Iconic hill climb battle is set at 4th Mughal Rally in J & K

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the iconic automobile and motorcycle hill climb in the USA, now has an Indian equivalent. The 4th edition of the Mughal Rally in Kashmir is the first motorsport event in India to be a hill climb battle.

The two-day race begins on June 28 with over 150 competitors. India’s first hill climb event, is a battle of motorsport clubs versus passionate ‘privateers’ from across the country. 

The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, also called the ‘Race to The Clouds’, is a 20-kilometer track in Colorado, USA, which rises to an elevation of  14,115 feet (4,302 meters). The Race has taken place since 1916, and is contested by cars, SUVs and motorcycles.

Almost 100 years later, the hill climb race begins on the Indian motorsport circuit on two of the highest peaks in the country – Pir Ki Gali and Sinthan Pass. Here too, competitors will drive cars, SUVs and motorcycles. The event is slated on June 28 and 29. On June 27, the pre-event scrutiny will be held in Srinagar to ensure that all vehicles comply with stringent rallying and safety regulations.

Talat Parvez, Director Tourism Kashmir, said he was charmed by the The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, one of the most popular motorsport events in the USA.

“This race is on the international events calendar of Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). We realized that Pir Ki Gali on Mughal Road and Sinthan Pass offer the same challenge to motorsport enthusiasts. This year, we have entries from almost all parts of the country for the hill climb, and it has the potential of becoming an international challenge,” said Pervez.

On June 28, motorsport daredevils will test their skills in the hill climb to Pir Ki Gali, the highest point on the Mughal Road, at an elevation of 11,500 feet (4,100 meters) approximately.

The Mughal Road is the historic track used by Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan to traverse Kashmir to go to Lahore.

On June 29, the second hill climb battle will come into play when the competitors race to Sinthan Pass, at an altitude of 12,450 feet (3748 meters). The Sinthan Pass is on National Highway 1B, connecting Kishtwar and Anantnag. Even during the height of summer, the hill climb up to Sinthan Pass is lined with walls of snow. It is open from April to September.

The architect of the hill climb race is Himalayan Motorsport, the premier Shimla-based motorsport club which has created the Raid De Himalaya. The Raid, held in awe by rallyists across the world, is the only Indian event listed on the FIA calendar.

The Mughal Rally started in 2010, when the Mughal Road was a quagmire of deep mud and rocks. It is now a smooth, double laned highway which will be formally opened by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on June 25.

“The format of the event has changed from a rally to a hill climb because of the way the track has changed,” said Vijay Parmar, the President of Himalayan Motorsport. “Rallying is on dirt track, which we see in the Raid. With the road almost fully tarmac here, we now have a fantastic hill climb challenge,” he revealed.

Himalayan Motorsport has seen average top speeds on this stretch go up from a mere 55 kmph in 2010 to almost 170 kmph in 2012. “We see this rally becoming one of the fastest hill climbs in the world. At around 30 kilometers each, the four hill climb stages on Peer Ki Gali and Sinthan Pass will require great skill and concentration to master,” Parmar stated.

The Mughal Rally will race the 67 kilometer stretch of the Mughal Road in about 45 minutes.

The rally will be flagged off from the Royal Springs Golf Course by the J&K Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir on June 28. It will proceed to Jammu over the Mughal Road for the night halt.

June 29 will see the rally return via the lesser known areas of Reasi, Salal, Gool to Ramban, and finally taken on the hill climb to Sinthan Pass, to end in Srinagar. With greater peace in the valley, the Mughal Rally has boosted tourism in the region. The hill climb race will be held across two of the highest peaks in the country – Pir Ki Gali and Sinthan Pass. Pir Ki Gali is the highest point on The Mughal Road, at an elevation of 11,500 feet (3,505 meters) approximately. The Mughal Road is the historic track used by Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan to traverse Kashmir to go to Lahore. Sinthan Pass, at an altitude of 12,450 feet (3,748 meters), is on National Highway 1B, connecting Kishtwar and Anantnag. Even during the height of summer, the hill climb up to Sinthan Pass is lined with walls of snow. It is open from April to September.

The Mughal Rally 2013 has 26 teams in the Xtreme (4X4) category, which is all about speed. The Enduro category, which runs on the Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) format, has 35 teams in the fray. Each team comprises a driver and a navigator. In the Xtreme (Moto) category, there are 10 bikers competing for the top spot this year. The motorsport clubs in the fray are Team Terrain Tigers of Gurgaon, Team Simula of Kashmir and Team Thunderbolt of Chandigarh. These clubs of speed lovers have champion rallyists in their fold to take home the Rally crown. They are up against top-of-the-line independent competitors from different parts of India, ready to give them a fantastic chase for the top spot.

The hill climb battle has 28 teams in Rally Xtreme (4X4), nine riders in Xtreme (Motorcycles), and 32 teams in Rally Enduro. Rally Xtreme is all about speed, while Rally Enduro follows the Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) format.

In Rally Xtreme, Team Terrain Tigers of Gurgaon is flexing its muscles with Amanpreet Ahluwalia, the winner of the SJOBA Sub-Himalayan Rally 2013. The team is fielding five vehicles in the Xtreme category at The Mughal Rally.

Team Terrain Tigers is now ranked among the top in competitive motorsport clubs of the country. In the SJOBA Sub-Himalayan Rally 2013, Team Terrain Tigers beat Team Thunderbolt, the reigning champion of 14 years to wrest the coveted Team Trophy. The team also won 13 trophies at Speed Sprint held in Jaipur earlier this month.

Co-founder of the team Sanjiv Singh said that after the back-to-back wins, the team’s morale is at an all-time high. “We have been preparing for The Mughal Rally keeping in mind the tough terrains that we have to drive through. We are looking forward to the challenge, and hope to come out with flying colours here too,” he said.

Team Thunderbolt of Chandigarh boasts of Amittrajit Ghosh, the winner of The 3rd J&K Bank Mughal Rally 2012. Team Thunderbolt too is fielding five vehicles in Rally Xtreme. The champion rallyists in Team Simula of Kashmir are Taufeeq Mughal and Shakti Bajaj. Team Simula has seven vehicles in Rally Xtreme. It will also participate in Rally Enduro.

The only factory team in The Mughal Rally this year is Team Maruti, fielding Suresh Rana. Rana is eight-time winner of the formidable Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, and has won the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm thrice.

J&K Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir said it was exciting to see rallyists from diverse parts of the country competing for the winner’s  trophy at The 4th J&K Bank Mughal Rally. “In Rally Enduro, we have champions who have ranked among the top three in major motorsport events like the Raid De Himalaya, the Dakshin Dare, the Desert Storm and also at The Mughal Rally. We are now looking forward to see who will be the winner in India’s first hill climb battle,” Mir said.

The top contenders in the TSD category are the husband-wife duo of Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza of Bangalore; Jagmeet Gill of Chandigarh with navigator Chandra Sekhar; and Ajgar Ali with navigator Mohammed Mustafa.

The Mughal Rally is organized by Himalayan Motorsport, the premier Shimla-based motorsport club which also organizes the iconic Raid De Himalaya. President Himalayan Motorsport Vijay Parmar said he gave full marks to private teams this season. “These are people who don’t have the mega back up or the big money of factory teams. These are real club teams where members contribute to get where the action and adventure is. They have a limited budget, and they get the show on road with sheer passion for the sport,” he said.

In Rally Xtreme (Motorcycles), German Stephan Rausch, riding a Husaberg 450, is all set to give stiff competition to Mohit Verma of Chandigarh, riding a KTM 200. Verma won The Mughal Rally (Xtreme Two-Wheelers) category last year, and ranked first at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm 2013. Rausch performed remarkably well at the Desert Storm earlier this year.

For entry form and to more about the rally, go through the link.

http://www.xplorearth.com/

via 4th Mughal Rally from June 28.

and http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130624/sports-motor-sports/article/motorsport-clubs-take-mughal-rally-battle-kashmir-new-high

 

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