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163rd Mahindra Great Escape Off-Roading Trophy, Goa: Hop, Skip and Jump

September 20, 2019, 08:29 PM IST by Aditya Nadkarni
5076 Views

Introduction

- Winners of the 163rd Great Escape in Goa have been announced

- The winners will head to the finals in Igatpuri next year, where the prize is a new Mahindra Thar 700.

Off-roading was relatively unchartered territory for me. Being hooked to fast cars and everything around them meant I never really longed for taking the beaten path. Things changed to an extent with the rage of SUV’s and I had begun reading and understanding how things work off the road, although I didn’t really have the opportunity to experience the same until recently. Leaving the hustling city of Mumbai behind, we arrived in Goa for the 163rd edition of the Mahindra Great Escape Off-Roading Trophy.

Day 1

The two-day event taught us in great depths about off-roading, right from the vehicles to the terrain and everything in between. The first day of the event unfolded with the flag-off ceremony in Varca followed by the off-roading trophy competition. Though we didn’t participate in the competition, the folks at Mahindra & Mahindra were kind enough to lend us the legendary Thar for the weekend. We drove down to the venue, getting accustomed to the car as the beautiful and lush green roads of Goa welcomed us.

The Trophy event saw numerous Mahindra vehicles participating in the event, with the largest visible number of vehicles being the mighty Thar itself. The trophy round included an array of obstacles ranging from slippery inclines and descents to navigating over rocks and crossing streams. The event saw all the participants as well as their cars going through the ultimate test, thereby showcasing their off-road skills, techniques and capabilities.

Day 2

The second day of the event began by driving to the scenic location where the off-roading trophy was held, but this time, we were here not only to witness off-roading but also experience it ourselves. Mahindra Adventure had arranged a training camp for customers who wanted to learn the basics of off-roading. The basic requirement was the will to learn, as the brand provided almost everything else, including the vehicles to be used during the training.

The first task

Using the 4x4 capability of the Thar, the first task was to climb down a slope, wade through some shallow waters and come up another gradient. Our trainers here, including one sitting in the passenger seat as well as one trainer doing the spotting for our car, told us to leave the accelerator pedal before going down the slope. There were strict instructions not to use the brake or clutch and let the car take its own pace. Now usually, in such cases, any other non-4x4 car will hurtle down the decline but not these. Our Thar in question gently made its way down the slope without any drama, thus boosting the driver’s confidence in the next challenge. The trick for taking the vehicle up the slope was simple but not commonly thought of. The vehicle would have to be backed up for a small distance and bring the car a little before the start of the slope before pressing the pedal to the metal in order to get going past the incline. After a short few celebratory moments upon successfully completing the task, we headed towards our second and final obstacle for the day.

The second task

The second task was similar to the first task, the significant change being that the slopes were angled at about 60 degrees. While all the participants were able to drive the Thar down the slope without breaking a sweat, it was the complete opposite situation when on the incline. A majority of the participants, including yours faithfully, were unable to complete the ‘up-hill’ task. Nonetheless, we (all the participants) enjoyed not only the obstacles, but also the enthusiasm and energy with which all the trainers and marshals put up with, including splashing a little muck on them every now and then, unintentional, of course. 

Did I mention that every participant was given three chances each to attempt all the obstacles before a DNF was declared? Maybe it was in all the excitement of telling, err, penning down this experience that it must have slipped my mind. That said, I will not forget to plan and take some time out and attend the complete training at the academy in Nashik.

Conclusion

The trophy round in Goa saw Ajith Kumar winning the modified category, while Dattaraj Lawande finished first in the stock category. Maithili Bhobe was the winner of the ladies category. All the aforementioned winners would go on to compete in the Off-Roading Trophy 2019-2020 finals at Igatpuri early next year. The winner of the final round will be awarded with a brand new Thar 700. Tempted? Me too!

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