The extreme category event of 18th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya was called off after the death of a biker in the third leg of the race. A 47-year old biker Shubhamoy Paul from Kolkata died on Tuesday after his two-wheeler fell 70-feet down in the third leg of Raid-de-Himalaya near Chhatru in Losar-Gramphoo section, about 67 km from Keylong compelling the organisers to cancel the extreme category.
However, the Adventure category would proceed as scheduled but maximum speed for the riders has been limited to 45-km per hour. “The third, fourth and fifth legs of Extreme category race have been called off in after the death of biker in the midst of third leg yesterday but there is no change in the Adventure category and the race would continue as scheduled,” said organiser Manjeev Bhalla.
Bhalla, who returned to Manali for post mortem of the deceased biker, said “the race involved high risk and we cannot take a chance by leaving the race to second line of command and have decided to cancel the Extreme category race”. The organisers had changed the route this time and Shimla was out for the first time but the organisers did not visualise that poor telecommunication network could pose great risk and went ahead with the perilous route with connectivity confined to few pockets.
Bhalla said that they had requested the police to provide satellite phones on rent but due ban of these phones for security reasons, the same were not made available. The participants were disappointed as they would not be able to go to Leh and other areas and bookings of the hotels and other arrangements made by the organisers would go waste, incurring losses.