Sri Lanka is a seriously pretty place where people are genteel and welcoming if you ever visit the place as a tourist. But this autorickshaw rally, called the Rebull Tukit, puts the focus on their crazy side.
The rally is a 48-hour affair where teams of 3 take on challenges and tasks throughout iconic routes around Sri Lanka. The event takes the teams from the Western part of the country, progressing into the Central Hills which passes through mountains, jungles and culturally important heritage sites.
The rally also has an autocross stage where the three-wheelers go slug it out on a dirt track with a driver in the front seat and a passenger who acts as ballast to help the thing turn and also to keep it from turning over. The rickshaws used in the race are 2-stroke Bajaj REs, which are exported to the island country from India. If you thought how these things are ridden in India is crazy, watching our neighbours go racing and making them take air is crazy on another level. As they are here, autorickshaws are a popular mode of transport in Sri Lanka too.
If you’re thinking about the domestic auto industry in the island nation, there aren’t any manufacturing facilities and everything that’s got wheels is imported. Sri Lanka imports all its automobiles, and it is possible that for every 10 cars that you see, all 10 can wear a different badge. However, buying a car is an expensive affair in the Island nation as the country levies a duty of approximately Rs.1,350 Sri Lankan for every cc of the engine’s capacity, no matter what you import.
Among Indian brands, TVS and Bajaj are quite popular as brands in the country. Otherwise, the roads are full of imports, which are mostly used cars which arrive in the country from Japan and elsewhere. The Lankans are extremely disciplined when it comes to road manners and the roads themselves are top-notch in terms of quality. There’s a lot we can learn from them in those areas.