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Old 28th August 2011, 07:33   #1
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Default Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

First Mahindra Great Escape event in the NCR. ( SAT AAugust 27, 2011 ).

Mahindra supported the event to the best of their ability by bringing vehicles, support crew, and everything else, but the event itself was a disaster off road.

The event management company Northern Motorsports had no idea how to run a self drive off road event and were not in control of the situation at all.

They had no expertise in route research, route marking, route mapping, deployment of marshals, safety instructios to participants, judgement of participants ability, check points, static rescue marshals and route c-ordination and miserably failed at the event.

The 60 odd cars went off road for 4 KM and returned due to utter chaos and mismanagement.

Even the route was done by some of our own team at NIOC, the organizers had not put in every effort to design one!

The Tulip Chart ofr road transport section only ( carriage section ) was a poor copy lift off from my very own Great Escape Desert Adventure, Dubai, 2006 route book and they didn't understand how to copy that too.

Waypoints were shown in dd.mmmmmmm wow! An amatuer sets his GPS in dd.mm.sss to enable him to be accurate to + or - 20 meters.

The participation fee of Rs. 3000 went down the drain I would say and a total waste of time, poor check in arrangements, utter chaos, late flag off time of 10 AM while the punters came in at 7.30 AM.

Lot of learning and a long way to go!

Would have rather spent the Saturday sleeping or doing my own things than attend this disaster event.

No fault of Mahindra, they simply backed the wrong event management team who are not capable of managing an off road show.

One hight point of the day was however that I was very happy to meet Vinod Nookla from Team Mahindra.

Last edited by desertfox : 28th August 2011 at 07:35.
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Old 28th August 2011, 10:21   #2
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

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Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
First Mahindra Great Escape event in the NCR. ( SAT AAugust 27, 2011 ).
One hight point of the day was however that I was very happy to meet Vinod Nookla from Team Mahindra.

Desertfox,


There are many vital things to be done before any OTR, namely it starts with a recce, identifying, designing, altering the final track to be driven, have a contingency plan, capping the number of vehicles, registering only as much as the track can handle, deploying spotters and marshal's who know their job, categorize the participants, planning bypass routes for every obstacle, etc. etc.

Mega events recently held, organized by our members...TPC, Alfa kilo Challenge and EXAMM are exemplary in the way they were organized and executed to the minutest detail, thus ensuring their grand, grand success.

Mahindra Support staff is very good and efficient with technical support and recoveries. There were there at Karjat and Lonavala for the above events and prior to that at many MGE's all over India and the one held at Hyderabad, last year.

It is very important for the organizers (guys with off road experience) to understand how the track will behave on the D day, as the weather too can alter the track dynamics.

Too bad this went wrong. 60 vehicles on a track is a huge number especially, if under an organizer with little or no experience in off-roading.

Regards,
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Old 28th August 2011, 11:16   #3
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

What is an event like the GREAT ESCAPE by Mahindra in Delhi NCR ?

Understand the customer or punter phsycology first.

Why does one buy an SUV like a 4x4 scorpio, fortuner, Ford Endevour, Tata Safari or Nissan X trail or for that matter even a Rangerover or X5,3, 1 or Prado / Landcruiser, Hummer at the extreme end where anything from a Toyota Corolla to Mercedese, BMW or Bentley saloon car would fit the bill of esteem & status ?

IT is the spirit of adventure - weekend getaways, packing seven people, a drive to Shimla or Manali or Nanital or a chance to explore off road.

A chance to explore off road is a growing cult as incomes increase in India. We are where we were in Dubai in 1985.

Who is the punter ( our customer ) ? - A middle management level corporate executive, a businessman in his 40s or a 20 year son of a politician who has borrowed his dad's 4x4. What is the off road adventure quotient of this group - Basic to slight lower intermediate. This adventure quotient will grow after participation in off road events.

2 % will buy Jeeps and join NIOC, 1 % will become Marshals in the first year, 20 % will become NIOC members and enjoy forum discussions while another 60% will look for regular well managed , safe adventure trips like this. 20 % may not return next year but by then another 100 people would enter the market.

What does the punter want - A chance to come outdoors, explore nature, get out from the city life, a sense of adventure, the satisfaction of achievement, a chance to impress his wife / girl friend family or friends with his driving ability.

What is such a route like - Some narrow winding paved road, graded tracks, a bit of loose gravel track, hard mud track, some light sand track, a couple of dips and some climbs that a new off road driver could negotiate.

The total route should be 60 to 70 KM about half of it off road, with scenic picture stops, drink stops under a shady tree, check points by sponsors where paved track intersects off road where goodies drinks, caps and T shirts are distributed.

The route should not be such where the low hanging bumpers of a scorpio or Fortuner break. I was watching yesterday and was happy to observe that the Scorpio bumpers can clear more than I had envisaged.

A punter would be highly reluctant to encounter acacia bush scrathes to his 15 lakh car paintwork or inflict any damage.

We have to think from the consumer mindset. often in over enthusiasm route exploration marshals design an intermediate track unfit for the novice punter.

What happens ? Plenty of stucks, vehicle damages, convoy break ups, shouting wife, harassed children etc, etc, with the hurt ego you have lost the customer forever.

Such an event is held from October to March, say two events annually one in November after Diwali or Mid December and one more earl February are ideal. Not like yesterday when the humidity is 90 % and there's a scrothing Sun to cope with.
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Old 28th August 2011, 17:18   #4
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

A very good initiative ' desertfox ' you have taken , this is the time -- perhaps the proper time to talk about 'such ' Fiasco events . Normally people tend to ignore ( both the participants & organisers ) & try to cover-up such mess & thats not good at all for the growth of the sport in India

Whenever such 'Paid ' & organised event is held the end product must be scrutinised in open forum . These ' organisers ' collect money from the participants & get sponsors also , so money flows in from every direction , companies do all sorts of ads there , but then whats the end product ?

I am not against any ' paid ' event or Paid entry but then the organisers are bound to give performance. There must be Value for Money of a common man .

IMHO collecting money or charging for an event & then giving very poorly managed mess in return is a sort of Corruption that will ruin the future of the organised 4X4 events.

This is the time where people need to talk freely , as the offroading sport is still in its early days in India . If its not talked openly then after few years of such events people will loose faith on such events & that will be bad .

Sudarshan
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Old 28th August 2011, 18:39   #5
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

I totally agree 'desertfox' that i would rather have spent the day sleeping or doing something of my own than attend the event yesterday. And its not just you, me, or NIOC, i am sure even the individual amateur entrants felt the same thing. It was like paying RS3000 for lunch on a saturday. One of the most poorly organized and even poorly managed events that i have been to yet.

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Old 28th August 2011, 19:31   #6
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

A FEW MORE DETAILS - posted on another scorpio thread

As regards the illustrous Great Escape - it was there on the GE website, if not on Facebook. We got to know through our NIOC yahoo group mails. If you did not attend, you missed nothing the event was a disaster. Not from Mahindra but from Northern Motorsports who had no idea what off roading is all about.
Mahindra cannot be blamed - they were conned by Northern Motorsports novices.
On their part Mahindra trucked dozens of 4WD Scorpios and Thars from Nasik and let them have it.
Over 3 dozen service crew and Sterling Motors staff were at hand but the Chief Marshal and the course clerk had to know how to use the manpower at hand. They were rank inexperienced green horns. It is one thing to be an event management company and get some DJ to perform a disco a self drive off road is a different set of skills alltogether.
We went 2 KM off road and returned to base after utter confusion, chaos and mismanagement by some high ego organizers. We the NIOC were mere silent spectators.
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Old 28th August 2011, 19:57   #7
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
First Mahindra Great Escape event in the NCR. ( SAT AAugust 27, 2011 ).

Mahindra supported the event to the best of their ability by bringing vehicles, support crew, and everything else, but the event itself was a disaster off road.

The event management company Northern Motorsports had no idea how to run a self drive off road event and were not in control of the situation at all.

They had no expertise in route research, route marking, route mapping, deployment of marshals, safety instructios to participants, judgement of participants ability, check points, static rescue marshals and route c-ordination and miserably failed at the event.

The 60 odd cars went off road for 4 KM and returned due to utter chaos and mismanagement.

Even the route was done by some of our own team at NIOC, the organizers had not put in every effort to design one!

The Tulip Chart ofr road transport section only ( carriage section ) was a poor copy lift off from my very own Great Escape Desert Adventure, Dubai, 2006 route book and they didn't understand how to copy that too.

Waypoints were shown in dd.mmmmmmm wow! An amatuer sets his GPS in dd.mm.sss to enable him to be accurate to + or - 20 meters.

The participation fee of Rs. 3000 went down the drain I would say and a total waste of time, poor check in arrangements, utter chaos, late flag off time of 10 AM while the punters came in at 7.30 AM.

Lot of learning and a long way to go!

Would have rather spent the Saturday sleeping or doing my own things than attend this disaster event.

No fault of Mahindra, they simply backed the wrong event management team who are not capable of managing an off road show.

One hight point of the day was however that I was very happy to meet Vinod Nookla from Team Mahindra.
Fault is with Mahindra itself and no body else to be blamed as its M&M descion to outsource the event they have finalised the third party, same was scene here in MGE chickmaglur July 2011.. it was goldeb era when M&M team with Sudhir,Behram etc used to handle these event directly.Well said a lunch with disturbed week end cost is 3000/-ref my thread in 4x4 excursion of chickmaglur

Last edited by GTO : 29th August 2011 at 19:24. Reason: We do NOT permit any posts with references to alcohol
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Old 29th August 2011, 12:46   #8
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Dear Guys,

I could not attend this event due to personal reasons. Still, reading the mails here and on NIOC forum, am happy that I didn't!

I think the prime reason of failure of this event is MGE team itself. After the departure of greats like Sudhir Kashyap and Mr. Behram, the new MGE team does not have any 'hands-on' experts with them who have real time experience of off-roading. The people who are now running MGE may have good technical knowledge ón paper' but organizing such event is not their expertise. So, they have to look at outsourcing the MGEs. Here, though NM is a great experienced team to organize rallies (Desert Storm, of which I am also a part, and an admirer of their impeccable planning etc.) they may have taken it lightly. I have been to this trail so many times with our regular NIOC gang, and know that this trail can not accommodate 60+ vehicles... also, the lake would be flooded at this time...

MGE team needs to rethink their strategy, else this great brand "Mahendra Great Escape" will loose its admirers.

Cheers!

ab
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Old 29th August 2011, 19:28   #9
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
First Mahindra Great Escape event in the NCR.
Small correction. This wasn't the first MGE in NCR. There was one held in Delhi in '97. My Jeep was then brand new; I'd considered touring to the north, & including the MGE in my itinerary.
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Old 30th August 2011, 08:20   #10
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Surprised at some of the comments but good feedback nonetheless that needs to be pondered over. Feedback and improvement is a constant cycle.

Though I was not there on the day of event I did do recce's along with others, including NIOC seniors, for route selection. The purpose of events like this is to introduce newbies to off-roading by taking them for a short trail drive.

On the ground there were two sub events, with differing routes with small overlap, each with ~25 vehicles which was just about the numbers that can be accommodated:
Trail for 4x2WD
Trail for 4x4WD

The objective for both was to do cater to drivers with mix of experience. The event was open to all Mahindra owners and not only to very experienced 4WD enthusiasts. So expecting outing with tough challenges is out of question.

Some newbies found the trail very harsh. There was even a complaint of car getting scratched due to brambles trees in the forest! There would always be some who will find the off-road is not for them and others who would want to do more.

Changing weather was another element as during recce's we had three days of rain and the challenge factor was very high even on simple slopes. Location and time schedules consideration also impose upon the trail being decided.

It is not that the organizing team is not familiar with off-road possibilities as the other event 4Guna4 offered from NMS is for extreme off-road enthusiasts and sets the challenge bars very high.

@Ashish_b : Missing you presence in Delhi. Yes the lake was flooded on the day of event and was bye-passed by the team on ground. Surprise was that we could go through it on the day there was torrential downpour!!

@desertfox : Thanks for feedback. Need to understand the GPS coordinate settings. Though with coordinate system we used locations were accurate withing +/-4meters.
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Old 30th August 2011, 17:00   #11
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Life has its ups and downs, so does Offroading!

i think the city slickers need to understand what 4x4, 4WD and OFFROADing means, besides driving their SUVs!

anyway, better luck and organisation next time.

by the way who runs NMS in NCR?
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Old 1st September 2011, 10:01   #12
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Interesting thread!

I like "Desert Fox's" description of the mindset of most SUV and 4X4 customers and yes events like MGE are the stepping stone for people to the OTR world. So execution of an event like MGE needs to be flawless.

Cheers
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Old 4th September 2011, 17:27   #13
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

desert fox,after reading your posts on several offroading threads it is obvious that you are an extremely capable off roader with many years of experience.then why is it that you dont attend the weekly NIOC otr's in NCR and share your extensive knowledge with the newbies?
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Old 4th September 2011, 18:03   #14
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

The reason I dont attend all NIOC OTRs is that I dont like to get up at 5 AM on a Saturday morning where during the week I have already woken up early on at least two days to catch flights to places like Indore and Raipur / Bhopal at 5.25 AM.

After 18 years of off road adventure, 1,296 trips and 284,000 KM logged offroad I need to relax a bit in life at age 43.

If it is a new challenge I will get up at 5 AM for a morning rooster run as we call them but the same old trail again and again with no new country side to explore bores me, moreover the last eighteen months have been tough, after my accident in May 2010 where my right hand was fractured in 2 places and I had an artery by pass in the right hand I preferred to give it a pass for about 4 months before I was fully fit to drive.

In the limited weekend time I get, I prefer to go offroad for my own thing - Wildlife photography to which I dedicate quite some time in usually one or two vehicles.

At NIOC I have volunteered at various times to offer my help, in fact I had just started working on their Aug 15 event last year with Sudhir Kashyap when I met with an accident. On other ocassions I have shared with them my off road basic start up guidelines and offered to hold demos of off road recovery and safety workshop but it has not materialised so far.

NIOC is going to be a private limited enterprise now where maybe I will be a significant stakeholder, on a personal level I am still sponsored by Toyota and Dunlop for my off road activities and Nike for apparel. Lets see.

Best regards,

Shahid Ahmad

Sudev Ji - A basic Garmin GPS unit or Magellan is set in dd.mm.sss.ss format so that the dd.mm.ss gives accuracy to + or - 20 meters, a civilian GPS unit cannot be accurate to 4 M because the EPE or estimated position error of day of recording and day of GPS guided trip may vary by 40 meters, this is deliberately done by US Army who control the GPS satellites otherwise it will become accurate to 2mm x 2mm grid and can be misused to fire missiles etc with GPS co-ordinates in the guidance system, mind you there are other guidance systems available too.

We use Lambert type projection and WGS 1984 format GPS co-ordinate software in 12 GPS satellite type models, thus on the GO in off road situations this is easier to read, understand and navigate. With these way points a route of 30 WP can be developed and uploaded into the unit to co-ordinate turns and navigate off route, either the compass page or map page may be used with the track bread crumb line showing, set to 35 sec interval, such an arrangement will provide good guidance off road for 10 to 12 hours per trip or per day. We even fly small aircraft like Cessna oe Beech 90 useing this set up.

I hope you agree with my description and analysys of mindstate of a newbie / fewbie offroader.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by desertfox : 4th September 2011 at 18:22.
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Old 4th September 2011, 18:47   #15
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Default Re: Mahindra Great Escape - Gurgaon

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Surprised at some of the comments but good feedback nonetheless that needs to be pondered over. Feedback and improvement is a constant cycle.

Though I was not there on the day of event I did do recce's along with others, including NIOC seniors, for route selection. The purpose of events like this is to introduce newbies to off-roading by taking them for a short trail drive.

On the ground there were two sub events, with differing routes with small overlap, each with ~25 vehicles which was just about the numbers that can be accommodated:
Trail for 4x2WD
Trail for 4x4WD

The objective for both was to do cater to drivers with mix of experience. The event was open to all Mahindra owners and not only to very experienced 4WD enthusiasts. So expecting outing with tough challenges is out of question.

Some newbies found the trail very harsh. There was even a complaint of car getting scratched due to brambles trees in the forest! There would always be some who will find the off-road is not for them and others who would want to do more.

Changing weather was another element as during recce's we had three days of rain and the challenge factor was very high even on simple slopes. Location and time schedules consideration also impose upon the trail being decided.

It is not that the organizing team is not familiar with off-road possibilities as the other event 4Guna4 offered from NMS is for extreme off-road enthusiasts and sets the challenge bars very high.

@Ashish_b : Missing you presence in Delhi. Yes the lake was flooded on the day of event and was bye-passed by the team on ground. Surprise was that we could go through it on the day there was torrential downpour!!

@desertfox : Thanks for feedback. Need to understand the GPS coordinate settings. Though with coordinate system we used locations were accurate withing +/-4meters.
Sudev Ji - we had a recipe for disaster set right in the route selection, if at all a 2WD and a 4WD event is held on the same day then nothing more than the flag off point and lunch venue must be common.

Even for people who turned up in their spanking new Scorpio 4x4 VLX that day, the 4x4 track chosen was not a suitable one, a new off roader would not like to break his bumpers, scratch the body paint or tear the suspension bushes of his 14 lakh venicle because he needs it to go to work on Monday morning not at the Mahindra service - this is my experience after holding about 40 such self drive off road events.

This route is very good for NIOC members, Gypsy enthusiasts where vehicle damage is part of the game, but not for MGE, in India remember most of the Bolero or Scorpio sold are 2WD and even if 50 4x4 Scorpio, Bolero, Fords or Foretuners are gathered the route has to be a mild one where the punter can stop at a tube well and wet his feet, have a cool drink under a shady tree, do a few climbs, a few dips, explore the countryside, slip on some sand track, get stuck a couple of times, be rescued by efficient marshals and come back with a sense of satisfaction and plenty of pictures and stories to tell at office. This is what it is all about - it took us a few years to understand this is Dubai and we perfected it. Out of 7500 applications we used to select just 700 max - this is how the market grows !

Northern Motorsports decided to outsourse the route research to NIOC, and our boys from NIOC who went to plot out a route are all newcomers, passionate, eager, hard working - but these boys are trainees not seasoned marshals, Northern motorsports failed to understand this.

Before the event, a full fledged marshal run needs to be done. In event operations alone the major gaps were :

Proper briefing
Route Map
Driving Instructions
Safety tips
Marshal team deployment
Route navigation
route marking
arrows and signage
alternate routes
team management
communication controls and command centre

Whoever read my event book from 2006 only cherry picked a few items from it, not careing to go deep between the lines and focus on core operational areas.

The net result was that punters were led to the start point by a pied piper and then bundled like a herd of sheep on a slope, when the herd started bleating out of control, the leaders surrendered and drove the herd back home - this is what really happened.

Nevertheless the hard work in route research and recce trips by our boys, Sanjeev, Adi, Arjun, Prabh, Chottu etc. must be appreciated.

Last edited by desertfox : 4th September 2011 at 18:51.
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