250 motorists to test their skills in Raid-de-Himalaya rally

September 30th, 2008 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Sep 30 (IANS) It’s again time to test your nerves at the wheel through the most rugged and inhospitable terrain trans-Himalayas.More than 250 daredevil motorists will test their level of endurance, skill and luck on lofty mountains of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir during the tenth edition of the world’s toughest motor rally, Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya.

The eight-day ‘Raid’, which stretches across 2,400 km, will test both man and machine to the ultimate.

“The eight-day ‘Raid’ will be flagged off from Himachal’s state capital Oct 2. It will pass through Manali, Kaza, Patseo, Leh, Kargil and Zanskar before culminating at Leh. It will cross six high mountain passes in the cold desert, including Tanglang La at 17,582 feet,” president of the Himalayan Motorsport Association Vijay Parmar told IANS.

The motorsport association, a member of the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of India, has been organising the ‘Raid’ since 1999.

Eighty professional motorists will take part in ‘X-treme’ category, 130 amateurs in ‘adventure trial’ and 40 in the two-wheeler category. There are eight women drivers and three foreign bikers in the fray.

“While the ‘X-treme’ route is full of dangers, ‘adventure trail’ is for those who want to explore the bounties of nature along with family members and friends,” said Manjeev Bhalla, another organiser of the event.

The ‘Raid’ will provide the participants from the US, Britain, Brazil, Belgium and other countries an opportunity to discover India’s interiors and savour the unmatched scenic splendour of the hills.

“If you want pulsating action on wheels, the ‘Raid’ is a perfect experience. Blessed with magnificent glaciers, mountain peaks and gurgling streams, the Shimla-Leh route is an ideal getaway for tough drivers,” avid rallyist H. Kishie Singh said.

“Of course, the ‘Raid’ is the most challenging and toughest rally in the world. The long competitive stages demand driving skill. You can’t afford to break your machine. It’s the driver’s skill not repair skill that pays you,” said Sunny Sidhu of Chandigarh.

Sidhu, who was the winner of the 2003 ‘Raid’ and the winner of Desert Storm in Rajasthan for three consecutive years from 2003 to 2005 and again in 2008, is trying his luck again this time.

But four-time winner of the event Suresh Rana believed “it’s the passion which is bringing them (motorists) together to conquer the Himalayas”.

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