Across the country on 44 litres

WHEN AMITABH and Dharmendra drove away humming Yeh Dosti, fuel efficiency of the bike was the last thing on their mind. That was the scene, from the all-time great - Sholay. Those were the good old Seventies, when a motorcycle was the neighbour's envy.

Figure this out in 2001. Four youth, setting out on an expedition from Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K) and finishing their 3,655.64 kms journey. What is special? They used only 44.69 litres of petrol each. In other words, this translated into a mileage of around 81.8 kmpl.

The message came from a scooter maker. Today, with the newer models packed with additional features and easy-finance makes it rather too difficult for the customer to choose from the array of mobikes. The only feature that sets apart the vehicles is their fuel efficiency. Even there, people get jammed as the claim of many companies is operative only under standard driving conditions.

Precisely, this is what Kinetic Engineering sought to prove wrong. Hence, it came up with a campaign for its Kinetic Challenger - of 70 kmpl on road. If that was not enough, four auto enthusiasts from the Pune Garage Owners' Association came forward to test it practically. That's where began the story of K2K. Accompanied by Mr. Dilip Bam, an automobile expert, the four youth set out from Patnitop in Kashmir on October 14 and traversed through different terrains, tracts and nine States to reach Kanyakumari on October 27.

In Chennai, recollecting their experience on the two Kinetic Challenger, Messrs. Ashish Paiyawal, Prasanna Modak, Prasanna Sahastrabuddhe and Shrikant Chavan, the rallyists say, ``It was great fun passing through varied cultures and meeting different people''. If they have any grouse, it was the inability, due to obvious reasons, to begin their journey from Kargil and of course, the pathetic road condition in many places. They were also peeved at the way people collect donations, forcibly from vehicles on highways during festivals. According to Mr. Bam, ``We had no problem with the bikes, except for a flat tyre''.

Says Ms. Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering, the company behind the bike, ``The K2K expedition was not meant to prove Kinetic Challenger as a mileage champion alone. The rally also embodied the strength and vastness of ''our country``. The theme expressed the nation's unity and solidarity, especially in today's war-like situation.

By N. Ravi Kumar

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