The muscular and mean looking
IronScorpion HMV driven by an American driver is among the record 40 entries
that have come its way for the fourth edition of the Force Gurkha Rainforest
Challenge (RFC) India to be held in Goa from July 22 to 30, 2017.
In total there are eight entries
from Hyderabad, seven from Kerala, four teams from Mumbai, seven from Karnataka
including four entries from Bangalore, three teams each from Goa, Delhi and
Chandigarh, two each from Pune and Tamil Nadu and one entry from Yamunanagar.
Among the notable entries is a
US driver who will be driving an IronScorpion HMV, a vehicle that has replaced
the Hummer in the US Army. HMV stands for High Mobility Vehicles and is used
for for special purposes and recreational use. IronScorpion is a partnership
between Preferred Chassis Fabrication Inc, a US based company that is the
manufacturer of the Scorpion All-Terrain Vehicle, and Sarbloh Motors, an Indian
company, which specialises in off-road and expedition vehicles.
Pune-based Force Motors Ltd,
which was the title sponsor of the event for its first three editions, has
retained the title sponsorship for the 2017 edition as well.
In a surprise move,
Mumbai-based Fairmont Group has signed veteran Malaysian driver Mervyn Lim, who
was the first runner-up in all the previous editions of Force Gurkha RFC India,
to drive for them in RFC India 2017. In the earlier editions, Lim represented
Force Motors Ltd. Team Fairmont, which has 4 entries in the competition this
year, will also feature a US driver who will be driving an IronScorpion HMV, a
vehicle that has replaced the Hummer in the US Army. The third vehicle for this
team will be manned by the Group’s Director Sameer Chunawala, who will be
competing in Force Gurkha RFC India for the third consecutive year.
According to 35-year old
Sameer, “RFC India is the most awaited offroading event in our country and
every hardcore off-roader wants to compete in it. However, I have realized over
the years that our vehicle potential and driving skills are nowhere near
international offroaders. Now that Mervyn is a part of our team, I intend to
learn the finer details of offroading from him. This year, my aim is to
successfully complete all the Special Stages and come in the top 5.”
While the entries for this
year include several Force Gurkha RFC India veterans, there are also quite a
few newcomers. Thirty-Six year old R Sumanth Shenoy from Chikmagalur town of
Karnataka, who has been offroading since he was in 8th standard, says that this
entry is a dream-come-true for him. Another new entrant to the competition,
Dattaraj Dessai from Goa has been religiously following Force Gurkha RFC India
since the first edition.
While the competitors are
gearing up to challenge each other, the event organizers are also planning to
surprise them with some changes in order to make the competition tougher. “This
year, the event will have a changed format for the Special Stages, with a
variation in the running order and sequence of the SS. We also plan to have
some part of the competition at new sites and will shortly start the recce
process for the same,” said Ashish Gupta, Director, Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd.
He added, “We are also
increasing the stakes this year as the total benefits that the top Indian
driver of the competition will get will amount to $8,000. This includes the
automatic fully paid for entry in the RFC 2017 Grand Final in Malaysia that is
worth $3,900 and the travel expenses amounting to around $1,100. Additionally,
this year Cougar Motorsport will contribute up to $3,000 towards the cost of
arranging the competition vehicle for the Mother Event in Malaysia.”
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