Arctic weather conditions over the high passes of Himalayas were unable to cool the competitive fire of the contestants of the ninth Raid De Himalaya. Having spent 3 hours waiting for a go ahead from safety conscious Raid officials they came out firing on all cylinders.
ABHISHEK MISHRA (CAR # 32) from Jaipur was the first victim of this restraint. His over enthusiasm cost him dearly a he rolled his GYPSY 3 Kms below the KUNZUM PASS, promptly attended to by the Rally Ambulance, which reached the site of the accident within 10 mintues, he and his co-driver were treated for minor cuts and bruises.
Meanwhile SURESH RANA maintained his LEAD over HARPREET BAWA with a combination of consummate skill and local knowledge. BAWA, no mean competitor himself, is determined to prevent this competition from becoming a one horse race. CAPTAIN A S BRAR, a tenacious faugi also showing the right stuff in holding on to THIRD place.
ASHISH MOUDGIL, last year’s runners-up, is in FIRST position in the X-TREME MOTORCYCLE category with Chandigarh lad SANDEEP MATHARU SECOND. SACHIN CHAUHAN riding a ROYAL ENFIELD BULLET has moved upto THIRD. The surprise package is proving KLAUDIA HONEDER, the fiery redhead from AUSTRIA is shooting up the standing and is now in the FIFTH position.
RANJAN MUKHERJEE’s (# 47) CAR hit a rock which punctures its petrol tank while desending the ROHTANG PASS. Repairs were done at GRAMPHOO and he resumed to suffer another underbody scrape which put paid to his aspirations.
The ADVENTURE TRIAL which has not suffered as high as attrition rate as the X-TREME, has 39 vehicles left in fray out of the 49 started from SHIMLA.
MITHUN SIKKA(CAR # 87) suffered radiator damage to his TATA SAFARI but tried manfully to continue until it finally overheated and came to a shuddering halt. He was picked by rally officials and his vehicle towed to BATAL . CAR # 52 MOOSA SHARIF is also out with mechanical trouble.
TEGINDER SINGH BAINS (CAR # 61) experienced brake failure while coming down the treacherous ROHTANG PASS and had to affect repairs at GRAMPHOO. He limped into KAZA having moved down the standings.
ANOOP SINGH VIRDI hammered his underbody projection so badly that it broke his oil filter. He too continued after repairs.
Today’s Leg is in the LAHAUL valley with the threat of more snow in the BARALACHA PASS. Snow chains being mandatory, there should be an interesting day ahead.