2022 UTV Rally Raid Calendar
Words: Anastasia Leniova
Photos: Provided by Respective Organizations
With some COVID uncertainty still in place, having survived the uneasy 2021, organizers look into 2022 with optimism, providing UTV racers with a whole bunch of navigation rally and baja championships and separate smaller enjoyable races of various complexity and length. Kicking off with the Dakar, for the first time a stage of the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship, the racing calendar remains busy throughout the year. Let’s hope none of the races included in this roundup gets cancelled!
FIA World Rally Raid Championship Race with the world’s best drivers
2022 becomes a milestone year for rally raids with the inception of the World Championship instead of the World Cup. With 21 crews in T3 (Lightweight Prototype) and nine in T4 (Light Standard) categories, SSV is the most populous category in the 2022 World Championship, consisting of five races. However, you don’t need to enter the Championship to enjoy any of them.
Dakar Rally, January 2 – 14, 2022: As always, in the beginning of the new year all eyes are on the Dakar. The “world’s toughest race” pays its third visit to Saudi Arabia, starting in Hail and concluding in Jeddah. Prologue and 12 stages will take the participants through picturesque canyons and cliffs of the Neom region, passing by the Red Sea coastline and the Rub’ al Khali sand dunes.
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, March 5 – 10, 2022: A usual stop for the FIA World Championship, this Challenging UAE five-day race took place in November the last two years, but now returned to its traditional dates in March. One of the world’s most prestigious international cross-country rallies, The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, founded in 1991, has seen many of the biggest names in international motorsport over the years tackle the dunes of the UAE.
Rally Kazakhstan, April 26 – 30, 2022: With this race having its debut as a FIA World Championship event in 2017, it will once again come around in a similar end of April timeframe. Racing five days, over around 2,000 kilometers, the participants will experience a lovely seashore bivouac in Aktau and all types of interesting terrain Kazakhstan has to offer.
Rallye du Maroc, October 6 – 12, 2022: This event will be traditionally held in the beginning October, and managed as well by the Dakar sports director David Castera. This major Moroccan rally continued to draw a record number of participants even during the pandemic, so it will likely be a full house come Autumn of 2022. The Open SSV Maroc Telecom category also offers a ticket to Dakar to the “Road to Dakar” challenge winner.
Andalucía Rally, June 8 – 12, 2022: This Spanish four-day race had to postpone their 2020 iteration, unsurprisingly, to May of 2021, at the same time announcing their premiere as a “Road to Dakar” challenge for T4 category. In 2022, the race is scheduled for June, becoming the stage of a FIA World Championship for the second time.
The 2022 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas is scheduled in eight rounds across Europe and the Middle East in order to provide a diverse and challenging season for competitors across the discipline.
- Baja Russia Northern Forest, February 11 – 13, 2022
- Jordan Baja, February 17 – 19, 2022
- Italian Baja, July 8 – 10, 2022
- Baja Spain Aragon, July 22 – 24, 2022
- Baja Poland, September 2 – 4, 2022
- Baja Portalegre, October 28 – 30, 2022
- Saudi Baja, November 10 – 12, 2022
- Dubai International Baja, December 1 – 3, 2022
FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas 2022
As part of efforts to promote Cross-Country Bajas in more countries and regions and help encourage new drivers and teams to the discipline, FIA introduces Regional Cups in 2021. The five-stage FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas provides entrants with a cost-effective opportunity to compete for an FIA title.
- Baja Dehesa Extremadura, Spain, April 29 – May 1, 2022
- Rally Greece Off-Road, Greece, May 27 – 29, 2022
- Italian Baja, Italy, July 8 – 10, 2022
- Hungarian Baja, Hungary, August 5 – 7, 2022
- Baja Poland, Poland, September 2 – 4, 2022
FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas 2022
This year, the Middle East not only hosts three events of the Baja World Cup, but also a separate four-stage FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas. Dunes, rocky trails and amazing landscapes – everything the Middle Eastern terrain has to offer.
- Jordan Baja, February 17 – 19, 2022
- Qatar International Baja, March 24 – 26, 2022
- Saudi Arabia Baja, November 10 – 12, 2022
- Dubai International Baja, December 1 – 3, 2022
A LOT OF PUNCH IN A SMALL(ER) PACKAGE – There are so many enjoyable events out there that may or may not be part of the World Championship, but they are no less memorable and leave a lasting impression on all who attend.
Baja Rally, three events – May 20 – 22, 2022; October 2 – 8, 2022; December 1 – 3, 2022: “Don’t be confused by the light walks, the GPS-guided babysitting tours. Baja Rally offers something different and better”, organizers promise. At a three races of different length near Mexican San Quintin and Cataviña, it’s possible to choose between roadbook navigation and Rally Comp Navigation, and newbies receive Rally-Raid Navigation training at no cost.
Silk Way Rally, July 6 – 16, 2022: Just reaching its teens, the Russian rally is ever-changing, traveling across a number of neighboring countries and this year remaining within Russia’s borders due to possible restrictions. The 10-plus-day rally will take place in July, beginning in Astrakhan dunes and continuing to Moscow’s Red Square through exotic regions with various terrain. The announced route length is over 4000 km, with 2800 of them being special stages.
Africa Eco Race, March 12 – 27, 2022: After the 2021 cancellation, this major rally marathon returns to the circuit on March 12-27th, 2022 bringing the participants from the official start in Monaco through Morocco, Mauritania and finally to the historic finish at the Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal. The route infamously traces much of the historic original Dakar Rally course. The organization is also working on a brand-new Algeria Eco Race, which was initially scheduled for October 2021, but had to be postponed due to another wave of Covid-19.
Rally dos Sertões, August 13 – 21, 2022: The Brazilian event is one of the great marathons of the ages, yet still relatively unknown… Next year’s edition of Sertões International Rally, scheduled for August, will mark the competition’s 30th anniversary! Around 5,000 kilometers of racing will bring the teams through all five regions of the beautiful South American country.
Yokohama Sonora Rally, March 14 – 18, 2022: This four to five-day navigation rally is the only of its kind in North America. The only Dakar Challenge, as well as an internationally recognized event funneling US talent into the FIM and FIA. Hosted in Mexico’s Sonora State, each stage offers a variety of terrain to rival its bigger cousins, while giving participants more than just a taste of dunes, boasting the largest of their kind in the entire continent.
Kalahari Rally, September 3 – 10, 2022: The intimate, yet no less important, South African race kicks off as their Winter becomes Spring and the USA’s Summer drifts into Fall. The perfect time to put in some practice before the races leading up to Dakar. Set in the vast open Savannahs and dunes through the famous Kalahari Desert, the racers experience as much culture and natural history as challenging terrain on their epic adventure over six days and up to 3,000 km of this diverse route includes riverbeds, mountains and sand dunes.
TransAnatolia Rally, August 13 – 21, 2022: Over its relatively short time, TransAnatolia has caught the attention of the International rally community, inviting races of various categories to test yourself as a driver. It offers competitors seven stages all across Turkey, SSVs are divided into FIA 4, SSV1 (up to 1050cc) and SSV2 (1050 and above cc) classes.
Portugal Rally, TBD: Organizers will release the Rally Guide with full details about the 2022 event on February 11th, 2022. Participants can choose to ride three or five days, with a total distance of 1,400 km, 80% gravel/dirt and 20% sand through a picturesque landscape immersed in the colorful, steadfast Portuguese culture.
Atacama Rally, August 29 – September 3, 2022: a high-level sports rally, challenging the dunes of the Atacama Desert. The route of over 1000 kilometers normally lies between dunes, valleys, mountains, dry rivers and coastal areas.
Fenix Rally, Tunisia, March 12 – 19, 2022: Participants are promised to enjoy seven days of desert racing in Tunisia with sunsets in the Sahara desert, great hotels and delicious food. Over half the race – 1,477 kilometers out of 2,300 – are the Special Stages.
VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS
Smaller European roadbook rallies are kicking into gear as well and are worth the trip overseas! All of which last four to six days, welcoming SSVs and UTVs of different displacements and combining gravel and mountain roads with an amazing group of professional and amateur riders. It’s an unintended plus to know this list is far from complete. There are so many more rallies and shorter roadbook “Bajas” on all (most) continents.
- Hellas Rally, Greece, May 22 – 29, 2022
- Greece Rally, Greece, August 28 – September 3, 2022
- Olympia Rally, Greece, April 4-9, 2022
- Rally Albania, Albania, June 4 – 11, 2022
- Dinaric Rally, Croatian Alps, August 21 – 27, 2022
- TransCarpathic Rally, Romania, September TBD, 2022