Mahin­dra off-road tro­phy

We paid a short visit to Goa to at­tend the Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture Off-road­ing Tro­phy. Here’s the low-down

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Slush­ing it out in some choice lo­cal bred SUVs

When you think Goa, it au­to­mat­i­cally in­vokes im­ages of sandy beaches, crash­ing waves, days of re­lax­ation, and night-long par­ties, but when Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture in­vited us to this sunny par­adise for the Mahin­dra Great Es­cape and Off-road Tro­phy, I knew that things were go­ing to be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. The event was held over two days wherein we would be driv­ing along some chal­leng­ing trails, over­com­ing ob­sta­cles set up for us, while com­pet­ing teams tried to outdo one an­other to make it to the next round of the Off-road Tro­phy. Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture put us up at the Club Mahin­dra at Varca Beach where I did my best to get a good night’s sleep be­fore an early start the next day.

The morn­ing started with a safety brief­ing. Of­fi­cials from Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture ex­plained to us the dos and don’ts when out on the trails. Once they were sat­is­fied that we were ready, we headed out of the ho­tel in a con­voy of nearly 50 Mahin­dra 4x4 ve­hi­cles that in­cluded Scor­pios, Boleros, In­vaders, Clas­sics, and, of course, Thars. We were not al­lowed to over­take on the way to the trails which was about 15 kilo­me­tres away. We drove into a thick for­est in an or­derly fash­ion un­der the watch­ful eye of the of­fi­cials, fol­low­ing the lead car and with a sweep car bring­ing up the rear.

There were sev­eral ser­vice and sup­port ve­hi­cles to help us in case of a me­chan­i­cal break­down or if we hap­pened to get stuck in the thick slush and there was a lot of it around. With the rain com­ing down hard, the

for­est had turned into a deep and slip­pery mess, criss-crossed by sev­eral fast-flow­ing streams.

I was be­hind the wheel of a rel­a­tively new Mahin­dra Thar, shod with Maxxis Bighorn 764 tyres which were able to main­tain grip in seem­ingly impossible con­di­tions. We spent most of the day driv­ing through soft and sticky mud, over rocks, and across streams, with sev­eral steep as­cents and de­scents along the way. With the Thar slot­ted into the 4WD low ra­tio, it crawled over just about any­thing in its path and, al­though I was quite ap­pre­hen­sive ear­lier, by the end of the day my con­fi­dence in this ve­hi­cle’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties had grown ex­po­nen­tially.

Day two saw the com­pet­ing par­tic­i­pants scram­ble to col­lect points and avoid penal­ties as they took on the Tro­phy Chal­lenge. The par­tic­i­pants were di­vided into two groups, Stock and Mod­i­fied, based on how their ve­hi­cles were cus­tom­ized. Mud ter­rain tyres and of­froad bumpers to en­hance the ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles were the only mods al­lowed in the stock class, while the mod­i­fied class fea­tured ve­hi­cles with tall of­froad sus­pen­sion, ar­tic­u­la­tion, and a whole lot more to tame the tough­est ob­sta­cles. All com­pet­ing cars were re­quired to have a roll cage; in com­pe­ti­tions like this one, roll-overs are com­mon­place.

At the end of the day, the team of Dat­taraj Lawande and Kr­ishna Bhobe were de­clared win­ners in the Stock class, hav­ing com­pleted all the ob­sta­cles in the short­est time and with the least penal­ties for mak­ing er­rors or go­ing off the course.

In the Mod­i­fied class, it was Earl Bra­ganza who came out on top, while in the Ladies class is was Maithili Bhobe who came out on top.

With a fan­tas­tic week­end of mud-plug­ging be­hind me, I packed my bags and headed back to Pune, look­ing for­ward to my next off-road­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture.

The next in­stal­ment of the Great Es­cape and Tro­phy Chal­lenge will be held in Sak­lesh­pur. You may keep track of that and more such events on the Mahin­dra Ad­ven­ture web­site.

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