It was an incredibly pleasant evening in
the city of Kochi when the Mahindra Adventure Club Challenge was flagged off on
October 14, 2017. I was invited to the dreamy city in the southern state of Kerala
to witness this off road motorsport event.
Within minutes of it all beginning a
large crowd gathered to watch the carnage fueled by heady doses of torque. To begin
with the organisers (Mahindra Adventure) had designed a series of muddy
trenches and steep ditches to be navigated by participants which would mark the
first leg of the Club Challenge, these were the night stages and they would set
the arduous tone of the challenges which lay ahead.
As many as 11 teams with their Thars in
multiple categories were competing in the Club Challenge. These contestants
came from across the country, some from even as far as the North East. Each
team comprised of one pro stock Thar, one modified Thar and one pro-mod Thar.
The tasks looked simple but were much more challenging in reality. The night
stages had teams running along a slush pit with deep trenches carved out of the
land which were camouflaged with mud and grime. Most teams found it difficult
to clear the first of the night stages its self and had to be winched out by
their team members. The objective of the club challenge was just that, to
assist your team members in clearing obstacles and collecting as many flags as
possible along the way.
For those who cleared the tricky slush pit
in the night stages - the second stage proved to be too challenging to overcome
and none of the teams were able to move on to the third and final stage. While
most teams were using a winch to tow their stock Thars out of the mud, the NIOC
team led by Bijender Singh used a tow strap which proved more efficient than a
winch. The second leg of the night stages involved scaling a steep gradient at
a bend and was quite tricky. The day stages as well were no less challenging,
some required rolling over logs with their stock Thars. Most of the jeeps got
their axles wedged precariously over the logs and need to be towed out. Nearly
all of the stages required team members to winch each other out be it over mud,
logs or rocks! But the mother of all these was the demolition derby stage. This
was the last and final leg of the Club Challenge which required competitors to drive
over scrapped buses, trucks, SUVs and cars.
The Club Challenge promised an action
packed two days of unfiltered torque and testosterone. Most competitors looked
muddied and worn out by the end of the day but all with beaming smiles on their
faces. All participants and their Thars displayed immense capability but it was
a team from the North East - AHOR EJAMSA which won the coveted prize. The
Mahindra Adventure Thar Fest 2017 which was also being simultaneously hosted at
the same venue saw one of the biggest gatherings of Thar owners from across the
country going to show the cult following this brand has, as for the Club
Challenge I can safely tell you that a lot more Thar owners would have been
inspired to take their iconic jeeps off the beaten path.
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