Thanks for the overwhelming welcome guys! I didn't expect so soon. so much!
I do remember you jalexrosh!!
Well my indulgence into the motorsports was by mere chance, due to excessive emotional atyachar from the people around me. so I needed to vent all the aggression somewhere, so used to ride or drive like mad when under pressure, and one fine day just gave it a thought to watch a hill climb event at nandi hills near Bangalore early in the year 2010. After that first day out a couple of autocross helped me realise whats next.
My first rally was a raid type event for the south india, called "maruti suzuki dakshin dare", just finished the event and gained almost all sorts of surfaces & weather that can be seen in rallies. Also being into NCC during my studies :P years helped me to cope up with the rigorous demand of the sport. Ofcourse I planned it atleast 3months in advance, with good physical training and dirt track practice. Was fortunate to have an abandoned layout near my place which was frequented by other dirt track enthusiasts, which helped a lot to know the drill better. Also my childhood friend was an ex-rallyist and he too used to train along with me, which further helped me. Also equipped myself with all the necessary safety gears needed, like moto-x helmet, knee guards, body armour, off road boots, gloves, and just saved on the good looking colourful ones which goes on top of these, as I wasn't equipped with that kind of bank balance. My primary concern was safety and not much into looks. better to be safe than sorry. what say!?
But whatever the training, until the d-day one never knows the hard-truth & I learnt it the hard way on the first couple of kms of the first leg of the first event by taking a high speed crash (uffff! thinking of it, makes my guts jitter), but lucky enough to gain senses & continue, the first fall of my first km into my first event, oh boy that was something awesome and awful. a mixed feelings in equal proportions.
The further days I was told by fellow riders that I was improving. asked them how? they replied, that I was getting overtaken more towards the finish line, comparatively to earlier days of the event. that was enough for me. The coorg coffee estate stages were dark, slimy & scary with deep, random & criss-crossing ruts in downhill. couple of my friends dropped by to encourage and spectate. some pics by them but none of mine in action.
The third day was the Ooty stage was a winding hill climb 42+kms of tarmac (but boring for me after the steep climb began, as my bike had no power in it & rarely crossing 60kmph) Next day was the coimbatore stages, and cannot forget it for my life! I had ran over thorny bushes, for which coimbatore rally is famous for (later these thorns play a vital role in the return journey), and final day stage in munnar & the end of the raid rally racing competition.
Its a pity that 2wheeler INRC is stopped now!
Now for the beautiful tale of return journey. (disclaimer, read only if you have time & believe my words, all truth no exaggeration.)
I knew that satyamangalam ghats & forests takes no refuge, but wanted to take the chance, By the time I reached the last petrol pump before the ghats, it was falling dark, but decided to take it anyway. I also noticed a truck parked dangerously on the road near a few kms from the pump over a blind zig-zag corner & barely missed it in a few inches from colliding. lucky me !? just read-on! Also I made a couple of mistakes here. I just whizzed past without confirming or checking the bike initially until I saw some boards warning elephant & other wildlife prone area, which alerted my senses & decided to go back to the pump & fill up more gas & check pressure and stuff. while returning back, saw a huge crowd near that truck in that zig-zag corner. my god! a couple had collided and the rider (husband) was seriously injured on his head, bleeding & unconscious. I can barely speak tamil, so didn't dare to speak anything over there & finally they arranged transport to take the injured to hospital. so finally I took off and back to the pump filled up more gas, checked tyre pressure & headed off towards ghats, by this time the headlamps were lit. What I did use my intelligence once I saw that boards again, I found and began leading a jeeper to keep myself in surveillance of some human eyes through those pitch dark with series of switchback forest roads, until he stopped for a tea break after the ghat climb. this is where I think I made the mistake.
I should have stopped too & re-checked the tyres. Yes it was the front wheel which went flat after a few kms without my knowledge for a while, until I found the handle bar strangely heavy & just wiggled to confirm a flat and the thing happened. I was violently veering left and then right to slide over the dark abrasive tarmac in that bloodly scary dark forest road. just thinking of it still makes my hair raise in fear. during the first fall/crash of the race (on day 1) had left my left shoulder in pain, which now amplified like hell & was hurt from hip to shoulder as I was thrashed under the bike and dragged along a good few tens of meters to the edge of something straight brick line kind of thing at the side of the road. guess what it was a bloody bridge... one more feet over that 6 incher brick-line I would have disappeared into the jungle's darkness unnoticed, and maybe more seriously injured or worse unconscious or even the worst. managed to get on my feet but limping badly, waved for help for those trucker but in vain until another trucker who saw me trying to pull the bike towards the road & also I did shout for help. I shall that gentleman for my life!!
Then the ultimate saviour came for help. that jeeper who was heading towards civilization saw me taking help from the trucker & stopped to check what the scene as he too had recognised me during that 15+ kms of the switchback roads of the ghat! I was carrying a electric pump and began inflating the flat (but had this strong feeling that the neck might have been off the tube) thinking that it may hold a few kms as the jeeper said a puncture shop is just across the border but after a couple of kms it went flat. Again wiggled to a stop this time luckily. reinflated and managed for a few kms and again flat then decided to ride-on and after a couple or more kms reached the KA border & seeing civilization made me weak like a newly born offspring. spoke to the border police, who offered to rest in the shelter overnight if I want to and I didn't think twice thanked the jeeper, who also offered a drop to the nearby town so I could take a hotel room but I thanked him once again and also thought about the next day return to the place to pick the bike would eat away a lots of time & also thought under the supervision of the cops would be a better bet in those situations.
The cop Mr.Suresh was of good help, who provided me food and also advised to not to take more than 1 painkiller tablet which was a paracetamol based & told me that overdose of the base can damage the liver. he was also trained in first aid well. oh boy I slept in that noisy checkpost where trucks and most traffic stopped and being checked made it a noisy surrounding but not for me. lol. When I woke up found that the cop had changed the shifts & the new cop offered tea, breakfast & also help by his local assistants to getting the tube fixed. all for 80bucks inclusive the vulcanising. yeah. I was also running short of cash too, so couldn't tip those assistants anything more (still running my bike in those fixed tube inclusive the K1000 rally, oh boy!) Well the spirits die hard, and I had one more day to be spent and decided to visit the hill-station temples, the Biligiri Ranaganatha swamy temple & Male Mahadeshwara (~200+kms extra) & it was night again as I crossed Kanakapura & reached home around 10pm to find my mom gone to native in my absence & just 50bucks in the pocket. well there was shanti-sagar restaurant and off went that last buck.. and went home and slept like a pig! Next morning was the best part. got up and found that I had put my wallet with all the atm cards in it and that bag was supposed to be with another fellow rider's service car. oh boy!!! nothing like friends here then.. called and one of them dropped by with good idli-vada & a bottle of wine. now I can agree and say. "har friend zaroorie hai"
Oh yeah, I visited those good old border cops again a few months later while returning from Coimbatore INRC rally, along with tea & some biscuits made it worthwhile & moved on back home as it was falling dark again.
The next event was the K1000 later in august, with that vast(!) rallying experience gained earlier the year I competed and took second place in the competed classification.
Early this year was preparing for more rallies this year, then had this crazy crash during practice day 1 & hurt the same left side shoulder for the third time, and its been 6months, still under pain and limited movement.
Hope I can make a new thread with all the pics and commentary, which could be better!
For now, hope you guys can digest this big post, lol. i never typed so much in a single post ever in my life, anywhere!