Royal En­field Scramble

Take 10 Royal En­field mo­tor­cy­cles, add a dash of moun­tain roads, beau­ti­ful, never-end­ing trails and let it sim­mer for three days. Your Royal En­field ‘Scramble’ is served


Tack­ling the hills in TSD for­mat, this time

Royal En­fiEld or­gan­ised the first edi­tion of the ‘Scramble’, a rally in Hi­machal Pradesh, and yours truly was among the par­tic­i­pants. Un­like a con­ven­tional rally, the par­tic­i­pants (teams of two) were awarded points on the ba­sis of their time be­tween time con­trols (TC) as op­posed to penal­ties. Royal En­field hinted that there would be some chal­lenges along the way. How­ever, they also men­tioned that the av­er­age speed through­out the rally would be a tad be­low 45 km/h. Sounds easy, right? That’s what I thought as I headed to Shimla. I was in for a sur­prise.

Royal En­field in as­so­ci­a­tion with Hi­malayan Motorsport went the ex­tra mile to make sure that the rally was man­aged well. Day zero saw us at­tend the rider brief­ing that en­light­ened us about the rules, first-aid, and the nu­ances of nav­i­gat­ing us­ing a road-book. Later, our mo­tor­cy­cles were thor­oughly scru­ti­nised to make sure they were within ad­min­is­tra­tive and tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions. After be­ing handed the key to a Royal En­field Hi­malayan I was part­nered up with a fel­low jour­nal­ist and we chris­tened our team, ‘Me­dia Mon­keys’.

Day one dawned and we were at the start­ing line at 7.00 am. One by one, teams were flagged off and the air was rent with the thump of Royal En­fields. The tech-savvy ones fol­lowed the map us­ing apps on their smart­phones while the rest stuck to the good ol’ road-book.

Since this wasn’t a mad dash to the fin­ish, my team-mate and my­self de­cided to ride at our own pace. Soon enough, he dis­ap­peared from my line of sight be­cause I was rid­ing at a re­laxed pace, ad­mir­ing the beau­ti­ful scenery of Hi­machal Pradesh. The only rea­son I tore my eyes away from the breath­tak­ing views was the sheer con­cen­tra­tion that the moun­tain trails de­manded — nar­row roads would sud­denly dis­solve into an as­sort­ment of low-trac­tion sur­faces that con­sti­tuted the trails. The wind­ing trails of­fered ex­otic views with a sheer drop on one side and the cliff face on the other

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