Spinning Wheels of Adventure!
A short piece on one of my lesser-known passions – Drive with a Difference
While Maruti Suzuki always organises diverse rallies to entertain and engage motorsports enthusiasts, my favourite remains #MSDesertStorm. In fact, I have always made time for a Desert Safari whenever I chanced to visit Dubai. The experience of a powerful 4WD vehicle beneath you, making those impossible climbs on sand dunes you can’t see beyond is truly adrenaline pumping. These rides on an undulating, ever-shifting terrain are absolute edge-of-the-seat affairs. Long story short, dune bashing totally turns me on!
Maruti Suzuki organises India’s mother-of-all dune-bashings every year – #MSDesertStorm. This is a gruelling rally that covers a terrain that is not for the faint hearts! Cutting through the inhospitable Thar (also called the Great Indian) Desert, the total distance of 2100 km over 6 days tests both the man and his machine thoroughly and comprehensively. While there are rallies and rallies galore that take place on different terrain, a desert rally has its own pull for adventure lovers. The shifting sands, the sudden loss of control, the heat, dust, and grime, the mostly monotonous landscape and the unpredictability of what may lie ahead after the next turn – all add to its appeal.
The fifteenth edition of the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm concluded on 4th of February this year. Competitors could test their mettle in 4 categories – Moto (exclusively for two-wheelers), Xtreme, Ndure, and Xplore. While normal vehicles could participate in Ndure and Xplore categories, the vehicles taking part in Xtreme categories needed to be equipped with additional safety features that included (but were not limited to) roll bar/cage, non-reclining rally seats, safety harness, first aid kit, extraction kit et al.
This year the rally was flagged off from Delhi and ended at Jodhpur. The route was Delhi-Hanumangarh-Bikaner-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur.
The Xplore category also provided some never-before flexibility to the participants – they could either opt to participate for the full 6 days or choose to participate in shorter legs. Other than that, the category saw fierce competition between budding enthusiasts, in which Karthick Maruthi and Sankar Anand emerged as winners. Likewise, Nikunj Toshniwal and Suvrajit Dutta won the Ndure category.
As always, the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2017 also had its own share of twists and turns. There were close shaves, near misses and even some crashes (thankfully, no casualties), competitive timings and more. While many first-timers took part in this edition of #MSDesertStorm, participants also included veterans like Suresh Rana who has already won the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya 10 times and won the Xtreme category this year with his co-driver Ashwin Naik. CS Santosh who won the Moto section of #MSDesertStorm last year and had successfully completed the extremely demanding Dakar Rally was also present. But this time, CS Santosh who maintained his lead till the very end in the Moto category, lost his title to R Nataraj, due to missing the exact finish line.
Other than just preparing for the next Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm, riders are also excited about different challenges in different rallies organized by Maruti Suzuki throughout the year.
More from Maruti Suzuki
They have rallies like Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, which is considered to be one of the toughest rallies in the world due to the fact that it is organized at remote locations like Kaza and Sarchu in extreme terrains. Moreover, it attracts participants not just from India, but also from other countries like Australia etc. Suresh Rana from Team Maruti has won the rally 10 times. Other star drivers from Maruti include people like Sandeep Sharma & Bani Yadav.
They also have competitions such as Maruti Suzuki Autocross Championship which is divided into two zones- North and South covering cities like Kochi, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Noida. The best part about it is that anyone with a valid DL can participate in it, and expand their venture into the world of motorsports. This year Amanpreet Ahluwalia emerged as the winner after a grueling final at BIC Noida.
Similarly, Maruti Suzuki National Superleague TSD Rally Championship calls people from all genres to test their skills in all the 6 rallies (Uttarakhand Rally, Backwaters Rally, 5th Mughal Rally, Deccan Rally, Rally of Arunachal and Rally of Himachal) organized by them for the championship. This year the championship was won by Karthick Maruthi who was awarded Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
Maruti Suzuki Motorsports doesn’t just stop at rallies being held in north India, they have expanded this cult and started a rally in South India known as Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Rally. In the first year, itself, it has gathered an enormous number of participants from everywhere. Last year the rally was concluded in Goa, with Suresh Rana and co-driver Parminder Thakur emerging as winners in Ultimate Cars category, whereas Ganesh Moorthy and T Nagarajan took home the trophy in the Endurance Cars category.
Are they excited?
If comments from the varied set of participants on the just concluded Maruti Desert Storm are to be believed, these avid rally-ists have already started to plan for the next edition of Desert Storm and the other rallies on offer by Maruti Suzuki. Winners may have had their glorious moments at #MSDesertStorm, but even the other participants seem to have had an equally exciting time! If you find that hard to believe, check out the action in the video below and I bet you’d turn believers!