JK Tyre Hornbill Off Road Challenge: Ralph, Sandy clinch thriller

It was the excellent co-ordination between the two that helped them sail through those rocky rough and tough riverbed challenges with some ease.

The winning combo of Ralph and Sandy traversing through the waters in the JK Tyre Hornbill off road challenge in Kohima on Friday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Meghalaya pair of Ralph Auswin Lyngdoh and Sandy Marbaniang (Meghalaya) played it patient right through and went back home on a jolly good mood of having clinched the JK Tyre Hornbill Off Road Challenge here on Friday.

It was the excellent co-ordination between the two that helped them sail through those rocky rough and tough riverbed challenges with some ease. There were four in all and, the first of it was held under the evening skies the other day.

It was a not a great start for the Meghalaya duo as they could manage to collect only 22 points but the Kohima combo of Avibu Khro and Ahu Khezhie did one better to gain the early edge.

They further worked hard in the first two stages of the day and even seemed to be in total control with 165 points. Ralph did likewise and it was just 17 points that separated the two going into the final stage.

All that Avibu and Ahu, the youngest in fray, had to do was to hit a couple of flags clean for points and complete the fast-flowing water course without any hitch. They seemed confident but fell miserably short towards the end.

They were under tremendous pressure and it was beginning to show on them in the final moments of the rally. It was quite understandable as they are first timers to any off-road event.

Ralph, who did creditably well in this stage, finished a clear winner with an overall tally of 210 points. Bodeshuya and Kezhasemou (196 pts) from Kohima squeezed in their best to finish ahead of Avibu (180).

“The vehicle slide a lot but we still managed to win it. We were disappointed initially and at one point even knew the title was slipping from our hands but we made it,” said Ralph.

“It’s a big test for both the man and machine. If you go hard on it you are finished. So, it’s important to avoid boulders, nurse the vehicle and bring it safely home. That’s what an off-road challenge is all about,” said Hari Singh, Head of Operations, JK Tyre Motorsports.