Silliguri Police Commissioner Jag Mohan flags off the Himalayan Drive 2 at City Centre, Silliguri
From the rock clad rugged terrain to the hairline curves, from the well sketched lush green alleys of the tea estates in Darjeeling to the dense forest of Gorumara, the second edition of Himalayan Drive had it all.
Powered by J K Tyre and organized by Just Sportz Management, Himalayan Drive 2 kick started from Siliguri City Centre, on January 29, 2014. “We have been a part of the world of motorsports in India, through our association with the Himalayan Drive 2 we want to promote motorsports in the North-East,” said Sanjay Sharma, Head, Motorsports, J K Tyres. Around 75 rallyist, which included 31 four-wheeler competitors and eight two-wheeler competitors travelled a distance of around 800 km in four days.
Enthusiast locals witness a car storm past them
The event, which saw rallyist from all parts of the country, had competitors from Kolkata, Jharkhand, Bangalore and around five rallyist from South India too.
“This year’s event saw a huge leap of interest in the local level, we just had two local competitors last year, this year it is around 16. There were participants from all across north-east like Dibrugarh (Assam), Darjeeling and Nagaland, which is overwhelming for us,” said Suchandan Das, Director, Just Sportz.
Known for being the first of its kind T.S.D (Time-speed-Distance) rally in the Eastern Himalaya, Himalayan Drive 2 saw a total of around 16 local (from North-East) competitors in four-wheeler and two-wheeler section. The four-legged event starts from Slliguri to Lataguri in Day 1.The second leg started from Lataguri and ended at Gangtok. The third leg witnessed the rally drive to Darjeeling and the final leg was the climb down from Darjeeling back to Silliguri.
Car goes past a rugged terrain in Silliguri
“We have used electronic data loggers to capture time of the competitors, with an intention to reduce possibilities of human error and depict error free results,” said Tamal Ghosh, Director, Just Sportz and Clerk of the Course (COC) for the rally.
Recognized by Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), the Himalayan Drive 2 also thrived to promote tourism in the region. “FMSCI had sent a senior Chief Steward Lajpat Prasad to monitor and coordinate the event. In addition Subash Nag Chowdhury and Sushanta Burman were the other stewards to oversee the event,” informed Siddhartha S. Bose, Director, Just Sportz.
With ‘Beautiful Bengal’ as their theme, the Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal was the principal sponsor of the event, which also got the support from the Sikkim Tourism and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration.
Rallyists drive through the dense forest of Gorumara
Leg I/ day 1 of the four-day rally started from City Centre in Silliguri to Lataguri covering a total distance of around 90 kms. The day’s drive included flat terrain, foothills on gravel, dirt and tarmac roads finally to go past the dense jungle of Gorumara. The day saw car number two of Anubhab De and Chandan Sen, take lead with 29 penalty points, while last year's runners-up Subir Roy and navigator Nirav Mehta made a costly error and were penalized 75 points.
Cars on their way up the hills as they drive over a narrow stream
Travelling around 180 kms, the leg II/ day 2 saw the rallyist drive up from Lataguri to Lava, to reach the maximum attitude of the day at 5,500 ft, then through, Algara, Pedong to cross the Rishi bridge and reach Gangtok via Tadong.
As the temperature started dipping on the day three of the J K Tyre Himalayan Drive 2, competitors rallied their way from Gangtok to Darjeeling covering a distance of around 180 km, reached a maximum altitude of 8000 feet as the competitors drive across Ghum in Darjeeling. The day which had started with the ex-Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia flagging off at the Sikkim Cultural Society in Gangtok, saw rallyist drive from Romtek Monestry to Malli then pass the tea gardens of Temi finally to reach Darjeeling via Peshok.
Car muscles its way through the dry river bed
The fourth leg of the event, which flagged off from Gorkha Rang Manch in Darjeeling saw the final 28 rallyist (as two of the competitors pulling out of the event due to technical issues) now eye for the title as the rally drove down from Darjeeling back to Siliguri, with the maximum altitude of the leg being 9,000 ft. Mostly a downhill drive for the day, saw the cars muscle through the dry river bed of Tista as they reach the finish point at around 1.30-2.00 pm.
Cars used by rallyist were Maruti Esteem, Maruti Gypsy, Mahindra Scoprpio, Mahindra Bolero, Maruti SX4, Maruti Alto, Maruti Ritz, Tata Safari, Hyundai Santro, Hyundai Accent.
Motorcycle glides through the tea gardens in Darjeeling
1) Sudip Kumar Ghosh & Arindam Ghosh (200 penalty points)
2) Subir Roy & Nirav Mehta (216)
3) Sk Ajgar Ali & Md Mustafa (235)
1) Somnath Saha & Gairick Khan (1386 penalty points)
2) Uday Ganguli & Rajkumar Mundra (1913)
3) Vishal Das & Sabat Ullah Khan (1937)
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