It has been a long wait, six years to be exact for the Mahindra Adventure Off-road Trophy to finally come home to north India. Winner of the regional round of the Off-road Trophy in Chandigarh, Col. Dhaliwal continued his winning streak bagging the top spot and the keys to a brand new Mahindra Thar CRDe.
Mahindra Adventure organise ten off-road challenges across the country in a year, from which the top 40 off-roaders get a chance to battle it out for the Off-road championship at Mahindra’s off-road playground at Igatpuri in Nashik.
This year, Mahindra tweaked the competition rules to make things a little more challenging. Participants had to tackle a total of seven challenges which were divided into two broad categories – technical and non-technical. For the technical challenges, the participants were judged on four parameters – vehicle preservation, approach and departure technique, driving through the obstacle and driver’s skill; and for the non-technical challenges, the drivers were judged solely on their ability and skill set to complete the task.
Trench Trouble was the first challenge of the day. Participants had to drive through a deep trench, collect flags along the way and make sure the bumpers of the Thar did not fall off in the process. The key to complete the challenge was momentum. While some of the competitors sat in a cloud of dust waiting to be winched out, Col. Dhaliwal had a clean run. He powered his way out of the trench, missed picking up a few flags in the bargain, but managed to cross the finish line within the given six minutes without getting stuck even once.
Covered in a layer of dust, the participants took on the next challenge the ‘Railway Crossing’ – a slushy trail up a hill with flags strategically placed along the way (a scoring method in off-road challenges). This was a non-technical challenge, so more the flags, higher the points. The first few participants had a slight advantage over the others, as the track was not yet riddled with ruts. But after each competitor clawed through the slush it became even more challenging to get up the slope. The trail was a complete mess and even in four-low, the Thars was sliding all over the place. Dhaliwal finished the obstacle with a total of four out of six flags. After driving the Thar the whole day, it was time to get behind the wheel of the Scorpio for the SUV challenge. Driving through the articulation pits, without scraping much of the underbelly Dhaliwal managed to pick five out of the six flags to finish on top of the points table at the end of day 1.