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Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18 Experience

August 30, 2018, 10:54 PM IST by Ninad Ambre


Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18

If you've gone off-roading in the rains, whether on a bike or in a car, the phrase 'drenched to the skin' is probably akin to just a teensy splash for you. For those who haven't, it can be a very harrowing experience indeed. Sure, it feels good to go out during the first rains of the season, but in a country like ours these showers can quickly change from pleasant to catastrophic. The terrain might get un-motorable and impassable. And this is where your intelligence and skills to drive out your vehicle might prove to be of utmost importance.

Mahindra Adventure's off-road training facility in Igatpuri, Maharastra provides aspiring driving enthusiasts with this first-hand off-road experience. This 28-acre land has been built for adventure and has been conducting off-roading sessions throughout the year. This August, the facility was all set to host the Off-roading trophy 2017-2018, which is a competitive event for winners of zone-wise competitions held across six locations in India. We were invited to participate in the media challenge which included a few of the courses that the participants undertook. This involved a series of obstacles to give us a taste of how a person's skill, coordination, ability, off-road prowess and the 4X4 machine need to work together when put to the ultimate test.

Course, points and the machine

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18

This year there was no elimination and every participant got an opportunity to drive and spot. The overall points would decide the winner who would get a brand new Mahindra Thar 4X4. The drivers were judged on parameters like drive-through, technique, vehicle-preservation, safety etc., while the co-drivers were judged on their guiding and spotting skills. Every flag collected carried 10 points and one super flag placed in an almost impossible to reach location was worth 20 points. Every cone dislodged would attract a penalty of 10 points. Each Mahindra Thar used in the exploration was mechanically identical and loaded with the Borgwarner 4X4 system and a mechanical locking rear differential. Furthermore, the vehicles were equipped with Maxxis Bighorn tyres and roll cages too.

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18

Day 1

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18 Experience

River Fording, B.I.M (Balls in mouth) and railway crossing were the three obstacles for Day 1. While railway crossing included driving down a slippery slope and climbing up, B.I.M was all about driving through slush pits up a zig-zag circuit trying to reach the top for a super flag. However, the highlight was trying to collect the super flag in River Fording. Imagine driving through a stream and trying to climb a steep bank to go close to the super flag. Only a few out of the 47 participants tried to reach it with only a few getting it. I had decided I will attempt to get the super flag no matter what! I was quick in fetching the first three flags, two of them by putting the hand out while driving past them and one through the passenger side by hanging onto the door.

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18 Experience

My next target was the super flag and I manoeuvred the vehicle carefully without dislodging the cone. I knew I had three chances to get the flag, but only one mistake of running over it or the tapes at which point I would get disqualified. And so it began; 4X4 active check, second gear check, revs built check, dumped the clutch and bam! I pointed the Thar up in the direction of the flag. The next part required precision - just the right amount of momentum to help me reach it and the presence of mind to brake in time. Did that perfectly, but at that point, I realised that the hand brake didn't work. But I trusted the Thar and switched off the ignition with the second gear engaged. I took off the seat-belt, climbed out of the window on to the bonnet and reached out to the flag (all without touching the ground). I had made it! Then the bigger task was to get in and reverse the car without a spotter on the ground. A thrilling experience, altogether!

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18 Experience

Day 2

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18 Experience

Rains continued to lash the off-roading site and the terrain became so treacherous that the first obstacle Rescue Mission had to be cancelled. Another obstacle Multi-layer tested the driving skills of participants and more importantly the spotting and guiding skills of the co-driver. However, the most interesting one turned out to be the Switch-back Hill, which included driving through a stream, collecting two flags on the left while climbing a right hander slope from where vehicles slipped downwards. Then, after avoiding a cone and collecting a flag, there was a 50m straight stretch that ended with an immediate 180 degree bend leading down the mountain. A few vehicles toppled here! Nonetheless, I managed to take the first three flags again and go the farthest distance amongst the media participants. I was glad as I knew I had performed the best amongst the media representatives. But I was far more exhilarated about the overall experience and learnings I had gained over those few days. 

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18


When my name was called out for securing the top spot in the media challenge, I felt ecstatic. Like someone who has accidentally discovered a pot of gold! Although, if one has to be technical about it, it was the lack of accidents that brought me this pot of gold (pun intended). Well, I had joined this course with some confidence in my driving abilities, but in the beginning, my only expectation was that I would learn something and have fun. Patience and luck helped me along the way. 

And yet, there is still a lot to learn, especially from the winners of the other challenge. Hyderabad's Dhanraj Shetty, a seasoned competitor and RFC participant, showed off his off-roading skills and took home the new Mahindra Thar. The second spot was awarded to Delhi's Bijender Singh with Goa's Kapil Bhobe getting the third place. Sapna Gurukar from Sakleshpur showed immense perseverance and finished first in the women´s category.

Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2017-18


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