Manali conducts Himachal first autocross rally on country’s largest dirt track

Manali: Encouraged by the off-road driving skills of ace rallyist Suresh Rana, Himalayan Xtreme Sports Association, an association founded by a group of young rally lovers, have prepared a autocross dirt track spread over more than 50 bigha of land at Patlikuhal 25kms from Manali to organize autocross rallies and train more rallyists.

The association organized first ever autocross rally “Himalayan Autocross” in different categories on Wednesday where entries were accepted only from Himachali rally lovers as per the organizers it was only an introduction-cum-training run. This event got 35 entries for 2X2, 4X4 and extreme categories of rally cars while more than 20 entries were registered from bikers for different categories. A titanic crowd gathered at the track to wittiness the first such event in the state.

Nine times winner of Raid-de-Himalaya rally Suresh Rana has designed the track where special attention has been paid to the safety, while keeping in view the tricky turns, slushy ponds and challenging edges to meet the international standards. “We don’t have such track anywhere in Himachal and the country too has very few autocross tracks. A large number of youth from across the country are showing their interest to participate in rallies. This is a mutual effort to provide a platform for rally lovers to learn and race,” disclosed raina while speaking to Hill post .

“We saw many youth rallying on the highway which is dangerous. We are now requesting everyone to come here and learn the techniques from masters,” another organizer Pintu Sood said. He added“The area is vast and is a private land. Track passes through a beautiful pond and green trees. Toilets, restaurants and parking facilities are ready. We wish to host national and international acuto-cross soon.

The organizers disclosed that more than 30 officials were engaged to ensure smooth conduct of event. As three rally lovers were over 35 years of age, a special 35+ category in 4X4 was made for them. In novice category, a few newcomers were given opportunity to prove their mettle. Suresh Rana also completed a demo run on the track with young deputy superintendent of police Puneet Raghu, who is also a sport lover, and clocked first. Final results were not out till late evening as the event was still continuing.

Veer Chatrath, the founder member of the association said they have prepared 2.6km track for cars and 3.1km-long track for motorbikes. “This is just a beginning. So many more rallyists from other states were keen to take part in the event but we refused them as we wanted to check all safety norms and technical difficulties first. So it was just a training and introductory run where we offered everyone to take part. We shall promote this track, which we call “Alternate Terrain”, as eco-friendly and safest track of the country.”

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