Motorsports! Motorsports has always excited me. This is one thing that makes be goes weak in my knees. I have followed World Rally Championship as a kid and love the way Sebastian Loeb drives. The Frenchman in his French rally car not just won multiple championships but also broken many records. I have always dreamt of being a rally driver. But we in India have never had the opportunity to experience one. Raid de Himalayas have been around, but not much scope for the spectators. Access to motorsports in India has been reserved, rather limited. Being born and raised in the country’s capital I never had access to motorsports, until very recently automotive manufacturers started to introduce motorsport activities to the hoi polloi like us. With the help of Tata Motors, I got this opportunity not just to witness but also participate in a time speed distance (TSD) rally. So, Blaze de Rajasthan is the first TSD rally where me (Bhupesh Chadha) will participate in. My partner was a close friend of mine (mention the name if you wish to). Since, I had always been good at reading maps, I took up the challenge for navigating. The fact was, I didn’t know how a TSD rally map will look like. So, the pre-briefing session proved to be helpful as it didn’t just help to see the maps, but also how them. The session was indeed very helpful. Next day began with me as the navigator and my pal as the driver. We participated in the amateur 4x2 category with our vehicle being the Sumo Gold, a car that I had seen for ages. The design has aged, but it doesn’t look outdated. I believe that boxy styling is the new in-thing. The Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is a living example, though the hardware of that thing can blow off your head along with your hair. The idea is not to compare the two, but I’m just making a point for boxy designs. So, we began from our hotel Fern early in the morning, when the sun was sleeping with not-so-hot ambient conditions. Soon, we were flagged off and there began our first TSD rally. My mind was racing through all the tips and advises that we were given and my eyes were constantly on the map, giving the feedback to my brain to calculate the directions. And then, there was smudge in the sky and the God of Fire in its softer orange avatar began to rise, spreading its rays to conquer the black sky territory. Even though it was a Tata initiated event, organizers had opened the bar to cars of all makes. We had a variety of cars from the Maruti Suzukis, to the Mahindras to the BMWs. The route we were told will be scenic, with different topographies and as we started to move away from the Pink City, everything on the way was worth a click. We passed by the Jal Mahal, one of best palaces that eyes can ever encounter. I had my own worries, and the day heat was one of them. The noon heat during summers in a desert is one of the most difficult climatic conditions. Saw many cars broken-down on the way. But the Sumo gold didn’t soldier on through, but even the air-conditioning did a fantastic job of cutting out the heat. The new engine on the Sumo Gold had sufficient torque to pull it in chaotic Jaipur traffic, but also on the wide highway, and even through small villages. The torque produced wasn’t just sufficient to cruise, but also to blaze through Rajasthan roads. My other worry was hunger, which was taken care with the packed breakfast and fruit juices that came to us in the morning before we were flagged off. So this was taken care by the organizers. TSD Rally taught me one more important aspect— patience. Generally on seeing an empty wide road, we press the accelerator and drive like a racing driver. With TSD, we have to cover the distance in an allocated time and hence we had to drive slowly while other cars overtook us.
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