Yesterday’s thrills and spills proved to be an appetizer for the participants of the ninth Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya as nature served up the main course when an overnight snow storm led to winter alpine conditions.
Dark clouds hung over the ROHTANG PASS as 20 BIKES and 15 CARS were flagged off this morning from Manali’s MOUTAINEERING INSTITUTE. Meanwhile 44 CARS were still in the running in the ADVENTURE TRIAL. What it meant was that the attrition rate of the first day had been unusually high.
MARHI greeted the rallyists with a white-out and doubts began to be entertained by the faint hearted. The decision to soldier on and attempt a crossing of the ROHTANG PASS was taken by Raid Organizers and a major logistic excercise of getting 80 participants across snow and ice was launched. The wisdom of ensuring each competitor carried snow chains soon came to the fore as a successful crossing was achieved.
SURESH RANA the reigning champion is once again in the LEAD amongest X-TREME CARS with HARPREET BAWA a close SECOND. Last year’s motorcycling champion on the X-TREME category ASHISH MOUDGILL is LEADING in his section. Rookie SANDEEP SINGH MATHARU is coming SECOND.
An interesting element in the form of ALONG AIER of Nagaland a former champion is looming as a possible threat in THIRD place among CARS with CAPTION A S BRAR FOURTH.
Today’s section also rans as one of the roughest and toughest as the mighty ROHTANG PASS and KUNZUM LA have to be attempted in conditions which would intimidate the faint of heart.