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Old 19th January 2014, 19:31   #1
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Default Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Less than a week to go for the BAOTR 2014, and I start writing this report of BAOTR 2013. Well, why not? Even if very few read it, I will enjoy re-living the wonderful time I had last year. It will also force me to finally process the raw files and upload the videos.

Although I have been attending BAOTR since 2011, this time was different. This time I would get to travel in AC comfort to Bangalore in my latest MM550. Those 400kms one-way would feel so effortless. But you know how it goes... Jeeper proposes, Jeep disposes.

Since I had not encountered any heating problems with the MM550, I figured the cooling system must be alright. I had driven the Jeep from Bangalore to Manipal, and hadn’t seen the needle go beyond 80C. But that was downhill, and without AC. Ideally I should have overhauled the cooling system entirely before attempting to install the AC. But, January came pretty fast and I had very little time, what with my constant 400km drives between my two homes. I just had enough time to install AC and fix the niggling 4WD gear slipping problem.

As I started climbing the Shiradi ghats, I knew I had a problem. The needle started hitting 100C, and with a XD3P that is not a good thing at all. So after about 150Km I had to switch off the AC. But that didn’t fix my problem. Engine continued to hit 100C even after AC was switched off. That is when I realised the cooling system was not in a great shape. It was not good enough to climb the ghats, let alone handle the AC at the same time. After Sakleshpur I could get back on AC without cooking the engine. But I knew I had a problem, just didn’t know how bad.

The BAOTR 2013 was held in a resort for a change. That means we had a fenced off property, safer location for our vehicles, tents and luggage. And it was lot closer to town too. Then this happened on the way.

On the way to the Bangalore OTR, the Jeep had a breakdown. You can read the details here (Hardtop MM550 : A family friendly offroader joins Team-BHP).

And so when I finally reached the OTR resort near Bannerghatta, it was pitch dark. But the registration desk was nicely lit and manned with very friendly marshals.

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The tents were the usual type, but with much better beds. After a bit of socializing and meeting of old friends, we all hit the sack. Well, most of us anyway.

Last edited by Samurai : 20th January 2014 at 13:42. Reason: removed breakdown story
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Old 19th January 2014, 19:49   #2
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Since it was a proper resort, it had proper bathrooms and toilets. Lots of them. So the morning rituals were not a tiresome effort at all. For once I managed take a bath in the morning at BAOTR. Talk about starting all fresh for the OTR. I can get used to this.

A proper resort

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The breakfast affair..

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The marshals are strategising while eating.

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While the others look on.

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It is time to check out the rides.

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This vehicle screams “Marshal”.

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But what’s with the puny winch?

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This Jeep always brings smile to my otherwise unsmiling face. My alma mater..

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Old 19th January 2014, 20:31   #3
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Finally, it is briefing time. The trails are described and rules are chalked out.

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Dwarak holds them in trance.

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There were product exhibits from the sponsors, K&N, Lamda and Swastik Fabs.

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Not sure whether this was an exhibit, but here it is…

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Meanwhile, Shibu Varghese (Jeep Captain) discovered I was alone in my Jeep and decided to join me along with his rallyist pal Deepak. Geez, the owner of 4x4 India FB group and a rallyist are going to closely watch my driving for next two days. Talk about pressure. But I had a good excuse. I told them this is my first OTR in MM550 and XD3P engine. All my mistakes should be put under unfamiliar vehicle category.

The first obstacle was a series of hops.

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Followed by a climb. Shibu goes ahead to shoot some action, while I am chained to the Jeep.

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Then there is long wait.

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Long wait usually means there is a tricky obstacle. This time it was a S shaped decline, except it was very narrow. One has to reverse and re-orient after every curve.

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Marshal Viji looks on…

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See how the 3 turns must be executed.







Prowler takes on the challenge.

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The exit from the hill is pretty rough.

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At this hill I had to winch rescue a Jeep that had got stuck quite badly.

This is one of the main attractions of BAOTR. Every obstacle is a puzzle. One has to walk the trail, listen to marshal’s advice, pick your technique and then execute. Therefore newbies will find BAOTR quite tough, but seasoned offroaders salivate at the carefully and wickedly prepared offroad puzzles.

However, I won’t be able describe each obstacle in detail because I was also a driver this time. Some places I just had to drive and couldn’t take any photographs.

Some places looked like traffic junctions, the offroad type.

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Check out this offroad policeman manning a 3-way offroad intersection.

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Like any traffic situation, we had traffic backup…

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The route was littered with designer obstacles.

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This Jeep was originally owned by Santosh, it looks very different now.

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And then at some places, you could easily see the difference between newbies and veterans.

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The guy who was too slow.



The guy who eased on the accelerator too early.



The guy who was just right.



Some people just don’t think beyond the hill, therefore end up flying after the jump and land with a huge thud on the otherside.

This was another very tricky climb, followed by a climb down.

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After watching many people get into trouble before or after climbing, I decided to climb on foot first and checkout the entire thing. It was very interesting indeed. But I was too focused on my recce, I forgot to shoot any pic. I was wearing the driver’s hat, instead of photographer’s hat. But it did help me to climb up and climb down this one in a single attempt, without any mistakes.
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Old 19th January 2014, 20:49   #4
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Then we took a lunch break.

The Terra Tigers are resting a bit under the shade of the most beloved Jeep in the South.

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Then I convinced one Mr.Vikram Ramprasad to model for me in the sun and the shade.

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And we get back to obstacle hopping.

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And here is a very human story, for those of you who are bored of macho offroader exploits. Daughter of one of our dearest and senior most member Suresh Stephan has decided to takeover the family ...er... hobby. And Arka, who claims Suresh as his Jeep guru, has graciously agreed to be her offroad tutor. Can Ektaaa KKKaaappoorr think of such a beautiful story devoid of any evil schemes? On a side note, did I get the all the alphabets in her name correct? I can never keep track of this numerology stuff, it must be like that Jeep thing.

Learning from the most famous uncertified offroad tutor in India.

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Would have been even poetic if she had driven Arka’s famous Jeep, but driving Dad’s Jeep is close enough.

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Makes me wonder about my son, who is actually taller than her, but not old enough to get a license yet. Will he take over dad’s Jeep and hobby? Hmm, only time will tell. Alright, enough mushy human story, let’s get back to macho stuff.

And it was time for a long wait at the next major obstacle.

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We had to dive into that valley and get back on that road. I repeatedly noticed that the Jeeps were taking a K turn right after reaching the road. I wondered why they didn’t turn quickly at the apex of the climb and avoid the K turn. So I figured I will try that when my turn comes.

But a bigger drama was unfolding deep down the valley, which was hidden from the people on top because of the trees. Most newbies found it very difficult to get across the trough at the bottom and retain the momentum to keep driving up away from the valley. That was what taking a long time.

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When my time came, I crossed it in first attempt, continued up and did a quick turn at the apex as the front tyres landed on the road, and avoided that K turn. Ah, I like it when a plan works flawlessly.

When I looked back from the other hill, I could see the long line behind me.

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Until this point, every obstacle had more than two marshals doing the spotting. Then we entered a strange twilight zone, where no marshals were seen and there were no spectators either. It was time for passengers to jump out at every obstacle and do the spotting. But Shibu is not exactly athletic, so I can’t ask him do it in such an uneven terrain. And Deepak is a first timer, asking him to spot could be dangerous. In my humble opinion, only experienced offroad drivers should spot for another offroad driver. So I got off and started to reconnoiter at many places.

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Then I reach a spot where Dwarakstar is the lone marshal. I start chatting with him and then turn 90 degree into a decline to drop. Suddenly Dwarak shouts “Straighten your steering”. The command is easy enough, but how to execute it? I was just coming out of a 90 degree turn, and this is a Jeep steering. I have no idea whether my wheels are too much to the right or left. In my former CJ340, I could just lean out and see the wheels. That is not possible in a MM550. So murphy’s law kicks in and I turn the steering in the wrong direction and go out of the rut. Then dwarak shouts louder and I realised my mistake and corrected to the other direction. Everybody got a little scare, but I recovered in time. Dwarak too realised he should have said turn left or right instead of straighten the steering.

Then we hit a point where lots of Jeeps were getting stuck. Throughout the trail I was following the Terra Tigers. Here I see the Tigers considering the trail just wide enough for an auto rickshaw.

Geez, what is this?

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Oh man, this is a quagmire. These Bnagalore guys are nuts.

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Honey, I’ll be late. These Bangalore chaps have gone too far. We’ll get them at Palar this time.

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Finally Tigers wriggles through the nasty obstacle...

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… and probably start plotting Palar Revenge, I mean Challenge.

[Disclaimer: The above account of Tigers is purely fictional, inspired by their facial expressions. I have no idea what they were really thinking.]

Then I drive into another obstacle, manned by Dwarak. How did he show up here again, he must use a wormhole or a transporter beam. It looks deceptively innocent in the photograph.

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But Dwarak assured me it is nowhere close to innocent. That is because it forces the Jeep to tilt sideways dangerously, close to the limits of articulation. After discussion the angles, I agree to follow a path suggested by him, which reduces the risk of toppling. Since there were no Jeeps behind, we took a longer break, looked at the exit point too, which was quite straight forward.

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As we got into the Jeep and started off, another mashal walks into the scene and takes over the spotting. And he suggests the direct route, the one which will tilt the Jeep lot more. I am apprehensive since it is different than my chosen plan. But he convinces me it is very safe, I start off in the direct route. Within seconds the Jeep starts tilting much more than I can swallow. So I stop in the middle to take stock. I look at Shibu, even he looks concerned. But the marshal is still asking me come forward and increase the tilt. This was kind of a stalemate. I know both these marshals since the time I started offroading, so trust was not an issue. Then I gave a second look at both of them and realised one difference. While the current marshal always drives a topless SWB Jeep, Dwarak always drove a top heavy hardtop Gypsy. And I am now driving a hardtop Jeep. Therefore, in the matter of sideways tilt, I better take Dwarak’s advice. With that decision, I reversed out of that shaky situation, and followed the original plan.

With that our day has come to end, at least the driving. The Jeepers line up for a group shot.

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And I am mightily impressed with the performance of my MM550. Since my skills are mostly honed on short chassis CJ340, I wasn’t sure how many of them are easily transferable to the medium chassis MM550. The XD3P was also a new animal under my control. I was bloody blown away. Even the places where I knew CJ340 would have struggled, the XD3P equipped MM550 did it lot easily. During the entire day, I got through every obstacle at first attempt. Walk the trail, discuss with the marshal, plan the technique, execute it. Worked every time. I felt so happy about this.

Last edited by Samurai : 20th January 2014 at 13:44.
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Old 19th January 2014, 21:24   #5
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

The nightlife is about to begin.

Vishnu finally puts the Arka brothers into a different perspective.

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It was time to meet the marshals who must be inch deep under dust and terribly weary after a hard day under that sun. But wait… who are these fresh smelling daisies? How can they look so fresh?

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Any further photographs of night’s festivities don’t exist.

The next morning during breakfast, I decided to collect some more mugshots that escaped me last night. Not all are marshals, by this time I was shooting anybody who was willing to pose.

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Last edited by Samurai : 20th January 2014 at 13:46.
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Old 19th January 2014, 21:43   #6
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

My Jeep Crew

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Marshals sharing notes on their previous day.

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B.O.D.A family

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Kids of various offroaders. Pity, I didn’t have good enough wide lens for this shot. Besides, with so many cameras facing them, none of them looked at the same camera.

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And we are back in the formation. What? yet another briefing? Nope, it is Republic Day!

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Hey, the Wyanad Warriors!

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And so we are back in the grind.

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I see it happen so often. Just before reaching the apex of the hill, drivers let go the accelerator and get stuck. He should have gone slower, and given bit more throttle just when he starts climbing to maintain the same speed. Let go the A-pedal only after crossing the hill. Then it would happen smoothly.



Now we are at the toughest obstacle of the morning.

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And a pro shows how it should be done. Calmini does help you to stay Calm.



But most of them were not having a easy time. Arka’s student was having hard time too. There was a stone that was nearly 2ft high, and very difficult to avoid.







Finally she made it through, perseverance paid off. Even I took 3 attempt to get it right. This was the first place where my Jeep struggled.

Some close up photos of the struggle.

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After that a Gypsy behind me had a tyre puncture. Now my hi-lift jack comes out to help.

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Next we come to the muck section. Some really dirty looking slush.

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I watched a few Jeeps go through it. Then I realised that the obstacle had no real challenge, but it mainly sprayed a thick coating of macho looking grey mud.

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So I decided to skip it and keep moving.

Then there was an optional climb, which was quite interesting. You had to turn 90 degree and start climbing. There is no space for building momentum.

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But it was no challenge for my MM550.

Next was the big muck. A real challenge, with 20% chance of success even for veterans.

People are lining to wade through the muck.

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There were two options here.

The tough one for veterans.

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The easy one for the newbies or faint hearted.

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Both can be easily together here.

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You can see somebody making it successfully here.



After watching few attempts, I realised that the chance of making it through the tough side is closer to 10%. Once you are stuck, there is no way to wriggle through, winching is the only option. Until now I hadn’t failed at any obstacle, but there was no shame in failing at this one. Besides, it is much better than failing at the newbie side.

So, I took off, and got stuck, and gave up right away. There was no point revving and trying to break the suction. That mud was more like clay, once stuck there is no escape. I was winched out for the first time in this Jeep.

Most of us ended up like this.



Closer look at the clay, let’s not call it mud.

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Notice how this guy got stuck, a very different angle.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260358.jpg

But he kept revving hoping to escape, but got a broken rear prop shaft. Thanks to a concept called torque which is mostly misunderstood among offroaders. When both rear tyres are held in suction by the clay, all the usable torque that can be generated by the engine will be applied to the rear prop shaft, after multiplying with 2.46 in 4WD low. That is why I didn’t fight the clay when I got stuck.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260367.jpg

Last edited by Samurai : 20th January 2014 at 18:09.
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Old 19th January 2014, 22:28   #7
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

More slushy fun follows.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260346.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260348.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260345.jpg

Here I made a stupid mistake. Instead of walking the trail along border, I just entered the watery trail, took and 90 degree and then realised my stupidity. The exit was a climb, not a cake walk. I simply hadn’t planned for it. The bottom was very slushy too, can’t build speed. One more evidence of Bangalore offroader's wickedness. So I had to back out all the way and do it all over again. Took me 2-3 attempts like this one.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260349.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260350.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260354.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260355.jpg

But the Calmini guy does it Calmly.



And then it was lunch time. And what a place to have it, nice shade and great views.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260372.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260375.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260383.jpg

Some don’t mind posing despite the sun.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260388.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260389.jpg

The Great Spidey..

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260391.jpg

The 4th trail which we were taking on that afternoon, was a long and narrow rocky trail. The traction was excellent, but very cruel on paint job and FRP hardtop. One tree branch cut a long hole into my hardtop. I have no photographs of this section because I couldn’t get out in most places. It was very hard just to stay in the track, but the marshals kept us all on the right footing all the way.

Finally I reached a point where a marshal said that the last obstacle was optional. While I was mulling over it, I saw a Thar CRDe entering that trail. Then I told him, if Thar CDRe can do it, so can MM550. That is one of the realisation that had come to me in the last two days. MM550 with XD3P can not only match, but can easily beat Thar CRDe in this kind of offroad driving. I had heard of it many times, but finally I got to experience it myself. Thar CDRe has the edge in competition where speed matters over everything else.

So what was the final obstacle? Rock climbing.

Easy path.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260396.jpg

Tough path. What makes it tough is the final approach, where you need to jump over a rocky step.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260395.jpg

At first I decided to take the easy path and leave the tough path to the suicidal maniacs. Then I stood with Giri and watched how he explained the technique to one driver. Then I saw how it was done.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260392.jpg

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260393.jpg



Then I heard the word Avalada. Like any proud Bangalore local, I knew the meaning of it. Isn’t offroading all about overcoming your fear? So I overcame my fear and decided to try the tough path. Bingo, I got through.

After that we were back at the resort sipping much appreciated coffee and pakodas.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260403.jpg

Prithvi starts the vote of thanks. He calls the sponsers to the stage to thank them.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260407.jpg

Then he starts calling the volunteers…

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260410.jpg

And they all have a group pic.

Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report-p1260415.jpg

Thus we come to the conclusion of one of the best organised OTR event. The offroad puzzles were of the mind boggling variety, designed specifically for our type of offroad vehicles. I will never understand what keeps these guys ticking. But I can’t wait for the next event, which is only 4 days away.

Last edited by Samurai : 20th January 2014 at 13:48.
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Old 20th January 2014, 08:49   #8
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Wow...that sure looked like one fun filled event.

I saw an Endy in the group picture. How did that fare?
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Old 20th January 2014, 10:35   #9
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

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I saw an Endy in the group picture. How did that fare?
The Endy could only enter few parts of the trail. But I wasn't anywhere around the Endy. Others might shed some light.
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Old 20th January 2014, 10:58   #10
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Fantastic coverage Sharath and yeah good to see a portrait of yours with a smile. I have been to this resort twice and stayed for 2 days each during both the visits. We were there for a team building activity.

Loved the place and the only gripe was the parched land outside the resort. It's a huge property from what I can recall and the lake simply was an added beauty to this place.
They have a small man made island in the property. Ever got a chance to visit that ?

Last edited by rjstyles69 : 20th January 2014 at 10:59.
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Old 20th January 2014, 11:03   #11
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Wow...that sure looked like one fun filled event.

I saw an Endy in the group picture. How did that fare?
Quote:
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The Endy could only enter few parts of the trail. But I wasn't anywhere around the Endy. Others might shed some light.
Hi Sudev,

That's Vishnu's Endy, with a 2" Suspension Lift. It did most of the obstacles on Day#1 & Day#2.

Skipped 5-6 Obstacles over Two Days.

Regards,

Arka
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Old 20th January 2014, 11:42   #12
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Default re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Thank You Samurai! Your off-road excursion stories are very interesting and insightful. Also, I have never see an off-road event, yet the technical bits that you share are easy to grasp.

Would have loved to see snaps of your MM 550. This is why I prefer you wearing the photographers hat more than the driver one. Purely a selfish thought. Have fun with the 550!

PS: This doesn't mean we have to wait till 2015 to see BAOTR 2014 through you right?
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Old 20th January 2014, 11:56   #13
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Less than a week to go for the BAOTR 2014, and I start writing this report of BAOTR 2013. Well, why not? Even if very few read it, I will enjoy re-living the wonderful time I had last year. It will also force me to finally process the raw files and upload the videos.
....
Excellent report and pics, Samurai, and interesting captions for the pics also

Quote:
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...I saw an Endy in the group picture. How did that fare?
Please see the below links for details about the Endy's performance...

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ex...ml#post3037520 (Annual Bangalore OTR 2013 – Event Report)


http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ex...ml#post3042155 (Annual Bangalore OTR 2013 – Event Report)


http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ex...ml#post3030735 (Annual Bangalore OTR 2013 – Event Report)
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Old 21st January 2014, 16:32   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Sharath Sir,
can you please let me know the venue details for 2014? Would be very interested to watch this as a by-stander.

thanking you in advance.
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Old 21st January 2014, 16:49   #15
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Default Re: Bangalore Annual Offroad Event, 2013 - A Just in Time Report

Excellent report, great pictures and nice unassuming narration.

And hey, it even had a picture of you smiling! Who'd have thunk it!?!!
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