On 19 August 2007, the unique Scout Experience expedition reached its final destination, i.e., the monument marking the last kilometre of the Trans-Siberian Railway in Vladivostok, Russia. Using the world's longest road, the expedition route went across the whole of Russia, from Moscow to Vladivostok at the Japanese Sea.
The biggest challenge was the last stage in the Far East. Holey and bumpy as they are, the roads from Tchita to Khabarovsk indeed required maximum concentration. Dust was simply everywhere, and the crews did not have enough time for proper relaxation due to early departures and late arrivals caused by the extreme length of the trips (829 km from Tchita to Urushi, 775 km from Urushi to Blagoveshensk) and the poor condition of the roads.
The crews did over 10 thousand kilometres on tarmac (European part) and gravel roads (Siberia and the Far East), and the Skoda Octavia Scout vehicles indeed went through an extreme-condition test.
Altogether ten three-strong crews took part in the expedition. Besides Skoda Auto people, the list of participants included journalists from Russia, the Czech Republic Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Poland, Norway and China. In addition, people from local Russian media had a chance to take a test ride on the day when the expedition reached their city. As a result, over 100 drivers took turns behind the steering wheels of the ten Octavia Scouts.
The geographic reach of this extensive project is fascinating, too. Every day from August 4 till August 19, the convoy arrived in a new destination, hundreds of miles away from the departure point. The route went through 20 big cities, including, for example, Ryazan, Penza, Togliatti, Samara, Ufa, Tchelyabinsk, Novorossijsk, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Baykalsk, Ulan-Ude, Tchita, Blagoveshensk, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. Presentation events organised by local Skoda dealers took place in altogether seven cities. Wherever the travellers came, they got a warm reception, and their agenda included a lot of exciting items besides driving, such as visits to Stalin's bunker in Samara and Buddhist temples at Ulan-Ude, as well as press conferences with local media.
The crews used mass-production Skoda Octavia Scout vehicles (2.0 FSI 110 kW, 6-speed manual transmission, four-wheel drive). The only difference from ordinary mass-production Octavia Scouts is that the tested vehicles were equipped with 16" steel wheels instead of the normally applied 17" alloy wheels plus additional spare wheels, working liquids, transmitters, jacks and some other tools and accessories. Except for a few tyre punctures and minor body scratches, none of the vehicles had a problem.
“The expedition from Moscow to Vladivostok was purposefully scheduled to coincide with the launch of the new Octavia Scout in the Russian market. The objective of the campaign was to test ordinary mass-production vehicles in extreme conditions and increase the awareness of the Skoda brand, particularly in the Asian parts of Russia. Besides high-quality safe vehicles, you need to be a team player and love adventure to overcome all the obstacles on the way. Russia is a very special place for organising such unforgettable projects, and the Scout Experience campaign has certainly confirmed that“, said Skoda Russia Division Director Jan Hurt in Vladivostok.
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