Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture

Off-road sur­vival train­ing from ex­perts

Auto Today - - Dashboard -

You might not con­sider it but off-road­ing is a sci­ence. There's a lot more to it than just driv­ing your four-wheel drive through some mud on the side of the road. Though for a lot of peo­ple that's the most off-the-road they'll ever dare ven­ture. If you want to fully en­joy your off-road ve­hi­cle we rec­om­mend you sign up for one of Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture's train­ing cour­ses. Dif­fer­ent cour­ses have been struc­tured to suit dif­fer­ent skill lev­els - from peo­ple get­ting their first taste of mud to ex­pe­ri­enced off-road­ers look­ing for spe­cific skills to em­bark on ad­ven­tures of their own. The best part is you don't need to own an off-roader, since the team's fleet of of­froad ready ve­hi­cles are at your dis­posal in the 28-acre play­ground in Igat­puri (near Nashik) called the Off-Road Train­ing Academy.

The new course is called the Global Ex­plorer and the Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture team hopes for it to be the ul­ti­mate level of off-road prepa­ra­tion in terms of 4WD the­ory, re­cov­ery tech­niques and safety. The three-day itin­er­ary started with tech­ni­cal ex­pla­na­tions, hand­son re­pair demon­stra­tions, emer­gency med­i­cal train­ing and more. We took on all sorts of driv­ing chal­lenges, in­clud­ing climb­ing the steep­est, slushi­est and stick­i­est in­cline we've ever seen, that too un­der the dark­ness of night! We asked Man­ish Sarser, head of the academy and Selvin Jose, a good friend who's re­cently joined as an in­struc­tor, to give us a lit­tle respite on day two. They obliged. Ex­cept, in­stead of hav­ing to go up, we were star­ing down the edge of a ravine. Of course, we were told to drive down it then. Gulp!

I drew the short straw and had to go first - with care­ful guid­ance from Man­ish. It can't be stressed enough how im­por­tant it is to have a spot­ter you trust, when off-road­ing. Be­cause when the ground drops away from you, plac­ing your wheels right means the dif­fer­ence be­tween land­ing on your tyres, or on your roof. In fact, whether you're rock crawl­ing, mud plug­ging or just bomb­ing down trails, your line is what you should pay the most at­ten­tion to. For ex­am­ple, I found out the hard way that you should never, ever ap­proach a de­scent at an an­gle or switch from on/off on the brakes. Be­cause that will make your ve­hi­cle go side­ways. That be­ing said, once you are very side­ways on a non-metaphor­i­cal slip­pery slope, tee­ter­ing on two wheels while ev­ery­one around ran for cover, what do you do?

Well, I went into self-preser­va­tion mode and just floored the throt­tle and the Thar mag­i­cally found trac­tion, straight­ened out and plowed down the slope. We were be­ing given points for quick times so far but I think I might've earned equal points for style and worst tech­nique ever! Un­for­tu­nately, the Colin McRae 'if in doubt, flat out' phi­los­o­phy is not en­tirely de­sir­able off-road.

As I found out on the next ob­sta­cle - a deeply pit­ted, crumbly

and all-around nasty near 45 de­gree in­cline. Mash­ing the throt­tle at the start meant the Thar revved out of its power­band half way through the in­cline. Care­ful mod­u­la­tion at the base of the climb meant ev­ery sin­gle new­ton me­tre of torque of the Thar’s 247 was pulling its own weight and easy work was made of the climb. Some­times, grav­ity wins though. And winch­ing out is the only way you will get back home.

So of course, next on the agenda was winch­ing. To make things worse, we had to will­ingly get our­selves stuck in a mud hill, climb out the win­dow and then winch our­selves out. The key points I was telling my­self to re­mem­ber were to un­wind the winch cable with­out kinks, place the winch weight near the tow hook to pre­vent cable lash and not step in mud. I for­got the last part and had to walk around with heavy feet for the rest of the ac­tiv­i­ties, which in­cluded build­ing a bridge out of logs, trust­ing it enough to drive a Thar over it, while gather­ing traf­fic cones for points. Now, these are not nec­es­sar­ily skills you need in your reg­u­lar off-road­ing jaunts but I’m told it helps pre­pare you for Mahin­dra’s own club chal­lenges, not to men­tion the grand­daddy of of­froad­ing events, the Rain For­est Chal­lenge. Armed with the Global Ex­plorer cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture, con­sider your­self fully schooled for ad­ven­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.