The motorsport scenario in India is still at a nascent stage but there are some popular names which have managed to leave a mark. Ashish Raorane has to be one of them. A Mariner by profession and the only privateer rally-raid racer in India, Ashish registered his name in the history by participating in the Malle Moto category of the Dakar Rally 2021. And now, the motorsport legend has done it again by setting the fastest known time record from Batal to Kunzum La in Himachal Pradesh, astride a KTM 390 Adventure.
The World’s Highest Hill Climb Challenge is a 12.5 km treacherous mountain pass stretch from Batal (4000 m) to Kunzum La (4551 m) with 20 hairpin bends. The average temperature is -5 degree Celsius.
Ashish went head-to-head with 11-time Raid de Himalaya winner, Suresh Rana in his rally-spec championship car on an adrenaline-pumping high-speed face off for the crown of Kunzum Kaiser. Suresh Rana hit the road first to set the time on his rally-spec championship car. The car started off at a blistering pace, but unfortunately had to bow out of the challenge due to engine block damage on turn 18. A champion athlete and his championship car “DNF” due to engine failure was a testament to the difficulty of the challenge. The time set at turn 18 was a very competitive 11 minutes 49 seconds.
Ashish Raorane was next to take on the challenge on the KTM 390 Adventure. He pushed the machine to its limits and continued to lead the time on every turn. He reached the Kunzum La finish line at an impressive time of 13 minutes and 4 seconds, thereby setting the fastest known time record.
A marine engineer by profession, Ashish has been racing international rallies as a privateer for the past three years. Last year, he competed in the Baja World Championship, finishing 12th in the world rankings. He also became the first Indian to complete the Africa Eco Race. Ashish also participated in the 2021 Dakar Rally with his KTM 450 Rally Replica machine.
“Considering the altitude at which this challenge is taking place, cold sub-zero temperatures, windy conditions, treacherous nature of the road due to loose rocks and hairpin bends, this was definitely a very dangerous challenge. But I was confident that the KTM 390 Adventure and I will conquer this challenge,” Raorane said.
“I first rode the KTM 390 Adventure during the launch in Pune, and I really loved the way the bike handles and ergonomics that the bike has. The KTM 390 Adventure is similar in design to my KTM 450 Rally bike. The electronics package on the 390 Adventure includes Motorcycle Traction Control, Quickshifter+, Off-Road ABS, Cornering ABS makes it perfect to conquer such a terrain. This bike is definitely built for those wanting to fit more adventure into their daily lives.”