Mahindra Great Escape
Hardcore off-road action in Sakleshpur
Most manufacturers involved in the business of selling SUVs organise off-road camps of sorts to showcase the capabilities of their vehicles to existing and prospective customers. These courses are specifically curated to make the car and novices like you and me look like heroes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not questioning the legitimacy of the manufacturers’ claims about the off-road prowess of their vehicles, but the challenge they offer is well within the capabilities of the vehicles. This means that it is unlikely that you will find yourself in a sticky situation. Mahindra, however, does things a bit differently, as I discovered during the weekend long Great Escape in Sakleshpur. In a nutshell, you hop into your 4x4 and drive off into the
jungle. Quite literally!
The 21,000 acre Kadamane Tea Estate was the setting for our off-road sojourn. This location has been a regualr feature of the Mahindra Adventure calendar. While a sizeable chunk acts as a tea plantation, as the name suggests, the bulk of the land has been left untouched and is draped in green encompassing hills and small streams. The obstacles are all natural and prove to be a genuine test of a vehicle's capabilities and a driver's skills. What makes it even more real is the customers bring their own cars. The support pro-
THERE WERE SPOTS WHERE WE, INCLUDING OTHERS, GOT STUCK AND HAD TO BE WINCHED OUT. DAMAGED FUEL TANKS, MUDDIED CLOTHES AND BRUISED EGOS ARE PAR FOR THE COURSE
vided by Mahindra gives owners the confidence to test their vehicles to the extreme since help will always be at hand in case things go south.
There are high chances of that happening, as we experienced firsthand. There were spots where we, including others, got stuck and had to be winched out. Apparently, a lack of rain meant that the number of vehicles that required rescuing was much less compared to previous editions. Damaged fuel tanks, muddied clothes and bruised egos are par for the course as you will inevitably trip and fall. But the beauty of Great Escape lies in the fact that since every obstacle, every challenge is natural, it keeps drivers from gaining a false sense of accomplishment a beginner level specially crafted course might give. It is a great way to learn how to tackle various terrains and how to make the best use of the machinery at hand. And events like this act as a great showcase of the modification potential Mahindra's vehicles possess. In attendance were stock Thars and heavily customized ones, as well as some classic Mahindra products. It also gives enthusiasts an opportunity to interact with likeminded people.
The bulk of the convoy comprised of Mahindra Thars. Some were in stockform while there were quite few that had undergone extensive custom work to make even more capable off the road than they already are