Call it shock or surprise, Sandeep Mukherjee (Kolkata) and his co-driver M. Prakash (Erode) finished on top in the open class of the JK Tyre Hornbill Rally (TSD), organised by NAMSA, here on Thursday.
Even as the people from this part of the State were dancing and singing the whole day through, Sandeep, the 66-year-old was busy driving safe and secure on the road while Prakash was quickly calculating the time on the clock. And, that did a world of good as the duo managed to get past a superior bunch of drivers for the top honour.
Sandeep, who has a rich TSD experience, was obviously excited as it was his maiden Hornbill event. “It was Prakash’s interest and, I just came for him and it’s really surprising that we had won it,” he said.
“We were on an Alto and, from the start we decided to keep it simple on the road. The route (65-km) was damn easy which we never expected. We kept the car under control and were rewarded with the victory,” he added.
Prakash was equally delighted, “Tomorrow is my second wedding anniversary and, for me this comes as a very special gift. I am going to cherish it for a long time.”
Defending champion Gagan Sethi (Sabathullah Khan) was extremely disappointed. “We should have made it because it was that simple. Somehow, we missed out on the Time Controls rather early and it cost us dear,” said the two-time champion,
The rally attracted about 35 participants of which the open class saw seven professional drivers fighting it out for the coveted title.
The results Cars: Open: 1. Sandeep Mukherjee & M. Prakash 00:00,46; 2. Subhir Roy & Nirav Mehta; 3. Chibrolang Wakhang & Nagarajan.
Bikes: 1. Vishall Das & Gairick Khan 00:02.33; 2. Rehman Khan & Deepak Singh; 3. Kolhousetlio Rio & Wapang.
North East category: 1. Yanger Aier & Mezhurovi Keditsu 00:09.05; 2. Thecachutuo Kire & Neiba Kire; 3. Nitoka Chophi & Philip Lam.