The 11th edition of the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, India’s longest, highest and most strenuous motorsport event, is all set to be flagged off on October 6 from Shimla. With around 115 teams from over 24 regions of the country as well as from abroad in the fray, the eight-day event – to be held during October 6-13 – will witness a roaring participation this year.
Some 210 motorsport enthusiasts across three categories – 70 in X-treme 4-wheelers, 20 in X-treme 2-wheelers (both for professionals), and 120 in Adventure Trial (for amateurs) – will be vying for the coveted title.
Among the participants will be eight doughty women rallyists and also four participants from the US, Detlef James, Gurpinder Sarao, and Prabhakar bothers – Gaurav and Ravinder. Mr Sarao will be participating in the 2-wheeler Xtreme category.
Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, listed on the off-road rallies calendar of Switzerland-based FIM (Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme), is the only Indian motorsport event that draws attention from the international rallying circuit.
The rally will traverse through Manali, Kunzum La, Rangdum, Patseo, Leh and Kargil to culminate at Srinagar, covering a distance of more than 2,000 kms, spread over multiple legs in seven days. The vehicle scrutiny is scheduled on October 5 and 6.
This time, the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya rally routes will be the same for participants in Xtreme and Adventure Trial.
The 11th Raid-de-Himalaya will run in three separate versions:
Xtreme: This version is the toughest of the lot and is open only to those 4-wheeler drivers who have prior rallying experience and have competed in one of the earlier editions of the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya or Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm. There are 35 teams participating in Xtreme 4-wheeler category in the 11th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya.
Adventure Trial : This version will run on the same challenging route and is open to those motorsport enthusiasts, who would like to take on the Himalayas but without the tough competition, difficulty and stress involved in the Xtreme. This section will be open only to stock cars and only certain safety-related modifications will be allowed in the competing cars. In the 11th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, 60 teams are competing in Adventure Trial category.
Bikes Xtreme: This section is open to bikes of all types and makes but there are certain regulations that the bikers will have to adhere to. Participants in this category are probably the bravest of the raiders, as they have to face the hostile weather and tough terrains without the comforts of a cabin surrounding them. In the 11th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, 20 bikers are competing in Xtreme 2-wheeler category.