Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today flagged of India’s longest, highest and most strenuous motor sport event- the 12th edition of Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya. The six day event will be held between October 10-16 putting 166 teams from over the country as well as from abroad in the competition. The event will provide some 281 motor sport enthusiasts across three categories- Xtreme 4-wheelers (for professionals), 51 in Xtreme 2-wheelers (for professionals), and Adventure Trial (for amateurs) opportunity to show their fortitude for coveted title.
The rally will traverse through Manali, Rohtang (4600m),Patseo 4863 m), Sarchu (4551 m) in Lahaul Valley and formidable Baralacha La (4883m), Kunzum La (3600 m), Tabo(3050 m), Komic (4275 m) in Spiti valley. This time the rally routes will be same for participants in the Xtreme and Adventure Trial category. The event will culminate at Manali on Oct 16 covering a distance of more than 2,000 kms spread over multiple legs in six days. The Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya rally, on an average, covers a distance of 300 kms in a day. About 60 per cent of a day’s drive would be through the narrowest of the roads snaking along high mountainsides.
The two attractions in the Xtreme 4-wheelers category would be last year champion Major Amarinder Brar and champion for four successive years till 2009 Suresh Rana. Among bikers all eyes would be on Ashish Saurabh Moudghil who has been a regular winner since 2006. Among the other participants would be 11 doughty women rallyists including last year’s winner of ‘Coup De Dame Trophy’ Ms. Chandersuta Dogra and eight teams from Indian Armed forces.
Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, is the only Indian motor sports event listed on the calendar of Switzerland-based FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) .It draws lot of attention from the international rallying circuit and this year six Austrian bikers would add to the flavour of event. There is no age bar in this event and it attracts sports enthusiasts of different age groups. This year oldest participant in four wheels section 60 year old Harvijay Singh Bahia and the youngest 20 year old Apurva Kaushik.
Safety of the participants
Heavy rains and flashfloods in past weeks in Himachal Pradesh has also forced the organizers to replace the route of rally on two competitive legs as rivers were swollen between Pinjore and Nalagarh in the first leg and in the fourth leg due to the bad conditions of the road in Zagher and Fagu. For ensuring the safety and evacuation of injured in emergency cases during the rally, 13 ambulances have been deployed along the convoy of vehicles.
Helping Hand to flood victims
Each participant would contribute Rs 1000 for Leh flash flood victims and Rs 10 lakh would be jointly given by Himalayan Motor Sports and Maruti Suzuki for the relief measures in Leh. This year event has been curtailed to Himayalan regions of Himachal Pradesh as the rally track has been cutshort beyond Leh due to flashfloods. Also special T-shirts appealing help for the Leh victims would be sold during the event to generate money.