During the last week of August, four teams representing the armed forces of Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan and China competed in a series of mechanised competition activities called the Masters of Armored Vehicles Championship.
Think of it as the X-Games with big trucks, lots of mud, and a raccoon mascot called ‘Avtoshka’.
The games are hosted by the Russian Ministry of Defence, at a Russian Training Facility, in Russia, where each team of 10, made up of drivers, mechanics and support personnel, uses Russian made trucks and 4x4 vehicles to compete in a series of challenges, to the thrill of thousands of Russian spectators.
It may come as no surprise then, that the winners of the 2020 Championship were the Russian Federation Team. With 100 per cent of individual event success.
Incorporated as part of the 2020 Army International Games, the Masters of Armored Vehicles Championship combines driving ability with technical skill, and sees the teams competing in a variety of events against the clock.
From a tank recovery, using a Kamaz articulated truck to load and move a stricken T-72 tank within a confined area, to vehicle servicing, tyre replacement and logistics activities, the events prioritise teamwork and accuracy as well as speed. The events use the team's skills with a number of heavy and light vehicles with the week-long competition culminating in a team relay.
This event uses 4x4 Kamaz trucks as well as 4x4 UAZ ‘Patriot’ SUVs in a timed driver-change relay through a number of obstacles including water and mud crossings. It's no minor challenge either, with the water fording section requiring drivers to negotiate a 0.5m depth, up to a 1.7m depth; challenging the Kamaz's 1.75m wading limit. The course is 7.6km long for each driver 'lap'.
Kamaz trucks have obtained a level of notoriety through their Dakar Rally performances, where the brand had taken truck-category victory a whopping seventeen times. The military specification trucks are powered by 12-litre V8 turbo diesel engines with 206kW and 1177Nm available.
The UAZ Patriot SUV has replaced the venerable UAZ-469 as a military support vehicle. The 469 has been in service since 1964 and is still produced in a civilian version to this day, called the Hunter. A civilian Patriot is also available and is offered with a 110kW/235Nm 2.7-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with a dual-range transfer case and permanent four-wheel drive.
A double-cab ute variant is also available.
The Masters of Armored Vehicles Championship has been running since 2015, with the Russian team securing victory each year. For 2020, the Russian team finished in first place, followed by China, Uzbekistan and Belarus. The Masters of Armored Vehicle Championships will be run again in August 2021.