Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy 2019
“Turn left! Steer slight right and just floor the throttle!” screamed a spotter as his driver attempted to go past a massive slush pit in a Mahindra Thar. This is the 2019 Mahindra Adventure Off-roading Trophy that took place last weekend in Igatpuri at Mahindra’s Off-Road Training Academy. The sights here are spectacular, especially in monsoons as the trails are set among a picture perfect landscape of a lush green forest and a railway line running parallel to the academy’s boundary.
The trails in Igatpuri are suited for off-roading experts and the level is extremely tough. According to Mahindra Adventure, it’s one of India’s toughest off-roading challenges. 31 winners from 10 Great Escapes across the country competed in the Off-Roading Trophy 2018-19. The objective was to collect as many flags as possible, without hitting the cones or breaking the tape. Each flag is worth 10 points while the most awkwardly placed super flag earns you 20 points. That apart, points are also awarded for vehicle preservation and completing the obstacle within the given time frame.
Mahindra Thar 4X4
When you climb onto the Thar, it feels almost indestructible. It’s rugged and raw and assures you that it’ll go over anything that comes in its way. And it has a lot going for it in the off-roading department thanks to the vast off-roading kit that it comes with. It has a mechanical locking rear differential, Borgwarner 4X4 system and a low ratio gearbox. Moreover, the cars at the event were equipped with 245/75 R16 Radar Renegade R7 off-roading tyres in place of standard rubber. The wider grooves on these tyres help drain mud and water.
Participants tackled several obstacles over the course of two days. The first obstacle had a series of tight inclines and declines that were filled with plenty of loose gravel. Participants floored the throttle and on most occasions, the Thar went past in just one attempt. This obstacle ran simultaneously with the W510 Climb, named after Mahindra’s upcoming new Thar. This 35-feet plus climb posed a big challenge to the participants and only few exceptionally skilled drivers made it to the top.
During the second part of the day, participants tackled two challenges which had longer driving times. They drove through slushy climbs and navigated through tricky pits. This required participants to strategize and throttle control played an integral part in finishing the obstacle. The Thar however was in its natural habitat and looked indestructible.
On day two the difficulty level was taken a notch higher. The slush pits were deep and the climbs were much steeper. The super flags looked out of reach but the heavy downpour helped as the soil eroded, exposing the rocks beneath and helping the cars get some traction. The last obstacle named Blind Zone had everything from water fording to steep descents, testing the Thar’s wheel articulation and the drivers’ judgement. Being the last obstacle, this one was a game changer for many as the flags collected here earned them the final set of points.
After two days of grueling obstacles, Bopaiah K from Kodagu, Karnataka emerged as the winner and won the first prize, a Mahindra Thar 700, followed by Vipin Varghese from Wayanad and Alan K Abraham from Ernakulam, Kerala, who finished second and third respectively. In the ladies category, once again Sapna Gurukar was crowned the winner. She won the ladies class two years in a row.