Racers Volodymyr Giba, Volodymyr Chernysh among Ukrainian troops killed in action

Volodymyr Giba and Volodymyr Chernysh, both motorsport drivers, were among the casualties over the fall as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. Chernysh was killed in an assault near the infamous frontline at Bakhmut on 10 September, while Giba died two months later on 13 November.

Giba competed in the Ukrainian Trophy Raid Championship in the mid-2010s. Nicknamed the Zaporizhzhia Cossack, he raced a GAZ-69 (a Soviet-era military off-road car) in the TR1 and Tourism-Hard categories.

He co-founded MIDA, a shoemaker in Zaporizhzhia that specialises in winter, casual, and athletic shoes made from cow leather; he also oversaw the company as commercial director. For his role, Giba served on of the board on the Ukrainian Association of Light Industry Enterprises (UKRLEGPROM), which focuses on textile and footwear production, before joining the Ukrainian military shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022.

“From the first days of the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Giba stood up for the defense of our State,” wrote UKRLEGPROM chair Tatiana Izovit. “In 2021–2022, was an active member of the Board of UKLEGPROM, consistently advocating the development of domestic light industry. He was an incredibly positive, professional, balanced person who was in love with Life!”

“There are no words… The Zaporizhzhia Cossack has left,” commented Dakar Rally veteran and colleague Vadim Pritulyak.

Chernysh was a kart racer who enjoyed success growing up and eventually competed in the national Ukrainian Karting Trophy; he was named a Master of Sport of Ukraine for his achievements. He entered the Territorial Defence Forces on 26 February 2022, two days after the invasion began, and was later assigned to the 3rd Assault Brigade with whom he was a driver. He had the callsign of “Red Bull” as he worked as a manager at Red Bull Ukraine.

His funeral took place in his hometown of Poltava on 27 September. In early October, a petition was launched to rename a street in his memory.

The invasion, now in its 641st day, resulted in a mass mobilisation of the Ukrainian populace including various members of its motorsport community. 2014 Trophy Raid champion Andriy Gusev, kart racer Kyrylo Demidov, and Automobile Federation of Ukraine’s Karting Committee member Mykhailo Kravchenko were fellow competitors in Giba and Chernysh’s discipline who have died in service.

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