High speed Himalayan action

Motorists navigating a dangerous turn during Raid de Himalaya rally  

Often in pursuit of quiet and solitude one walks away from the hullabaloo of city traffic. To find the bountiful nature welcoming you with wide open arms. For company, there are free flowing river waters, the tall pine, cedar and oak trees, humongous peaks and the clear blanket of blue skies. For a moment, you sit down in admiration. Next you reach out for your camera to get the full landscape through its lens. And, then some pauses and some pleasures. That’s the usual outing on the hills of Himalayas.

But this past week usual was at a miss. There was no time to sit and admire. No pauses. And no full stops. Thanks to Maruti Suzuki’s 17 edition of Raid de Himalaya rally. A yearly event, the rally this time, once again, saw participants coming from across the country. And all of them were in the hills not for seeking quiet. But to make noise of the roaring engines of their machines as they would race past each others on the dusty tracks.

Considered to be one of the toughest motorsport events, the rally had in store for the participants a mix of crazy bends, wild turns, pot-holed roads and other challenging passes. There were some rookie and some veteran participants all sharing bonhomie with each other. While some were contesting on motorbikes there were others in the 4x4 cars. And then, there were sub-categories like X-treme, adventure, alpine, etc.

With all of them lined up just before the flagging off ceremony, the event with its first competitive race stage commenced from Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. And then there were over 1500 km covered with an alternate of race and transport stages. From the start of day one, we saw Suresh Rana, local rally hero in Himachal Pradesh, leading the pack of cars. And, as we went ahead with the rally the nine time champion of Raid de Himalaya rally just kept on improving himself.

In the motorbikes, Bangalore-based Arvind KP, a stuntman and an actor in South Indian films, took the lead.

Over the next three days the rally moved from Shimla to Manali and then to Dalhousie. And, by this time, there was Rana leading the four-wheeler category. By now making it almost certain that no one nears him. The second-ranked staying distant behind.

But in came some interesting twists and turns. Entering into the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the local hero was no longer in the home State. And, not so surprisingly, was not in the lead either.

There were some difficult tracks. Some bad falls for the bikers. And, some cars breaking down. Touching upon Draas, Kargil and Rangdum, the participants left by now were in a feverish state. And, all that counted was staying on the race track.

As we reached the final day we saw some exhilarating moments.

The participants touching the finishing line which was at the scenic Tiger Hill. There was Arvind KP coming in as first. And then came the Polaris car with Raj Singh Rathore as first.

With this the 17 edition of Raid de Himalaya came to a close. There were some joys and pleasures, some disappointments and cries. But life this past week in the hills of Himalayas was not with pauses or quiet. It was all a blur!

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 7:49:19 PM |

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