven days racing to five, the 2021 Silk Way Rally saw Austrian Matthias Walkner, riding for Red Bull KTM, take the win. Walkner beat off strong challenges from Australian Daniel Sanders, riding for GasGas Factory Racing, along with American Skyler Howes on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna and Franco Caimi of Argentina riding for Hero Motorsports.
Starting in Omsk, Russia, the Silk Way Rally headed to Novosibirsk, where it was announced the rally route would be changed due to pandemic conditions in Mongolia. Day three saw participants heading to Gorno-Altaisk, where bivouac was made, with the remaining ice days conducted as repeat loop stages with modifications to route and distance.
Sole female competitor Anastasia Lianiova from Belarussia, riding a KTM 450 EXC-F in the Group 2 classification, did not place. Lianiova’s race performance earned her special mention from the race organisers while also celebrating her birthday during the race.
The Silk Way Rally is part of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies calendar, originally slated for 5,442 km of off-road racing across Russia and Mongolia, with 3,412 km of timed stages. However, issues with the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the final two days racing being held in Mongolia, with competitors.
Classified as a marathon event, the 2021 Silk Way Rally awards 1.5 times the usual number of points for wins and finishes, counting toward the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship table. Walkner currently leads the motorcycle rider’s championship standings with 57.5 points, followed by Howes with 36 points and Sanders with 32.5 points.