Team Shillong, supported by Hotel Polo Towers completes one of the toughest rallies in the world.
Shillong: TEAM Shillong, which consists of Shillongites Shanti Prasad Choudhury, Vandana Jalan Chaudhury and Deval Tibrewalla completed Raid de Himalaya 2013, one of the toughest car rallies in the world. They braved the treacherous terrain, extreme weather conditions and poor infrastructure to complete the Rally in the Adventure Category.The event saw the highest number of participants in its history, thus making Team Shillongs achievement even more laudable.800 people are involved directly and indirectly. 300 competitors.
Shillong team was the only team from the North East of India to participate. The team is supported by the Hotel Polo Towers group, which is the most prolific hotel group in Eastern India.
The rally through the highest motorable road in the world began on October 4 and continued until October 12, 2013 . This was Team Shillong`s first participation in the rally. It participated in a Toyota SUV driven by Deval Tibrewalla and navigated by Shanti Prasad Choudhury.
Speaking of its support of Team Shillong for the Raid de Himalaya 2013, Mr. Kishan Tibrewalla, Chairman and Managing Director of Hotel Polo Towers Group, said: “Raid de Himalaya is a stimulating and adrenaline packed event and in continuation of our groups support of sport, we are very pleased to be part of this great adventure.”
The rally proves the qualities of strength, resourcefulness, physical and mental resistance of the participants, as well as the vehicle. The rally began at Shimla and crossed through Kaza, the difficult monastery necklace, Keylong, Debring and finally ended at Leh. The initial two days were for the administrative and technical control of vehicles in order to ensure compliance with the safety regulations issued by Federation International Automotive, which is the elite global motor sport Federation.
I have always held the (rather facetious) view that no one any longer has a mann that is a Kora Kagaz anymore. And I dont just mean it from A Rajesh Khanna romantically inspiring Sharmila Tagore way. In any way. With being connected all the time, there is something thats always on our mind. And Mind, ofcourse equals Mann. As such, QED.
However, an earlier than early morning Parc Ferme at Tabo Helipad where it is so dark that you can hardly see your own car in the (meagre but promising) light of dawn does a lot to make your mann a kora kagaz.
Parc Ferme at Tabo Helipad. Raid de Himalaya
The Himalaya`s as anyone would tell you are imposing, monumental and all that. Similar personality traits to dominating people, dont you think? So not only do they make wipe the slate of your mind clean, they also imprint themselves on you. This is either Wari La or Khardung La Pass as we head back into Manali via the Leh Manali Highway.
Enough of the soppy symbolism et al. Have a flight to catch and the strange Spicejet woman will not take too kindly to me being “later than 45 minutes prior” just because a blog was being writ by moi. (Yes,yes, presumptuous use of improbable old English and a lone French word is my way of adding literary value to this.)
Us with the Winner !
The first leg of the rally envisaged us going from Shimla to Manali. NOT via the highway. Instead, the Tulip made us climb mountains and then descend them in order to reach our destination at Manali.
Our fancy FMSCI Licenses had just come through before the rally thankfully and the Ceremonial Flag Off with the 01 numbered Vitara with its rorty growl.
Our Parc Ferme was to be at Koti Resorts Shimla, but was changed vide a Raid Bulletin to Way Point number 4. Parc Ferme was at 0500 hours. Yes, you got that right. 5 AM.
Since it sounds like we are such experienced rallyists and we are dropping jargon like most people drop visiting cards in fish bowls, some explanations are in order.
Parc Ferme means general area (more like specific place in the Raid de Himalaya) where the cars need to congregate before a specific time to flag off the rally.
TC`s are those reviled things otherwise known as Time Checks that lurk behind curves tucked away in corners and spring on you when you least expect them. The so called Yellow Clocks check you in and are the Raid`s way of keeping tabs on you.
The Road Book is basically your friend, philosopher and guide. Ok, just guide. It contains the tulips and some basic route information.
Speed Chart is what you are given ten minutes before your start time and contains a number of KM ranges that you must cover at given average speeds. This is what you live and die for on the Raid.
A free zone is time on the speed chart that you need to complete a distance in without any fear of TC`s.
This is our Messy Speed Chart with Time Notations
This is the Road Book.
Scrutiny, stickering, a sobering briefing and lots of running around later, we had the ceremonial flag off today. Which basically means that the fun and games are over. or that the fun will now begin ( depending on your point of view ).
The Adventure category finally has over 70 participants with a variety of cars and SUV`s. The sight of the many hued, stickered rally cars was really one for sore eyes.
The front licence plates of the cars had to be replaced with Adventure plates but the rear plates were testimony to the competitors having come from all corners of the country apart from certain international participants.
We are particularly proud of the Assam Valley and Hotel Polo Towers Shillong stickers and heres a big shout out to both of them.
I always feel like Sher Shah Suri on this road and all. No, you are right. I actually have no idea how a chap with two last names thinks but you get the picture.
Gangs of Wasseypur on the stereo and humming around 2500 rpm, the creamy 3 litre letting us ride on a wave of torque as we move towards chandigarh.
My Americano is getting cold as an Alto with ‘Sonu Tyagi’ honks furiously and goes past.
We just crossed Pummy Vaishno Dhaba with various Pummies stuffing their faces with Paratha.
Just another day on a North Indian highway, strange how some things just dont change over time.
Delhi has such a rich vocabulary of road names.