The maiden Mahindra Adventure Club Challenge that took place in Goa has been successfully concluded on 14th July 2015. The event witnessed the gathering of ten reputed off-road clubs from different parts of India. In the challenge, Bangalore Off-road Development Authority (B.O.D.A) emerged as the winners followed by Tamil Nadu Off-Roaders and V5 Off-Road Club from Coorg. The two-day event saw the competitor’s highly modified Thars going head to head with the obstacles Mahindra has set for them.
The dare put the teams and their vehicles to test by them, mostly Thars, to their very limit. Each team was allowed to use three different vehicles depending upon the difficulty of the obstacle. This difficulty level was preset by Mahindra Adventure and it allowed only allocated vehicles to be used in a particular set of an obstacle. Three categories were Pro-Stock, Modified and Pro-Modified. The Pro-Stock vehicle was basically the stock 4x4 Thar with AT/MT tyres, snorkel and winch. While the Modified category allowed the participants to raise the height of the vehicle, change the stock axles, and other off-road modification that didn't alter the stock engine, gearbox and transfercase. Lastly, the Pro-Modified category allowed pretty much every sort of modification that one can imagine with a Mahindra vehicle except for the body used was supposed to be of the manufacturer.
The day one of the event included reporting to the Varanda Do Mar Hotel, Miramar, Goa where the scrutiny of the vehicles took place in noon followed by driver briefing and Flag-off. The vehicles rallied to the track venue, IT Park Ground, just aside the Manipal Hospital.
Upon reaching the venue, the teams were briefed about the obstacles and how to approach them. The first obstacle was a relay, named Mucky Relay, that needed all the three vehicles categories to participate. That included Pro-Stock completing the first leg, a path filled with mild ups and downs. The Modified class carried on with the second leg that had a couple of axle twisters handing over the flag to the Pro-Modified vehicle that attempted the last one of this relay, in which almost every vehicle fell prey to the ditch at the end of this leg.
The second obstacle was for the Pro-Modified vehicle that included a steep 15-20 feet descent into a ditch full of bushes and slush, was ideally named ‘No Man’s Trench’. It hadn't ended there as now the vehicle has to climb back from other side, go halfway around on the lip of the ditch and then descent again from another side only to climb back out. This one was so gruesome that one vehicle clipped its axle while another snapped a steering rod, thus meeting elimination as vehicle preservation was among the chief aspects for getting best marks.
First day’s endurance lasted close to 1 o’clock in a rain-drenched and humid night, while Goa-based Incredible Offroaders came first, Kerala based KTM Jeepers stood second while Tamil Nadu Offroaders earned the third spot.
It began with what Mahindra called ‘Rock the Flags’ obstacle. It was a narrow ascend composed of boulders which moved as soon as the vehicle climbed it. While a few teams managed to go to the top many vehicles got stuck in the process and were eventually pulled out by JCB.
The event went on to the next obstacle that put the trailer handling skills of the teams to test. The vehicle was hooked to a trailer and then had to go round a small track that had mild undulation on the simple part and a huge hump of tyres popping out of the ground for the difficult part. This one largely focussed on trailer maneuverability skill and every team was able to get past it without much difficulty.
Next up was something that could be called the trickiest obstacle of all as it demanded vehicles (Pro-Modified) to climb through a bridge of junky car bodies, called Demolition Derby, and jump off. And as the teams went on trying to complete this one, the bridge of junky cars went on getting out of shape for the other teams. Most of the teams were not able to complete it except three, thanks to some one-off modifications and of course driver skill. This one also allowed the use of equipment like winches and ladder tracks (small bridge like track used to cross small ditches).
Last but not the least was the obstacle named ‘Make your path’ that tested teamwork. The teams were supposed to make a bridge of wooden logs over a trench in and under the allocated time. Despite this one was the easiest of all the obstacles, the teams demonstrated seamless cooperation and partisanship. I mean, there was a lot of yelling, tension, sweat and energy in that environment, but it was only something that was done in an effort to win.
Lastly, it was the result time and B.O.D.A. won the competition with 168 points with Tamil Nadu Offroader and V5 offroaders following them with 156 and 151.6 points respectively.
To sum it up, Club Challenge was a remarkable event as the teams participating themselves organize off road events in their areas. Which indicates towards their expertise in this slow breeding off-road space of India. Sure, they were fearless and had toys that you would not see normally, but above this they had the skill and a will to keep going off-road.