156 Rallyists line up for 13th Raid de Himalaya

Shimla: Not all will be going past the Rohtang Pass in this years Raid as the organizers have chalked out a different route for amateurs while the professionals go down the beaten route, crossing the highest motorable mountain passes on the planet.

With a ceremonial flag off on 10th October, Himalayan Motorsport Association, the motoring club that conducts the Raid here disclosed that the 13th Raid de Himalaya would be flagged off from Shimla on 11th October and would end in Srinagar on 16th October.

Readying for the Raid - Photo by: Lalit Kumar

“In all there would be 156 participants for this years Raid,” says Manjeev Bhalla spokesman of the motorsport club.

While 75 four wheeler vehicles have logged in for the adventure trail section, there are 37 motorcycles and 44 four wheel vehicles that will battle it out for the trophy in the X-treme section, he said.

Veterans of many Raids, Team Thunderbolt, Team Eagle Motorsport, Team Army Adventure Wing, Team Air Force and Team Maruti are participating again as are the Austrian Rally Team in the motorcycle category.

Kitzmuller Siegfried in a BMW G450X, Helly Frauwallner on a HUSQVARNA 450, Lehner Gottfried on KTM 690, Lehner Johann on a KTM 690 and Hans Sach on a KTM 450 as part of Rally Team Austria are the only foreign participants in the event.

In the four wheel category 5 time winner at the Raid, Suresh Rana from Team Thunderbolt, last years winner Major Arminder Brar and well known driver Sunny Sidhu from Chandigarh would be racing against each other yet again.

In the motorcycle category, Rajeev Khanna, a veteran of Himalayan Rally fame, has entered as a participant for the second year in a row.

With a track record of only 25 percent starting finishing the race in the X-treme category the route starting out from Shimla would crossover Satluj River at Luhri, climb over Jalori Pass to enter Kullu-Manali valley.

It will be cold, very very cold, says Vijay Parmar, president of the club. “Finishing in itself will be an unbelievable victory as rallying at 6000 meters is unheard of,” he adds.

On day two it will go over Rohtang Pass and going beyond Keylong would pass Darcha, Patseo, Sarchu, and Pang to end the day at Leh. En route the Raid would cross over some of the highest motorable roads in the world.

From Leh on day three the route does a loop through Karu, Shakti, Wari La, Khalsar, touches the highest point on the route at Khardung La and returns to Leh.

Day four heads out from Leh to Kargil and after passing Parkachik closes at Rangdum.

On the fifth day the rally does a loop from Rangdum, Penzi La, Pandum to return to Rangdum.

On the last day Raid after starting from Rangdum goes through Kargil, Dras and ends at Srinagar, where the winners’ ceremony will be held the next day.

With a recurring landslide near Rohtang Pass have post logistic problems, for the Adventure Trail race the organizers have put the route through Kullu, Mandi, Kangra to end the second day at Dalhousie in Chamba district.

Day three the Adventure moves through a new route over Chatergala and Sinthan Passes in Chamba to Kathua, Doda, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Pulwana to end the day after logging 450 Kms at Srinagar.

On 14th October this category heads to Rangdum after crossing Zanskar valley. The next day the adventure does a loop from Rangum to Padum and back to Rangdum. On the last day the Adventure heads back to Srinagar to finish the rally.

The prize distribution would be held the next day in Srinagar with a party thrown in.

“Vegetarianism is an unknown persuasion in Kashmir,” is how the organizers say the finishing event will conclude with.

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