Welcome again to the third blog of our series on the most awaited motorsport event of the year, the rally ‘Raid De Himalaya’. The objective behind writing this blog is to equip you with all the information that you’re seeking on 4×4 X-treme category of the rally. Make sure you don’t forget to bookmark the link, in case you want to keep coming back to it to help you prepare, at least in theory.

Difficulty level clocks at 9 on 10

The X-treme category is all about dating danger and no wonder that this event finds a mention in the international circuit! On terrain where you can barely even touch 30km/h, you will need to don the hat of a speed guru and literally fly on the unfriendly roads! Besides, the challenge of the Raid is competitive driving on high altitudes that demand the most you and your machine can give!

This is one reason why every participant must adhere to the strict guidelines on vehicle modifications that guarantees safety. Failing to adhere to these guidelines, your vehicle may not be allowed to hit the road.

Raid De HimalayaPhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

What do I get in return for my participation ?

Sleep deprivation, oxygen starvation and a constant drain on physical and mental resources will push you to the limits and then over ! This rally will always have you outside your comfort zone. The unexpected is just around the next corner and it’s not necessarily pleasant. You will need to fight the terrain, the weather and your weaknesses. You can overcome all these or you can just drop out and go home to an ordinary life spent in the safety of a gated community.

What you take home for your pains is up to you. Victory or defeat.

Who can participate?

The 4X4 X-treme category is for professionals who have past rally experience, preferably of the Himalayan Raid.

First-timers may be allowed to participate in this category only after a close assessment done by the organizers and if they have participated and finished other national Off Road rallies like the Desert Storm.

If you are going to participate for this category, you will need to spend some moolah getting your car modified so that it can withstand the challenges of racing on the harsh roads of the rally route.

What are the various categories?

Unlike the Adventure Trial where only cars are allowed, this category is more inclusive; Cars, bikes and quad owners can register. You have options aplenty because they are categorized even further. For instance: X-treme cars have T1, T2 and T3 categories based on the vehicle modification while bikes and quad owners can participate in the Moto Quad Alpine or the Moto Quad X-treme.

Himalaya RallyPhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

Categories explained

All vehicles entering T1, T2,T3, and T4 groups will be governed by the FIA regulations for T1, T2,T3 and T4.

Group T1 gives you the liberty to mix and match engines, gear boxes and chassis of any vehicle with yours, to produce the finest custom-made mean machine for this inhospitable terrain. The classes are based on the basis of cylinder and capacity.

Group T1 – Modified Cross Country Vehicles 2WD and 4WD

  • Class 1: 1000 CC up to 1350 CC
  • Class 2: Over 1350 CC up to 1850 CC
  • Class 3: Over 1850 CC

Group T2 – Cross County Vehicles 2WD and 4WD

  • Class 4: Over 1000 CC up to 1350 CC
  • Class 5: Over 1350 CC up to 1850 CC
  • Class 6: Over 1850 CC

Group T3 – Series Cross Country Vehicles 2WD and 4WD Trucks

  • Class 7: Over 250 CC up to 3000 CC

Group T4 – Series (Trucks)

  • Class 8: Over 2000 CC up to 8000 CC

Moto Quad X-treme is for professionals (6 days) whereas Moto Quad Alpine (3 days) is the shorter version of the Moto Quad X-treme for the less experienced riders. Even for the ‘Alpinists’ those 72 hours on the road will be pure hell!

Xtreme Moto SportsPhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

Let’s now elucidate upon the 4×4 X-treme format

X-treme follows a pure rally format where speed,skill and presence of mind is all that matters. You will be tested for your driving skills, the navigator for his precision in interpreting the road book and quick calculations and your vehicle for its endurance level when racing along the unforgiving roads on merciless Himalayan terrain!

The days route will be divided between two types of road sections: transport and competitive.

Now, before the flag-off you will be handed a road book that has symbols called ‘tulips’ that you will need to follow throughout the rally. This Road Book is the bible for your days outing and has to be followed perfectly.

Transport stages connect to Competitive stages and are run within speed limits in oncoming traffic. No racing here.

Competitive stages are closed for oncoming traffic and the highest speed achieved will count for the lowest penalties. The winner is the driver with the least number of penalties, normally mentioned in hours, minutes and seconds, after the 6 days of the rally conclude.

Raid de Himalaya RoutePhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

What’s the route you will be driving on?

Every year, the route to of the rally keeps changing, but one thing’s for sure that you will cover roughly 2,000kms over a span of 6 days. The mean elevation during the rally is about 4,000 meters and at certain places the temperature may be as low as -10 degrees!

Please note: This year the route will be announced in July. Watch out for updates here

Raid De Himalaya RallyPhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

What happens if your vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere?

The organizers have Sweep Teams for every stage who operate as a rescue team. If you are driving a car, your vehicle will be left where it is unless within the 10 km range from the nearest town and you will be given a ride to the night’s halt. If you are a motorcyclist, your bike will be loaded in the ‘Breakdown Truck’ and be offloaded in the nearest town where you can repair it or arrange for an alternate transport machine. The organizers will assist you in your efforts to arrange for a local recovery truck to transport your machine back home, but the expenses will be borne by the competitor, which in this case is–YOU.

There will be ‘FIV’s or fast intervention vehicles and life-saving ambulances along the route that relay information to and fro to ensure all are safe and sound. Helicopter evacuation option is also available, but only if pre-booked.

Himalayan AdventurePhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

What if I wander off the track?

With the road book in hand it is very unlikely that you will lose track because there are usually no alternative tracks. However, even if you do, the radio cars will come to know within 10 minutes since they are responsible for tracking the progress made by a participant every 10 kms.

Who decides the flag-off order?

The flag-off order of Day 1 of the rally is decided by the organizers. However, for the following days the scoreboard and your points (lower the penalties, higher in the flag-off order) that will decide whether you have the benefit of starting earlier than your competitors.

Hope you’ve got answers to all the questions related to 4×4 X-treme. Please feel free to write to us should you have any queries. Our team will be happy to clarify your doubts.

Route Himalaya RallyPhoto Credit: Nitin Yadav

If you want to participate in the Raid, please see details about registration fee and other details on this link

Written By: Sharanya Manola