JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 8 starts with ceremonial flag-off at City Center, Siliguri

The Drive will feature 22 qualifying teams (A driver and a navigator) including seven All Ladies teams from across the country.

North Bengal Police Chief Devendra Prakash Singh with the ceremonious flag-off of the eighth edition of the Himalayan Drive.   -  Just Sportz

The eighth edition of the JK Tyre Himalayan Drive was flagged off by North Bengal Police Chief Devendra Prakash Singh along with Siliguri Deputy Mayor Ranjan Sarkar, from the City Center in Siliguri on Wednesday afternoon.  

About the competition

The Himalayan Drive, a competitive TSD (Time-speed-distance) Car Rally, has completed seven successful editions from 2013 to 2019. It remained absent in the years 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Drive is back this year and will feature 22 qualifying teams (A driver and a navigator) including seven All Ladies teams from across the country. 

All about teamwork

The competition is not just about the driver's skill to drive through the various checkpoints along the course. The navigators play an equally important role and have the challenging job of guiding their partners through tough terrains, including dirt tracks, river beds, and narrow and steep mountain roads, in the three-day event in the bid to be crowned the Indian National Regularity (TSD) Rally Champions for 2021. 

The All Ladies teams will also be fighting for the Indian National Regulatory Run Championship (INRRC) Ladies Cup. The INRRC Qualifiers will concurrently take part in the Pro category and another 8 teams will be participating in the Adventure category of Himalayan Drive 8.

Timeline of the Himalayan Drive

Day 1: After the ceremonial flag-off, the official flag-off will mark the start of the main competition on March 24 (Thursday) morning. The participants will have to muscle through tea gardens, embankments and riverbeds spread over many parts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts to reach Murti, a popular tourist destination. This first leg also involves a night stage, which introduces an exciting flavour to the three-day Drive. 

Day 2: The second leg will be flagged off from Murti on March 25 (Friday) morning. The competition will keep getting tougher as the teams will have to guide their cars through narrow village roads, riverbeds, tea estates and the Himalayan foothills. The second leg will start and end at Murti.

Day 3: In the third and final leg, the flag-off will happen from Murti and will take the teams through the mountains, and they will pass popular tourist spots like Samsing and Gorubathan to cross the 80-year-old Coronation Bridge spanning the Teesta river. The Drive will continue through mountain roads crossing Jorebunglow and Ghoom to culminate at Darjeeling.

Tamal Ghoshal addresses the media in the drivers' meet on Wednesday evening. Photo: Just Sportz

 

Day 4: The prize distribution ceremony will be held at Darjeeling on March 27 (Sunday) morning.

Know your participants and champions

The Kolkata team of Subir Roy (driver) and Nirav Mehta (navigator) have emerged as zonal champions from East Zone while former National Champions S.K. Ajgar Ali and M.K Mohammed Mustafa won from North-East Zone, Sandip Mukherjee and Prakash M from West Zone, Adarsh Tiwari and Chirag Thakur from Central Zone and Santosh Kumar V Nagarajan T from the South Zone.

The Stewards (officials)behind the drive

A press conference was held with the competitors on Wednesday evening. Siddhartha S. Bose, Director Just Sportz and Chairman of the Rally and the conference were addressed by Tamal Ghosal, Director of Just Sportz and Council Member and Chairman of Regularity Rally Commission of the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India (FMSCI), Suchandan Das Director of Just Sportz and COC, Binny Sharma Chief Rally Coordinator and moderated by Jaideep Mazumdar, Media Coordinator.

Sanjay Sharma, Head of Corporate Communication and Motorsport - JK Tyre & Industries Limited said We are really excited about the Jk Tyre Himalayan Drive 8. The fact that it is the National Championship Finals shows how the event has grown over the last 7-8 years into one of the most important motorsports events in the country. It has been a privilege for JK Tyre to be associated with the event since its inception and see it grow into its present avatar.”

“The first seven Himalayan Drive Rallies have unlocked the great prospect of adventure sports in the Eastern Himalayas. This year by becoming the Grand Finale of the National Championship it will showcase the best motorsports talent in India and it will be a privilege and honour to crown the National Champions at Darjeeling on 27th March 2022,” said Tamal Ghoshal.

(The writer is in Siliguri on the invitation of JK Tyre)

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