Sorry for the long delay to continue. I really did not intend to keep you all waiting. I was a little busy on the farm. Guess I'll continue then.
I go for another practice session after that. I was told to change the factory headlight unit and fairing of the Shogun to a Yezdi Roadking unit as it is more sturdy as its all metal except for the beam and that you could get an H4 60/55W Halogen bulb to go along with it. It was an easy task and no upgrade was required for the lighting coil or regulator as the Shogun had 60watts output on tap.
Another month goes by and then I get informed that the Cotton city Rally is coming up at Coimbatore and I was to join in the service crew. I was happy to be on the insides of a Rally service. Usually I used to stand outside as a spectator and spectators are not allowed to go anywhere near the service area or parc ferme.
Well I was told to be at Cochin ready to go at 4:00 A.M,I dont remember the date,but it was a Friday. Cochin was a good 75kms from where I live,so I leave the day before and stay at a team mates home. We wake up early, I get my bike ready along with my adjustable wrench set,tools and back pack. We reach the club office and there I see the service vehicle,it was a 1985 model 800,the very first one and it was pretty run down even for a 11 year old car.
The tyres were also like slicks. Well anyways,the service car will be at the service park and dont need to be running the course so no problem I figure. We were entering two Group D bikes and four participants,two riders and their navigators. They had left the day before and were already there at Coimbatore with their bikes. The bikes were Shoguns. We leave Cochin at 4:30 A.M consisting of a team of two bikes and the car. Its my first ride on such a long trip and that too in a group. We are told to keep going on the bikes after we hit traffic in a town and the car gets slowed.
It was a real nice experience as there was literally almost no vehicles on the highways back in those days and you could enjoy the ride with no instances of Road rage
We have food on the way,That was also something new for me,I had never went outside the state and the food was also something new for me. We cruise at moderate speeds never exceeding 70kmph. It was a relaxed ride.
We reach Coimbatore around afternoon and wait at the Hotel where our Team mates,the competitors were staying. They were to take their bikes for scrutiny.Scrutiny is where the bikes get checked throughly by the F.M.S.C.I officials and the scrutineers to ensure that the vehicles,both cars and bikes are in accordance with and comply with regulations. They identify the cylinder head block and affix a wire seal to the cylinder head and block to ensure that the participants dont change them after scrutiny. They also check all the papers,licence particulars,insurance policies,etc.
After some time we get a call at the hotel that one of our bikes has failed scrutiny and has got 30minutes to comply or else they will be excluded
. The reason was that the bike was missing the tail pieces.You know,the ones around the brake light and seat. It was the stock class that our bikes were running and no weight reduction is allowed. So what do we do now,there is almost no time. I get an idea,I tell my team mates to get my bike's parts removed to be fitted on the rally bike. We rush to the start venue and quickly remove my bike's tail pieces and fit it onto the competing bike. We had just a minute left for exclusion. And we just managed to avoid it. You must know that rules and regulations are strictly enforced in rallies and races and there will be no exceptions.
We return back to the hotel. Another new problem comes up,our service car and the rest of the crew has not yet arrrived. We wonder whats wrong? Its the time when cell-phones were virtually non-existent and we had no means to communicate. Some well-off teams used Ham radio. But we were well-out! So we wait. At around 7:00 P.m,the car comes. Guess what,the slicks burst,two of them and they got stranded after the second one went bust and they were left with no spare. They manage to get the tyre to repair guy on the highway after hitching a ride with the wheel on a truck. The tyre repair guy said that there is no place near where they could get a new one(They were also running on a shoe string budget,so a new tyre was off the menu) and that he'll try to fix it,but no guarantee for anything as its that bad. He sew the tyre as best as he could and somehow patched the tube and the whole thing now looked like a cottage industry product. We have food and wait for Race day.
To be continued..