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Old 30th January 2014, 01:07   #1
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Talking Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report

January 23d 2014

When I reached the B.O.D.A OTR camp, which was situated on the top of a hill, I was greeted by a beautiful sunset.

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And a beautiful lady manning the registration counter.

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There was also a bouncer with a big mustache right behind her.

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You would also notice a B.O.D.A offroader band in his hand. This was the access key that every offroader had to wear in order to have seamless access to every part of the camp. Two years back local villagers had free access and ate most of the food, and many items went missing. This time, people without this band would not be allowed inside, ensuring the security of the camp.

Registration desk is manned by the Women of B.O.D.A.

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Some marshals relaxing near the registration desk.

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Couple participants (Waseem & Sameer) are waiting while the camp is the getting setup.

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The last minute preparations were still on, like setting up the sleeping area, portable toilets, generator lighting, cooking prep, etc. Keep in mind we were in middle of nowhere, just a flat area on the top of a barren rocky mountain. By 8PM, it had become a lively town with hundreds of people. We spent the next few hours meeting old friends and catching up, over fried river fish and some really delicious dinner.

This time they had cots for everybody. That means we didn’t have to deal with uneven ground unlike 2012. So I slept like a baby.

To Be Continued…

Last edited by Samurai : 4th February 2014 at 13:07.
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Old 30th January 2014, 01:07   #2
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Talking Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report

January 24th 2014

After a tasty breakfast, I decided to capture some mugshots like usual, it is becoming another annual ritual.

Just like me, the Gulbarga Offroader Mallikarjun Sajjanshetty was attending without a Jeep, all by himself.

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Ashok Kumar Tiwari, another fellow I keep running into since 2008. He is the chief editor of Autotrack Magazine, India's only Motorsports and off-road Magazine.

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Guhan Shetty, in different shades. A regular offroad competitor.

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His team members from Triveni group.

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Marshal Chetan

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Garment couple Mr. & Mrs.Vinay.

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Lady BODA aka Prabha, wife of Chief Marshal Viji.

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Then it was time for the briefing.

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The sponsors are also thanked for their contributions.



After the briefing, the vehicles started rolling out. Until now I hadn’t decided whether I will hitch a ride with somebody or just walk the trail. Either way was fine with me. In longer stretches, I could jump into the back of some vehicle and keep moving. I had already received 5-6 invites by various guys to join them in their vehicle.

However, as I was wondering which trail I should take, I saw the Terra Tigers moving out in a convoy. I generally prefer sticking around with this gang since they are my fellow alumnus, trained by the same offroad trainer-in-chief Arka. Then I saw Vishnu driving by in his Ninja Mutant Endeavour, with no one at the passenger seat. I had never sat in a SUV in a offroad trail after couple of embarrassing experiences in my Grand Vitara in 2008. And unlike my Vitara this Endy is offroad prepped to the gills. And I also knew Vishnu had lots of experience driving Endy in offroad terrain. Also, having reviewed the Endeavour officially for Team-BHP, I did know a thing or two about this vehicle. It would be worthwhile to see this beast in action in Bangalore OTR. So I made a quick request and got the nod. Thus Endy became my ride for the next two days. Thus this became a luxury passenger's report, who often got to enjoy the AC during the hotter times of the day.

Remember the security arrangements at the OTR camp? I guess they weren’t kidding. As we moved out of the camp and into the trail, we were accosted and mugged by a pair of masked men. Fortunately, the loss was limited to a tyre pressure gauge.

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Throughout the next two days, we were followed by a red Pajero with 4 inch lift. That is 2 inches of body lift and 2 inches or suspension lift. Therefore, this time I got to cover two 4WD SUVs instead of just the same old Jeeps and Gypsies. As a fellow 4WD SUV owner, I didn’t mind it at all.

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Soon I jumped out to cover the vehicles trudging along the rocky trail.

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Then I see a long queue, that means major obstacle ahead.

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And this was it... a long drop followed by a very sharp drop to the right.

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To Be Continued…

Last edited by Samurai : 4th February 2014 at 16:07.
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Old 30th January 2014, 01:07   #3
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Talking Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report

Déjà vu! Didn’t I just write the Bangalore Annual OTR report? Yup, it was only 10 days back. But that was for the last year. This year I don’t have the luxury to wait another year. Enough people at last week’s event threatened me not to delay the reports and photographs until the next year. I have decided to comply, and hammer the iron when it is still red hot.

In my mother tongue Tulu, BODA means want some? Therefore when B.O.D.A organises an OTR event, I can only say Yeeeaaahhh!

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It is becoming a pattern with me now. Although I have been attending Bangalore Annual OTR since 2011, I am getting my Jeep to the event only on alternate years. I don’t plan it that way, it just happens that way. This time it was a logistical problem. My wife had to attend two family weddings back in the coast during January. That means I had no opportunity to go back and get the Jeep. Therefore, I didn’t bother to fix the lingering problems in the Jeep during Christmas.

Usually vehicle-less attendees try to reserve a seat in advance in one of the attending vehicles. Even I would do that in any other OTR, but in Bangalore Annual OTR I don’t bother. The Bangalore Annual OTR is an offroad carnival and I generally know half the people who attend. Getting a last minute ride is not a problem at all. Therefore, I just registered for the event and waited for the D-Day. I also wrote the 2013 report in a way to reminisce. Good thing I did that, because I found many people at the event appreciating the memories it brought back.

This time the event was in the vicinity of Kanakapura, but in a different trail than 2012. It was just 1.5Kms from the state highway, so we didn’t have to go in circles to reach the camp, unlike in 2012.

To Be Continued…

Last edited by Samurai : 4th February 2014 at 14:46. Reason: typo
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Old 30th January 2014, 12:41   #4
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Jeeps line up to take on the first real challenge of the day. The slope is slippery due to gravel. Word is passed that everybody must use 1st low to tackle this.

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Then there is the very tricky turn.

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A young Jeeper waits for the Jeep ahead to clear the tricky turn.

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More Jeeps are coming down..

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And then it is the time for the Endy.

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And that was nicely done. He had to use brakes since he doesn’t have as much engine braking as Jeeps.



Then the tricky turn. I first thought he will go straight and bypass the turn. But Vishnu was determined not to take the bypass unless he is really forced to do so.

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He did it so cleanly, I was left wondering whether it was really as difficult as it looked. I guess the long chassis really helped him here.

Next it was the turn of the Pajero. It was nowhere near easy for him. That is when I realised that the Endy driver had lot more mastery over his machine than the Pajero driver.

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And we continue slithering through a rocky trail.

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A young Jeeper in his first OTR driving stint, last year he was a passenger.

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Next I come across a veteran stuck at the next climb.

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Suresh’s daughter is having troubles. Why did I call her the veteran? Because she had the newbie status last year.

But the failure was caused by the gearshift which was refusing to engage. Even in the capable hands of Arka, it didn’t budge.

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It was not a difficult climb, but one needed to adjust the angle and then take it in one shot.

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Meanwhile, Arka is doing field repair on the gearbox of the stranded Jeep.

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Some were doing it very easily...

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I decided to shoot from the top once the Endy climbed over very easily. But Pajero again had to struggle. It was a driven by a very young doctor who was probably doing his first hardcore offroad event.

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Pajero had some dramatic moments and I failed to capture it as I pressed the wrong button on my camera.

There was a small pile of rocks right after this climb. And that gave more problems to many vehicles.

See the Pajero struggle on it.



Or this Gypsy which cleanly climbed, and struggled on the rock pile.

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To Be Continued…
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Old 30th January 2014, 20:37   #5
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Sharath, as usual a very detailed, cheerful, eloquent report that brings back memories of the last weekend. Looking forward eagerly to the rest of the report.
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Old 31st January 2014, 00:50   #6
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Then we waited for the remaining few Jeeps to make it.

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And now, we are up against the very first doozie of the day. The killing fields… actually many of us had already seen the videos of this obstacle. The marshals were of the opinion that only Jeeps with lockers and/or mud tyres can make it. There are always exceptions of course. And every offroader was hoping to be that exception.

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It is hard to capture the 30-35 degree double S-curve in the photograph. So here is a figure that will give some idea. The black curve is the regular route. The red curve is the bypass. The bypass only spares you couple of curves, but the steepness cannot be avoided. The two pics above represent the first two black curves.

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The next pic is showing the last part of the black curve.

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The next pic is the bypass, the red curve section, which is no picnic either.

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Let’s see some attempts by one Jeep.

First he takes the regular double S curve, and gets beached at the second curve.



Then he goes too slow in the second attempt, and again beached.


Finally he takes the bypass… and falls into Madhu pit just before the last curve. Madhu pit is a trap to catch anybody celebrating prematurely. It gets you just when you think you have made it. A typical B.O.D.A design.



And this is how one gets out of Madhu pit, it ain’t pity. It is brutal, do cover the eyes of the little ones.



Here you can see a Jeep that is stuck in the bypass.



This is the last part of the S curve. Steep enough for ya?

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Next in line was a very different vehicle. A Mahindra Classic with XDP engine, but on 35 inch mud tyres.

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The first two attempts by the Classic failed.



But in the third attempt, he gunned hard and managed to keep his momentum and completed the climb. But I didn’t capture it in video since the dust wouldn’t let me capture it beyond the second curve.

Finding a place to capture the video without drowning in the dust was a major problem. Check out this attempt by this Gypsy where the video/photographers are bathed in dust.



Then I re-located to another side, where I could capture the entire climb without eating dust.



By this time the S curves were totally annihilated. The SUV drivers were truly worried, and so were the marshals who will have to tow these massive beasts. I move back to the bypass side so that I can capture the Endy, as Vishnu had decided to take the bypass.

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Vishnu makes his first attempt… and holy cow...he is not taking the bypass. So I am again caught in the wrong side.



And nobody looks surprised. I told you so looks are exchanged. Marshals start looking for the snatch block to double the pulling power.

Then Vishnu reversed back all the way and takes another crack at it… and makes it all the way. And I had not bothered to turn on the camera, expecting another failure. Damn!

When I am still looking up, I see the red Pajero climbing up in a much calmer manner. I had just enough time to click a shot, and then it calmly went all the way up. What the hell????

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I just manage to capture the tail vanishing into the finish line.



I quickly follow the SUVs on foot up the hill while exchanging shocked look with many including marshals. A pair of overweight SUVs had out performed Jeeps in an effortless manner, in the toughest climb of the event.

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Look at them smirking at the Jeepers at the top of the hill.

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After a while chief marshal viji comes up the hill saying modern technology has finally beaten the grizzled old Jeeps. It is time we gave the SUVs the respect they deserve.

We take our lunch break at this point.

After lunch we get to drive long stretches of relatively easy trail. Since the vehicles kept moving, I stayed inside the AC cabin under the hot sun. Eventually we came to a stop and stayed so for a long time. By then I had discovered a kindred spirit in Vishnu. We both relish understanding 4WD in a technical sense, and then apply in the field. I realised that when he said Pajero’s LSD kicks in before the wheel spin, while Endy’s torsen LSD kicks in once the wheels are spinning. I have come across very few people who analyse the vehicle behavior like that in the field. I usually do that and people just ignore me when I do. And, we both are fitness freaks despite our 20 years difference. We spent the time exchanging fitness tips.

After an hour of talk, we finally decided to find the cause of the delay. There was a long line of Jeeps to cross.

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Then we see a strange rescue operation going on. Mutliple Jeeps were connected to each other via tow rope. I couldn’t figure out who is pulling whom.

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Then I see this Jeep on the hi-lift jack. But why in the front?

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The Jeep is bottomed out.

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To be frank, I didn’t really understand this rescue operation.

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Many marshal Jeeps came in and went out from every direction.

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We were told that the climb here is followed by a steep drop and a very acute turn. May be impossible for SUVs to make it because of the very narrow width. Finally we decide to turn back and head to the camp. So we did only one trail and didn’t complete it. Felt a bit incomplete when we found that everybody else completed two trails that day, while we didn’t complete a single trail.

To Be Continued...
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Old 31st January 2014, 12:43   #7
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Well not bad Samurai. you did take my threats seriously. good to see a report just 1 week after the event.
I am impressed in seeing the Endeavour perform. Vishnu truly has joined us in every offroad event and has learnt a lot from those. he is one guy who refuses to back down.

waiting for more pictures and videos.
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Old 31st January 2014, 18:53   #8
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Awesome report Sharath.

There is also a fact wrt the Pajero being a manual and the endy an Auto Slush box - This would differentiate the way the vehicles develop / put down their traction on the ground.

I am impressed with the Pajero with 97000 kms driven by Dr. Abhishek Vandiyar from Chidambaram. This is his first major OTR and he has done up this vehicle beautifully. He also drove well, very well.

Vishnu needs no introduction as you see him participate in more events, good driving nevertheless.
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Old 31st January 2014, 19:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by headers View Post
There is also a fact wrt the Pajero being a manual and the endy an Auto Slush box - This would differentiate the way the vehicles develop / put down their traction on the ground.
I guess you are never going to let go your disdain for torque converter. BTW, vehicles put down their torque, the traction is provided by the ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by headers View Post
I am impressed with the Pajero with 97000 kms driven by Dr. Abhishek Vandiyar from Chidambaram. This is his first major OTR and he has done up this vehicle beautifully. He also drove well, very well.
I guess I have to mention that you were his navigator when he climbed this very difficult incline in one attempt.
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Old 1st February 2014, 00:53   #10
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Meanwhile, I was in bit of a crisis. I had come equipped with a weather-proof camera/lens and 3 fully charged batteries. Out of those 3 batteries, two were cheap non-OE ones. And those two batteries were drained by the time we did the double S curve climb. That is 2 down by noon of first day. Can I survive on the OE battery for the next 1.5 days? Do I have to drive home for the night to charge the battery and miss all the fun at night, that was my big worry.

However, the battery was still showing green by the end of the first day. So I decided to stick around and use the camera sparingly until the end of the event.

Therefore, that night I shot only a few select mug shots.

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And I resurrected the torque discussion with Arka this time. I argued from the Physics understanding, he argued from the understanding of the mechanics of a transfer case. So it was a stalemate.

Many people partied quite late into night, but I hit the sack at 1AM under this artificial moon above the camp.

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To Be Continued...
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Old 1st February 2014, 12:33   #11
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January 25th 2014

Ah, it was time for another day of offroad mayhem, and I only hoped we complete both the trails assigned to us.

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The trail started off tamely and for a while it looked like a walk in the park. We figured we did the most difficult one on day one, and rest would be too easy. Then we came across this crazy part.

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Then M.Ali of Terra Tigers explained how it has to be done, by putting one wheel on the wall. At first I thought he has seen too many Jackie Chan movies, at least the Young Master where Jackie scales a set of parallel walls by placing a foot on each wall. So I called his scheme crazy.

Then I watched a Jeep do it.

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And then another Jeep.

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Then it hit me… we are all Jackie Chans, but in 4WD.

But can the Endy do it? Only the next minute will tell.

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It was a crazy moment when the front tyre was on the wall and rear tyre in air. It also meant his other rear tyre has no torque thanks to torsen LSD. Right here, the Endy is clawing it’s way through using front axle, rather than being pushed by the rear axle. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I had witnessed it.

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Now it has come much further, but you can still see that rear tyre has very little contact or traction. The front axle is doing all the work.

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And suddenly it is all over.

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I took the opportunity to examine the underbody protection at the same time.

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Unfortunately, it also meant that I didn’t take the opportunity to go around the Endy to cover the Pajero. The Endy came forward to make space for the Pajero and completely blocked the trail. I couldn’t slither past it anymore.

The Endy did the Jackie Chan move very easily, lot easily than the Jeeps thanks to the extra width. Many Jeeps had slipped sideways during the maneuver, but the width of Endy ensured it didn’t slip.

Therefore, I figured Pajero to make it across as effortlessly as the Endy. But the Pajero driver was not as experienced as the Endy driver, and that came into play now. It had some crazy moments as both the front tyres went up in air. I was not in a position to shoot, so I had to fret from far. But he made it through after couple of scary moments.

The next obstacle was a dirty water crossing. You had to climb over a mound and then turn into a marshy muck high speed while spraying the muck all around you and even inside the vehicle. For once women got it right, All Men are Pigs! That fact was confirmed when Roshni skipped this muck crossing for whatever reason, hmm.

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You could see more men lining up to jump into the muck.

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You can see the muck flying in air. For once I wished I had a telephoto lens to shoot this from safe distance. Afterall, my camera is not a pig, it is just weather proof.

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Finally Endy takes off into the mucky pool, spraying muck all round.

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Then he suddenly slowed down and tamely finished up the crossing. The reason? None of the window glasses were up. Therefore, quite a bit of it got inside the cabin.

Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report-p1250296.jpg

The Pajero guy was more prepared, he had all window glasses up. He could drive fast without a care in the world.

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But these doorless and topless guys couldn’t avoid the muck and they didn’t care either. As we know, all men are…

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Once in a while we used to come across these steep mounds. These are easy peasy for SWB Jeeps, but can be challenging to long chassis SUVs. However, since they SUVs had massive lifts and massive tyres, not one of the mounds posed a challenge. At first I was expecting every mound to be a challenge to the SUVs, but they hardly scraped their well protected underbellies anywhere. They didn’t even have to bother taking cross axle approach. By this time I was getting seriously impressed by these two well prepared modern offroaders.

Check out this straight approach to get cross a steep mound.

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To Be Continued...
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Old 1st February 2014, 15:27   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report

Even the Pajero is able to crossover the mound effortlessly.

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Next we came to a steep drop. At first I thought it was a short one, but when I walked up to it, I discovered it was 3 times longer than I expected.

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Then the Pajero did the same.

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Then we went a little further to see another drop. And we saw the Jeep scraping the tree on the way down like a elephant in heat. Is the drop so narrow, can the SUVs take it? Had to get down to find out.

It was wild drop alright, but pretty wide. The earlier Jeep scraped it because he took a wrong line.

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So he came down nicely and got stuck in the exit.



Nobody thought getting out of the ditch would be tough, but the Endy had to retry with lot more power to get out.

Next there was another drop, which was quite nasty if the line was not correct. However, the wait before the drop was equally nasty. We had to park in a 20-25 degree sideways trail.

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Check out the parking angle. The driver is standing straight, but the Jeep is severely tilted to the side.

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The Jeep looks tiny next to the giant Endy driver. He is 6’8” tall, if you are wondering.

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Next we came across a very rocky trail. Endy drives away like it was on highway.

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The Pajero was next.



It wasn’t so easy for the Pajero as the rear tyre was lifting and causing problems. After 3-4 attempts, he managed to clear it.

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Next we came across a very scary looking obstacle. First you have to take a steep dive, followed by a steep climb, turn right and climb again for a long haul. If you stop during the climb, you have to be winched out.

The Dive and the climb

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The video of a very successful climb.



Soon it was our turn. At first I thought about shooting the video of Endy from outside. Then I noticed the amount of climbing I have to do on foot, and changed my mind.

Therefore, Endy climbing video is from the inside. Well, beautifully done. See how long the climb actually is...



The Pajero followed us very soon, there was no way to cover that since I was already on top.

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And then we come to the end. Time for group photos. Vishnu is all in smiles, he has completed the Bangalore OTR with no damage and without taking a single bypass.

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While we were enjoying the end of the event, a marshal comes along and tells us that we have only finished the first trail. The next trail is about to begin.

Vishnu has only one reaction… You gotta be kidding me!!!

To Be Continued...
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Old 1st February 2014, 16:32   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report

A very detailed report Sir with those pictures and videos; we can't experience it what you must have experienced first hand but we can atleast get a feel of the real thing. Thank You!

1. Who were those masked men? I didn't quite get the part of losing the air pressure gauge.

2. Vishnu is 6'8" ? Now I have only one reaction "You must be kidding me".

-Bhargav
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Old 2nd February 2014, 11:28   #14
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Default Re: Bangalore Annual OTR 2014 - A luxury passenger's report

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I guess you are never going to let go your disdain for torque converter. BTW, vehicles put down their torque, the traction is provided by the ground
In light of the recent torque discussions - don't you think he has a point? You yourself have given a clue as quoted below Manual gears provide more resistance and hence more torque generated by engine. Torque converters will have more slip - or whatever the term is

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
And that was nicely done. He had to use brakes since he doesn’t have as much engine braking as Jeeps.
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Old 2nd February 2014, 12:56   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
1. Who were those masked men? I didn't quite get the part of losing the air pressure gauge.
They were part of Chennai team, the mask was worn to deal with the dust. They borrowed the air pressure gauge to deflate the tyres.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
In light of the recent torque discussions - don't you think he has a point?
Oh no, that comment has a very different context. Headers and Co were teasing Vishnu constantly, calling Endy as Kinetic Honda, because it is an automatic. According to them manual transmission drivers have some really work to do, while automatic transmission drivers just press the A-pedal. This had nothing to do with torque delivery.

Last edited by Samurai : 2nd February 2014 at 12:58.
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