Being organized by the Himalayan Motorsport Association since 1999, Raid De Himalaya is one of the oldest international motorsports events. Brainchild of Vijay Parmar, Atul Handa and Manjeev Bhalla, the rally is one of the most prestigious racing rallies from India to be listed in the off-road rallies calendar of Federation Internationale Motorcyclisme (FIM), Geneva, Switzerland!
The event is organized once every year and currently in its 17th edition, the rally has an iconic status for being the toughest motorsport events in India open to both professionals and amateur motorsport enthusiasts. The Raid covers some 2,000 kms of racing over a span of 10 days and tests participants’ endurance levels in the face of adverse terrain. But, that’s not all. It is the unpredictable weather too that can alter the course as clear skies may suddenly turn into a dense cloud cover followed by snow!
The mean elevation during the rally is about 4,000 meters and participants drive through some of the most dangerous roads and world’s highest and toughest motorable passes such as Khardung La, Barlacha La, Rohtang and Kunzum La. Since it is a high altitude rally the temperature dips as low as – 10 degrees at some spots and add to the difficulty level of the rally. It goes without saying that it will leave you exhausted, gasping for breath, but thrilled and satisfied for having participated! In addition, what sets it apart from other rallies is that it runs on a marathon format with some stages that run longer than 100 kms. To add to this x-factor, the raid is open to both cars and bikes.
For many it is a privilege to participate in because it is an annual celebration of daredevilry, speed and adrenalin rush! Since the rally has a world-wide reputation it sees participation from people across the globe. From within the country we’ve seen participation from IT professionals, students, housewives, engineers, doctors, top-notch bureaucrats and the Indian army! The charm of Raid has left even Bollywood celeb amaze as we saw Sohail Khan participate in the Adventure Trial format last year. And, why not. After all, if you make it to the finish line, you will have bragging rights for life to have survived the raid!
At this juncture, let us break the stereotype of the kind of cars that participate in the rally. Most believe that since it is a rally you have to spend a fortune to modify your car (which you do but for X-treme format!), but it is really not so! For Adventure Trial format you can bring your regular car and test its underestimated mettle. Usually people think that these everyday cars we drive or what we technically refer to as ‘stock cars’ can’t withstand the terrain, but it is half-truth. We’ve seen Nano participate in the rally!
Having spoken about the grand stature of the race, let’s briefly tell you about the two categories of Raid De Himalaya.
Adventure Trial: It is recommended for first-timers or those who may or may not have experience of a rally and want to participate in a format that is relatively less dangerous. However, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be a cakewalk. You will drive through a tough mountainous terrain. The founders of the Rally say that the difficulty level of this format is 7 on 10. Adventure Trial runs on a TSD format i.e. Time, Distance and Speed, wherein you will drive at a prescribed speed limit and be marked accordingly.
More on Adventure Trial coming soon!
X-treme: category of the Raid De Himalaya rally has a difficulty level of 9 on 10 and is open for cars and individuals who have bikes and quads. The teams vroom on their vehicles through the roads interspersed with streams and gravel gradient that tests your vehicles’ responsiveness and presence of mind. It’s a pure racing category where speed is all that matters.
Although registration is open for professionals with past experience of rallies, but the founders say that it is no thumb rule. First-timers if found competent and upon assessment by the ‘Participation Committee’ too can participate in this category.
More on X-treme category coming soon!
Photo Credit: Varun Chaudhary
Watch out for more blogs from the series because over a period of time we will discuss about who can participate costs involved, how you can prepare yourself for the raid that’ll take place in high altitude, how you can prepare your vehicle, selecting the vehicle among a host of other things.
Do you want to participate in the Raid? Find details about registration fee and other details on this link
Written By: Sharanya Manola