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|6th July 2010, 16:04||#17|
Join Date: Apr 2008
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But did anyone notice, the Thar did the route on HT tyres
|6th July 2010, 16:50||#18|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Right here .
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|6th July 2010, 16:57||#19|
|6th July 2010, 16:57||#20|
Senior - BHPian
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PS- It goes like a bomb on 115 BHP and 300 Nm dataset.
|6th July 2010, 17:09||#21|
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|9th July 2010, 13:53||#23|
Join Date: Jun 2010
Thanked: 47 Times
Boy, impatiance is setting in. I'm no offroader, but this thread has me hooked. Bring it on - write up, pics and all. And if nothing else, it's got me all excited about the Thar - Mahindra owes you for that.
|11th July 2010, 23:21||#24|
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Arka you took your jeep all the way to mumbai? Dorve it down?
OT: The Thar's engine bay looks filled with RAW power
|13th July 2010, 01:11||#25|
As I was enjoying the hospitality of the front passenger seat of Thar, Cyrus was bouncing on the hard floor surface in the rear. Fortunately, his torture didnít last long, we were at the next challenge.
The long steep slopeÖ
A view from below.
This slope turned out to be the most controversial part of EXAMM event, and I had a significant part to play in it. This slope was steep and didnít offer much traction to vehicles using AT or any lesser offroading tyres.
As I stood there and watched, I saw Gyspies going down in 1st low without skidding, but Jeeps were skidding in 1st low. At first I thought Jeepers were braking, then I realized that even seasoned Jeepers were skidding all the way without any steering control. Remember, when you are skidding, there is no steering control. That is why ABS was invented.
But ABS was not invented for slippery conditions. Anyone who has experienced ABS in slippery conditions would know why. ABS is not a good thing while doing offroading. While I have been offroading only since 2007, I do have tons of driving experience in slippery road condition in ice/snow on plain jane cars to ABS/TCS equipped cars, all in front wheel drive. Therefore I have a very healthy fear of slipping and sliding. In ice/snow, braking should be avoided unless you are coming to a slow stop. Otherwise, braking always results in sliding followed by loss of steering control.
Therefore, when I looked at this slippery slope, I judged that going a little faster with steering control is better than sliding slowing without steering control. This is something I have regularly practiced, so I was confident about it. So I advised some of the jeepers who were passing by to do it in 2nd low instead of 1st low after explaining my logic. Basically do it in Gypsy 1st low speed as it is very similar to Jeep 2nd low speed. Some took my advice and went down without slipping, while some others preferred to go down slowly despite slipping. Only people with mud terrain or NDMS managed not to slip in 1st low. However, after reading some of the recent comments in spotting thread, I think I probably erred in suggesting my technique to others, especially newbies. While it definitely works and did work here for many, it can be little scary to people who havenít tried it before. They might prefer going down slow even with a compromised steering control. At higher speeds, if things go wrong, they may not know what to do.
Around this time, AVR (Aditya) was not feeling too confident about going down this hill. So he asked me to drive his Jeep down the hill. Obviously, I chose to go down in 2nd low as I had advised others.
As you can see I didnít go down in any great speed, that is a very comfortable speed for me. However, mid-way down the path, I noticed a 1ft diameter rock in the path of the left tyre. Now, thatís not a rock I want to hit while going down the slope. So I relaxed my hand and gave a small twitch to the right to avoid that rock. At about the same time the Jeep bounced on an undulation. Suddenly the steering wheel violently spun out of my grip and turned fully to the right, there by turning the Jeep almost 90 degrees very quickly.
Apparently this was a very scary scene for people watching from below. Although this has been video recorded from below, I am yet to see it. But let me explain the scenario inside. I became completely oblivious to everything. I didnít hear the shouts from the watchers or my passenger. I just instantly reacted by taking control of the steering wheel and turned it with all my effort to the left and regained the original track within the next couple of seconds. I have to thank Arka for drilling that lesson (always turn towards the tilt) repeatedly when I first learnt offroading under his wing back in 2007 at Kellambakkam quarry. It has served me well over years.
Was it reckless, one might wonder. Any normal person, who sees what we do in OTRs, would conclude that we are suicidal, let alone reckless or devoid of common sense. What we do is take calculated risks within our perception of safety. Personally I am very scared of driving jeeps without any roll cage or seat belts. In fact, I am one of the very few guys who always wears seat belts while offroading. In other words, I am very safety conscious. Those of you who have driven with me onroad or offroad, definitely know that. When I came down this slope, I was wearing seat belts, and Aditya too was wearing seat belts. Being secured to the seat let me fully focus on the task of recovering from the tilt, and it also stopped Aditya from trying to jump out of the Jeep in panic.
I have been told that the Jeep was very much in the danger of rolling over, one person even predicted 4-5 rolls. But I donít believe that was the case. For one thing, I was inside, on the driver side. And the CG of a soft top Jeep is really low to lift off so easily. If the Jeep was experiencing enough force to lift off from the driver side, I would have surely felt it. The Jeep may have lifted off as a result of a bounce, but it never experienced any body roll, only the tilt. Another reason the Jeep could have rolled was if it came to a sudden stop. But I never pressed brakes, instead I kept it moving knowing my only escape is by turning towards the tilt, which is exactly what I did.
I know many felt Thar came down too fast, but Behram claimed he was fully in control. Whose word would you trust? Similarly you can decide whether you believe driverís version in my case or not.
However, couple of good things came out of this incident.
The area following the steep slope was a ditch followed by a small hill. This part caught to many vehicles unaware. However, it did have many crossing points. As I was trying to tackle the ditch, a familiar face started spotting for me. It was Jiggy a.k.a Viper, who was at his first OTR ever. Oookay! I decided to jump down and check it out myself. The climb down was simple, the climb looked simple too. But it wasnít. The rocks were slippery, and the tyres kept slipping on them. After 2-3 attempts, I slightly changed my angle of attack and managed to climb up.
But many a vehicles had to be winched up here. This one is Patrickís Classic.
Meanwhile, Thar gets through the obstacle quite easily. Then Arka was asked to take Thar for a spin in this obstacle. As he tried to take it back, Thar ends up on a big stone and Arka disembarks not wanting to damage something in an unfamiliar vehicle. Thar too gets towed up.
This time Sreeni doesnít miss the chance to self-winch himself.
And I find the star of Flight of Hawkz show posing against the hill.
Meanwhile Gogi is looking at this scenario with great apprehension. By now I knew that the slushy path was out of question. So I suggested he take the path I took successfully. Anything that a diesel MM540 can do, a petrol Jeep should be able to do better. I mildly challenged him too, for that is needed sometimes. I recall an incident from two years back, when Romi Mallick told me ďI donít know about you, but your Jeep can do it very easily.Ē
So I suckered Gogi into taking the challenge. When he first entered, the Jeep slipped a little to the side and right tyre entered a crevice. So I asked him to get down and study the layout of the rocks before trying again. Sometimes there is no alternative to looking at the trail in your own eyes. By now Patrick too joined us and started spotting. Gogi slowly and surely got into the ditch and then went up the rocky route I had taken earlier in a single attempt. Thatís how it is done. In all this excitement, I forgot to take any photograph, sorry Gogi.
Then I realize that Sreeni has moved on and I donít have a ride. Hoping that the next obstacle is not too far, I start running down the trail. And I donít see the end of it. Around the same time, Patrick drives up behind me and offers me a ride. As we continue, we realize that the next obstacle is pretty far. In fact, we are in the danger of losing our way, so we start looking for tyre tracks at each fork. While this fun was going on, Patrick quietly asks me whether I had looked at the tyres of Adityaís Jeep. I say no, although I had started to get an idea while doing the rocky climb. Then Pat says if you had seen those tyres, you would have never driven it down, they were practically bald.
It is hard to make out anything under that muck, but yeah, it didnít have much treads left.
But on the other hand, the technique I employed didnít really rely on grippy tyres. In other words, coming down in 1st low in this tyre would have had me sliding down from the get go.
Next one was an innocuous looking detour, but it apparently got too many vehicles into trouble.
But I decide to move on, one of the perks of being a passenger. The next obstacle was narrow channel with a big undulation.
A piece of cake for short chassis Jeeps, but not so easy for longer Jeeps.
But no more vehicles came, as they were stuck in the previous obstacle. So I moved on and after a while saw this spectacle. So I ran all the way to it. It was an extremely pleasant day for running.
This was an open area where most people were resting, while most of the younger ones were jumping into the natural canal just for fun.
Guys having fun
If I am not mistaken, this is the only stock Gypsy that cleared the first obstacle in the morning. Very well driven by a Hyderabadi gentleman.
Robinsonís pride and joy
A rock strewn lawn
Here I ran into a little photographerís nightmare. I was shooting landscapes and then parked vehicles, and then at the same time I was shooting some action by Allan and Dewang as they made their pass across the canal. But landscapes and action need different camera settings. I had the camera at F/11 to shoot the landscapes, but forgot to scale it down for shooting sudden action scenes. Therefore, I ended up with shaky action scenes. What a waste.
At first I had thought this will be the lunch stop. But that was not the case. So we had to move on. But the escape from the rocky lawn was not easy.
This innocuous looking slight uphill, defeated Sreeniís jeep which was trying to crawl up.
The next option was to go back and come at it with some momentum. But Sreeni decides to try the lambda hydraulic winch again. He never lets go a chance to test his winch.
What a background to winch against.
Meanwhile Shahnawaz and Jaggu approach from behind. I quickly warn them about the nature of the deceptive hill, and they get through it in one shot.
I take a closer photograph of the lake from the winching point.
After a little confusion, we finally reach the lunch point.
To be continued
Last edited by Samurai : 13th July 2010 at 20:22.
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|13th July 2010, 10:31||#26|
The lunch point. Can you ask for a better place or weather to have lunch during an OTR?
Most were completing lunch when I showed up. Both veg and non-veg options were available. I quickly had my grub and pulled out the camera to shoot some content people.
Arka walking up the hill towards the lunch shack
UBS with a lovely background
Some views from the lunch shack.
The mood was very jovial and one of contentment. The weather was simply too good, the views were fabulous and continuous but light drizzle kept us all cool and relaxed. The offroad obstacles were challenging and kept us looking forward for more.
I collected my T-Shirt and walked to Sreeni’s Jeep to put it in my bag. Then I decided to switch lenses and move to the longer 50-200mm which has an effective EFL of 100-400mm.
First I tried a candid shot of Bangy oldies from a long distance, still they saw me.
Since the light was dull, shooting long at 200mm was not easy, many were shaken. But let me post some candid and not so candid shots of few faces.
Jeep Thrills moderators from Bangalore, Giri and Vinay
EXAMM Organizer and Chor ..cough... cough… I mean Core team member Tejas
Gogi (V-16) with big smile
Aditya (AVR), the survivor of my little caper.
Robinson, the master of Invader.
Uday Bhan Singh (UBS), the Jeep Whisperer.
Before anybody overreacts, let me explain the meaning of that term. An X Whisperer means one who can miraculously communicate with X, where X generally refers to a non-human entity that can’t communicate on its own.
Patrick, the master of many crafts.
Finally the lunch period ends and we all move on.
The views on the way.
Do you see all the houses and new building coming up in the middle of this heavenly view? Could that be a good thing? Sreeni who is a very passionate environmentalist and a regular at wildlife census efforts, had the answer. He says this is an ecological disaster. Being in the center of Western Ghats, this area should have had rich wildlife. However, humans have encroached too deep and taken over every water hole in the area. When the animals come to the water hole, they are hunted down for loitering near human habitat. At this rate Western Ghats won’t be left with any wildlife in near future.
We again run into a traffic jam. Apparently there is a tough obstacle ahead.
I get bored with the wait and decide to get down for photo duty.
Cyrus decides to catch up on the sleep his missed early morning.
While the Mahindra clan goes into a group session, Mahindra support team leader Naresh Bhosle and Behram in serious talk with Vinod who is inside the invader.
I move on, and finally see this bunch of people looking at something with serious concern. Taken at 400mm EFL.
What could it be?
To be Continued
Last edited by Samurai : 13th July 2010 at 10:46.
|13th July 2010, 11:37||#27|
Join Date: Jun 2010
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What, oh what could it be? You seem to be taking Sam lessons, or is it the other way round? Suspense is killing me.
|13th July 2010, 11:46||#28|
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Join Date: Sep 2008
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Samurai, great great write up and a super way to build the tempo.
Again, the extreme offroaders would like to thank all the participants who made this event a success.
|13th July 2010, 13:03||#30|
Join Date: May 2009
Thanked: 131 Times
@Samurai / Sharath - I don't know why you feel so bad about the descent. It looked spectacular from below Seriously - you tried something you believed in and in these situations you cannot really have a committee meeting before the obstacle to decide if it is right or wrong. The logic was correct but perhaps the wayward rock ruined the whole plan. Just let it be and come back soon for the next EXAMM/AKC.
Superb pictures and narration, absolutely brings the events and memories back to life after 3 weeks.
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