Mahindra Club Challenge
A popular motorsport now, off-roading attracts a lot of enthusiasts these days in Indian metros
Over the years, the world of off-roading has changed quite a bit. Two decades ago, it was something that only a few people indulged in and predominantly the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy or a few Mahindra models were used for the same. Cut to this decade and the hobby has caught a lot of attention. A lot of youngsters have got into it and their choice of vehicle in most cases is the Mahindra Thar. And it was this very segment which the Indian carmaker was targeting when they launched the Thar a few years ago. Yes, it is priced atrociously, yes it doesn’t have any creature comforts but yet it is special in more ways than one.
To celebrate the spirit of off-roading and to give Thar owners a platform to socialize, Mahindra recently organized a Club Challenge and Thar Fest in the ever rocking Goa. The Club Challenge saw off-roading clubs from all across the country participating to win the title. The venue was also filled with loads and loads of Thar (they had a separate parking area!). The event wasn’t just about off-roading and had a stage set-up for music performances in the evening. However, when you have a chance to witness Thar’s getting down and dirty, you do not think about sitting inside and listening to the music no matter how good it is.
On the first night, the competition began quite late and went on till 3 a.m. There were multiple stages which each car had to cross and they marked depending on how well they fared in those. There were penalties to be incurred if the vehicle went offtrack or knocked the cones/bunting. It did rain a bit which made things tougher and a few cars did get stuck in between. But, most of the car were able to finish the stages in time and got good number of points. With the night stages done, it was time to rest as the next stages were scheduled to begin from late morning.
The event saw lots of visitors who had just come to see the vehicle perform
Come morning and the venue had a lot of hustle bustle as it was filled with enthusiasts who had come there to see the vehicles encounter the obstacles. The day was supposed to have three stages. Out of those, two were for the modified and pro-modified categories whereas one was for the stock Thar’s. The stock Thar’s activity was pretty interesting. The drivers had to play football with their Thar’s. Basically, a big ball had to be pushed from the start line to the finish line using the car. As easy as it may sound, it wasn’t so as the complete stage was made in deep slush which meant that go too fast and the ball would sink in or go too slow and you would lose out on time.
The two more serious stages were seeing a lot of action. The first one out of those included water wading, multiple climbs and all this while collecting flags on the course. The second stage was very interesting as that included crossing over a bus and multiple cars. It required team effort and six members from each club were participating at one time. This was one stage which tested the skills of the participants to the fullest. A few cars got stuck on top and couldn’t finish the stage while others managed to finish albeit in a little more time than stipulated.
Mahindra ensured that the media isn’t left to just watch others perform. Sometime during the day, we too were given the Thar to be driven on a rookie level course. We had to basically tow a few logs of wood with the car. We were judged on the basis of how well did we drive through the course. Being smooth is the key to being ahead in an off-roading challenge and I totally agree with that. The one who try to be too fast usually end up damaging their vehicles and lose out on time. In the evening, the results were announced and it was V5 Off-Roaders Coorg who won the Club Challenge. Overall, the event was a nice experience for Thar owners and off-roading enthusiasts.