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Old 27th February 2017, 13:01   #1
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Default Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

The Mahindra Great Escape

Mahindra started organizing regular 4x4 Excursions in 1996. Established in 2011 Mahindra Adventure provides different types of events for both newbies and experienced offroaders.

If you have more than a week to spare, then go on an expedition like this Himalayan Adventure in Spiti covered by our resident off-roading guru Khan_Sultan.

Just a couple of days and you have an itch for some thrill and excitement? Participate in the Monsoon Challenge.

But if you have just one day to completely lose yourself then it's one of the Great Escapes for you! MPower covered one such escape in Lonavala and had a great time.

The best thing about these Great Escapes is that they are the perfect launchpad for newbies like me with no prior off-roading experience. They have a lot of support systems in place and an excellent crew for guidance.

Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-_mg_5262.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 3rd March 2017 at 11:46.
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Old 27th February 2017, 13:01   #2
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Default re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

Mandawa is a small town located a good three hours drive from Jaipur. It has a very special place on the tourist map of India: blockbuster movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and PK were shot here. The lanes have an old world charm and is famous for its havelis. Couple of them have been converted into hotels. Some are still used as abodes but the owners will gladly show you around...for a price.

On Friday the 24th of February 2017, I landed at Jaipur and the first thing I see around the baggage collection area is this signboard from Mahindra. They plan these events very meticulously and it goes a long way in making things smooth and comfortable. Was quickly chaperoned by the event organizers and loaded into my taxi.

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Mandawa attracts a lot of international tourists. The hotel I was staying in had a big contingent of European tourists. They were all accompanied with local tour guides speaking fluent French.

For me the best part about travelling is that it makes me fall in love all over again with my beloved country:
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Proceedings kicked off Friday night with a party for the participants for this edition of The Great Escape. This particular Great Escape was not open to public: it was by invite only. Invitees included representatives from the media, Mahindra dealers and vendors, with select few Mahindra customers in the mix. I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Pavan Goenka, Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, whose sense of humour is matched only by his incredible modesty.

The Great Escape was scheduled between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM on Saturday.

The parking lot was filled up with Thars and Scorpios, all of them fuelled and ready to leave. There were also a couple of vehicles manned by the recovery crew. That was quite a sight and Mahindra did an amazing job in pulling it off.

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A short speech with instructions on how to be proceed and, most importantly, stay safe. The key takeaway was to use the 4L lever before attempting any climb. The tyres were running at a much lower 20psi, so we were asked to be careful especially when driving on the road towards the offroading location. The most important part was to remain calm and have fun.


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Last edited by GTO : 3rd March 2017 at 11:56.
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Old 27th February 2017, 13:01   #3
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The desert from which the Mahindra Thar gets its name used to extend till the gates of the hotel we were in. But with recent advances in irrigation and the changing climate, the desert has moved away and we had to drive a couple of kilometers before the first obstacle.

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What they never tell you about an off-roading event like this, is the amount of time you spend doing nothing.

You sit in the car and wait. You wait while others attempt to climb. You pray that they clear it in the first attempt so that the convoy can move ahead. But it does not work that way. Some people attempt it in the wrong gear or they don't have enough momentum.

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If someone is stuck then there were a lot of the recovery vehicles to pull them out. These experienced drivers were crossing these obstacles like a hot knife through butter.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-recovery.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 3rd March 2017 at 11:48.
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Old 27th February 2017, 13:01   #4
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Since it was my first time, I let the media representative sharing my vehicle to go first. This allowed me to observe and see how it was being done.

Usually the driver approached a climb slowly and gets a feel of the terrain under the wheels.

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Then lines up to get the best approach angle.

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Waits for an all clear before proceeding. Its best to wait till the climb is clear. If the vehicle in front stalls or stops, then there can be an accident. Its not very easy controlling an accelerating two tonne vehicle on soft terrain.

Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-3a.jpg

Then give it everything you have and take off.

Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-4.jpg

Pray that the momentum is adequate and your gear changes if needed go smoothly.

Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-5.jpg

If you lose traction then it can quickly turn downhill, literally!

Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-6.jpg

After watching a couple of cars do this over and over again, I realized that in less than 2 or 3 feet from the take off point its easy to predict if the obstacle will be crossed or not.

Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-7.jpg

To my inexperienced eye, it appeared that most drivers were unwilling to give full throttle as if it will hurt the engine.
I suffer from no such false sense of mechanical empathy.

Last edited by noopster : 2nd March 2017 at 12:29.
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Old 27th February 2017, 14:41   #5
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Default re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

At the start of every obstacle is a guy who tells you which gears to use. He will also tell you when to change the gear.
LISTEN TO HIM.
He knows his job and just following his advice will give you a huge advantage in crossing the climb.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-1.jpg

There was a Bolero that was fun to watch as it kept on attempting the climb. Most times failing while the lighter and more powerful Thar just sailed across.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-bolero.jpg

There were quite a lot of tastefully done up Thars.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-climb-1.jpg

Always nice to see couples enjoy a common interest.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-couples-2.jpg
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Girl Power. There were a couple of ladies driving these 4*4 in such style that I wished all naysayers who consider women as inferior drivers are made to sit and watch. They would surely change their misogynist view.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-woman.jpg

This was the scariest part of the event. Nothing is worse than coming up at full speed only to see a bunch of idiots standing with their smart phones trying to record a video.
The organizers kept asking them to move but they kept breaking ranks with no regard for their own safety.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-scary-1.jpg
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When you almost finish the climb but get stuck in the last few centimeters, a tow rope powered by a winch to the rescue.
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When it all goes well, the feeling is simply divine.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-3.jpg

Last edited by bblost : 2nd March 2017 at 10:07.
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Old 27th February 2017, 14:58   #6
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Default re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

Function beats form and it always looks better.
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When everything goes right the dust is behind you. The vehicle goes faster and faster till the sheer momentum takes it over the sandy hills.
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But when things get stuck you get a free mud bath.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-9.jpg

Last edited by bblost : 1st March 2017 at 17:16.
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Old 27th February 2017, 15:00   #7
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Having spent the first two obstacles as a passenger, I was itching to get my hands on the steering. My partner found an old friend of his and decided to go over. This took a huge pressure of my chest. I would now be able to drive without any fear of potentially harming my passenger.
Having watched so many attempts by other drivers, I knew that the key to successfully crossing the climb is momentum. That can only happen if you are in the right gear.

Before every climb, I would take a moment to calm down. Breathe in and hope for the best.
Slot into the gear recommended by the Mahindra guy who was present at the base.
Rev the engine. Have a relaxed grip on the steering and let it go out full throttle.
If needed move up the gear so that I hit the climb at a good speed.
As soon as the front wheels hit the really soft sand they would turn in any direction they want.
Mild correction on the steering to keep the front pointing straight and the Thar would finish the climb in just a few really long seconds.




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The sheer thrill of climbing is so addictive. One moment you are at the base trying to think as calmly as possible. But once the vehicle starts the climb, all that she needs is a little love.

My golden memories from this drive.
Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa-_mg_5328.jpg

Last edited by bblost : 28th February 2017 at 16:06.
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Old 28th February 2017, 17:31   #8
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Default re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

When the drive was over we were given a choice. Do we want to drive back to the hotel or take the long way back.
Of course I had to take the long way back. But this was not a charted route and it also involved driving over much harder terrain with occasionally small climbs of loose sand.

I wanted to test a 4*4 without engaging the 4L. So disengaged it for the majority of this drive. The Thar performs brilliantly on this surface. It takes anything you throw its way without any issues and since the run ups are so fast, the little bit of sand you encounter is just dismissed like nothing.

However I did encounter one spot where the car got stuck after climbing. I attempted it in 4L and once it got on the top, it bottomed out over the muddy hill. Maybe a lot more speed would have helped cross this but when I realized that everyone else was taking an alternate path, I decided to follow suit.
Apart from this one obstacle which was not being used by anyone, I am happy to say, the Thar did not get stuck anywhere.

Continuing on the same unmarked terrain, I encountered another issue.
I easily crossed the climb. But during its descent the rear slid a little and I was almost perpendicular to the downward direction.
Unable to see the tires and not sure what was needed, I decided to wait it out.

Within just 3-4 minutes a recovery jeep found me. The helpful driver told me to just move without turning as my wheels were aligned in the right direction.
It felt a little foolish but its a lot better to be safe than attempt moving without knowing what was going on.

This route ended right in front of our hotel.
Very hungry after the hectic day in the sun, I devoured the very tasty Rajasthani cuisine.

The Thar is a fantastic choice for a second car. As a primary vehicle it is too barebones for anyone who has kids. But if you have some spare cash and an extra parking slot, something like this will seriously bring more fun into your life.

Disclaimer: Mahindra invited Team-BHP for the Great Escape. They covered all the travel expenses for this event.

Last edited by GTO : 3rd March 2017 at 11:59.
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Old 3rd March 2017, 12:02   #9
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Default Re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 4x4 Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd March 2017, 22:02   #10
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Looks like you had a nice fun time bblost!

Thanks for sharing your first-timer point of view.

Were you guys running 20psi throughout, or was the pressure bumped up once you were on tarmac?
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Old 3rd March 2017, 22:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aah78 View Post
Looks like you had a nice fun time bblost!

Thanks for sharing your first-timer point of view.

Were you guys running 20psi throughout, or was the pressure bumped up once you were on tarmac?
We drove on the low pressure for the entire duration of this event.
The cars were already prepped up before we left. The team made it very clear that it was our responsibility to drive carefully on tarmac to avoid damaging the sidewalls.

The tarmac was for a less than 10 kilometers and because of the sheer number of cars in the convoy, we proceeded at quite a relaxed pace.
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Old 6th March 2017, 16:32   #12
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Default Re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

The Mahindra Great Escape is a great way to earn your inroads into the off-roading scene.
You've spoken quite a fair bit about the Thar during this event, and not much mention of how the Scorpios fared.

Considering this wasn't an advanced level event, i am surprised to not see any XUVs in the pics.
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Old 6th March 2017, 21:50   #13
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Default Re: Report & Pics: The 2017 Mahindra Great Escape @ Mandawa

Glad to know you had great fun!.

Mahindra excursions are real fun. I still remember skidding through a part of my only great escape in Wayanad. Where the mighty Thar was displayed.

However: Mahindra Great Escape & Club Challenge competition's standard are really unacceptable. There is not a single Club Challenge, or Great Escape that doesnt go without participants cribbing about the scoring. And blaming the organisers favoring someone, and not being transparent.

Mahindra has been at this for years. Even though it is a kind of publicity stunt, since its a manufacturer conducted event, there should be some amount of professionalism. A lot of seasoned off-roaders have sworn not to enter these publicity stunts at the expense of participants.

With such a solid platform for adventure and offroading, I really hope Mahindra sorts things out, the great escape and club challenges become more transparent & participating worthy.

I really hope Mahindra reads this: Hence this comment bblost.

Last edited by dhanushs : 6th March 2017 at 21:54.
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Old 7th March 2017, 10:49   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
You've spoken quite a fair bit about the Thar during this event, and not much mention of how the Scorpios fared.
What I observed is that the Thar is a lot more forgiving of newbies.
Anyone who knows how to drive and can maintain a straight trajectory could easily cross the obstacles.

But the heavier Scorpio demanded someone with a little more experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
Glad to know you had great fun!.

Mahindra excursions are real fun. I still remember skidding through a part of my only great escape in Wayanad. Where the mighty Thar was displayed.

[b]
Mahindra has been at this for years. Even though it is a kind of publicity stunt, since its a manufacturer conducted event, there should be some amount of professionalism. A lot of seasoned off-roaders have sworn not to enter these publicity stunts at the expense of participants.
No clue about this. This event was very smooth and I had a lot of fun. Plus I was not competing against anything.

However I did compete in the Monsoon Challenge a couple of years back and it was very professional. As far as I can recall no one had any complaints on the results.
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Old 7th March 2017, 11:10   #15
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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
No clue about this. This event was very smooth and I had a lot of fun. Plus I was not competing against anything.
I know. Thats why I said, "excursions" are fun. Plus, you went to a Media/Invite only event. Mahindra dare to mess this up.

Quote:
However I did compete in the Monsoon Challenge a couple of years back and it was very professional. As far as I can recall no one had any complaints on the results.
Not TSD. Offroading. Anyone who has been to it should agree, I guess.
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