|The 12th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, one of the most awaited motorsport event in the country wil take place from 10th October to 16th October. To make it more grueling and exciting this year's event will take a more challenging route. This edition has 164 teams in the fray, with 277 participants; which is the maximum participation ever. The Raid-de-Himalaya event will span across 6 days to traverse a distance of 2,000 kms through the vigorously undulating terrains in the Western Himalayas.
This year's Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya will pass through the most inhospitable terrains in the Western Himalayas. The Route covers some of the highest motorable places in the world. This would include Kaza (3600 mts), Tabo (3050 mts), Komic (4275 mts) in Spiti valley and Patseo (4830 mts), Sarchu (4551 mts) in Lahul valley, and the formidable Baralacha la (4883 mts). The event will conclude on October 16, at Manali with the prize distribution.
On the occasion, Mr Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager (Marketing), Maruti Suzuki said, "Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya has seen an exponential growth in participants over recent times. To a participant the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya offers thrill and joy of motorsport alongside Himalayan natural splendour. We are happy that Maruti Suzuki efforts to popularize motorsport in the country are getting good results, especially among youth."
Last year's champion Major Amarinder Brar in his Maruti Suzuki Gypsy will try to for a repeat performance. He will face stiff challenge from Suresh Rana who is a veteran of five Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya. Amongst the bikers, all eyes will be on Ashish Saurabh Moudghil, who has been a regular since 2006.
Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is India's only event to be listed in the coveted FIM's (Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme) annual calendar and draws attention from well known motorsport enthusiasts across the globe. There are only 12 events that are listed in this well known motorsport calendar.
Participation from across the country
This year's event will see around 154 participants from the Northern parts of the country and 65 participants from southern India. 35 participants from western India and 10 from Eastern India complete the rally entourage, These 164 motorsport enthusiasts will compete across three categories: X-treme 4-wheelers (43 teams), X-treme 2-wheelers (51 teams) (both for professional motorsport enthusiasts), and 70 enthusiast teams in the Adventure Trial category for amateurs.
Age No Bar
The oldest participant in the 4 wheeler section this year is 60-year young Harvijay Singh Bahia, in his Grand Vitara whereas the youngest participant is Apurva Kaushik, 20 years. co-driving a Maruti Suzuki Gypsy. Amongst 2-wheeler participants, the oldest participant is Rajeev Khanna aged 55 years and the youngest participant is 19-year old Parikshit Thakur. Other star participants include Amardev Singh, last year's John Mark James trophy winner.
Larger feminine Participation
This year there are 11 female participants as compared to 6 in the last year's event. Last year's winner of Coup De Dame Trophy Ms Chander Suta Dogra is back and shall be participating with Ms Pragya Singh who shall be assisting her as a navigator. Other female participants include Ms Suchi Thakur from Dharamshala and Ms Revati from Delhi.
Three separate versions based on skills
Xtreme: This version is the toughest of the lot and is open only to those 4-wheeler drivers who have prior rallying experience and have competed in one of the earlier editions of the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya or Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm. There are 43 teams participating in Xtreme 4-wheeler category in this year's Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya.
Adventure Trial: This version will run on the same challenging route and is open to those motorsport enthusiasts, who would like to take on the Himalayas but without the tough competition, difficulty and stress involved in the Xtreme. This section will be open only to stock cars and SUVs and only certain safety-related modifications will be allowed in the competing cars. In this year's event 70 teams are competing in Adventure Trial category.
Bikes Xtreme: This section is open to bikes of all types and makes but there are certain regulations that the bikers will have to adhere to. Participants in this category are probably the bravest of the raiders, as they have to face the hostile weather and tough terrains without the comforts of a cabin surrounding them. The 12th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, wil have 51 biker participants.
The 12th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya is being organized under the aegis of Himalayan Motorsport Association. This toughest motoring event in the country is being supported by the Indian Army.