Raid de Himalaya: Arindam, Nataraj crowned champions

The 20th edition of the event ended on Saturday.

File Photo: The Raid de Himalaya is considered one of the toughest motorsport rallies around the world.   -  UTHRA GANESAN

Arindam Saikia of Team Polaris and Nataraj R. of Team TVS were crowned undisputed champions of the 20th edition of Raid de Himalaya that concluded here on Saturday.

Arindam, who had jumped ahead in the standings on Day Two, hung on to his lead tenaciously for the next two days to claim the Xtreme 4X4 category. He logged a total penalty of 6.32.49 hours. Nataraj, on the other hand, has been in a class of his own among the bikers; he comfortably emerged on top at the Moto Xtreme category.

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Moreover, Nataraj proved to be the fastest competitor in the entire field with a total penalty of 4.58.52 hours.

The iconic Raid had started from Kargil on October 10; the four-day race had drivers coping with extreme cold and demanding terrain across Kargil, Zanskar and Ladakh.

Second spot for A. V. S. Gill

2015 Raid winner Captain A. V. S. Gill, in his Grand Vitara, finished 10.53 minutes behind to take the second position. Himanshu Arora of Haree Rallying, driving a Gypsy, took third place. Amitrajit Ghosh of Team Mahindra made a comeback to claim the fourth place.

With Nataraj comprehensively beating the field, others had to settle for the remaining honours. Nataraj’s team-mate Imran Pasha finished with a total penalty of 5.15.21 hours to take the second place. Vishwas S. D. finished third while Jatin Jain was fourth.

Remarkably, both the amputees in fray — Vinod Rawat of Mumbai and Ashok Munne of Nagpur — finished the Raid successfully, claiming the second and third positions in the Group D category which features stock bikes with no modifications. Vishal Das of Kolkata was the winner in this category.

Raid de Himalaya, considered one of the top-10 toughest motorsport rallies of the world, is organised by Shimla-based Himalayan Motorsport, India’s premier motorsport club.