By:Meetanjali Sood Kalra
The 17th edition of the world’s highest rally raid is beginning form October 9th to 17th this year and is estimated to cover a total distance of more than 3000 kilometers. Unlike every year this time too the event with Maruti Suzuki as its official partner is divided into three main categories, the Extreme, the Adventure Trial that follows time/ distance/ speed format and the Moto Quads, which is for motorcycles and ATV’s.
Raid de Himalaya is undoubtedly the ultimate adventure in motor sport putting the participant in the toughest terrains and extreme weather conditions. The event is a real test of driving for anyone and poses a difficult challenge for both driver and navigator, as it happens to pass through some of the toughest terrains of the Himalayas.
“The adventure category is likely the most challenging event that follows the time-speed-distance format, which is calculated as per the time that one takes to reach the marked checkpoint with-in the time prescribed by following the right directions on the chart that is given in the beginning of the rally. Not only for the adventure trail but the same format is applicable for the rest of the categories where each car or bike is flagged off one after the other, and the ones who are not able to touch the bench mark on time are excluded out one by one, and by second or third day only the toughest ones remain to complete the challenge” says Nidhi Sharma a former participant of Raid de Himalaya.
“The rally is expected to have more than 170 participants this year with more than 350 crew members and 77 participants in motorcycle, 51 in adventure trail and 40 in four wheeler extreme category. Just like last year this year too Bollywood actor and producer Sohail Khan is coming all the way to Shimla to participate in the adventure trial category” confirms Sanjay Kumar, an official of Raid de Himalaya.
There has been a change in the route this year and the rally will be passing through some of the difficult terrains starting from Shimla, Matiyana, Aut, Kullu, Jatingri, Palampur, Dalhousie, Salooni, Daksum, Zanskar, Padam and Srinagar.
This year the rally is going to be a real challenge for the participants in the extreme and motorcycle category, as they would be requiring their specialized techniques to beat the goal time to reach next level and riding through some of the crucial and untouched topographies like Pangi and Chatargala Pass. The extreme category of two and four wheeler is scheduled to take off from Hotel Peterhoff while the adventure trail would be flagged of from Koti Resort on 11th October each. On the final day the rally will be reaching Srinagar by concluding through Zanskar and Umba-La (the road was made by the troops of the Indian Army during the Kargil war).