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|16th July 2010, 23:28||#46|
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|18th July 2010, 01:53||#48|
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This one turned to be a steep climb which was pretty challenging. Even Dewang was taking multiple attempts to tame this one, that made me pause and I started watching how different vehicles were overcoming this hill.
The spotter appears to be saying, ďBad doggy! Sit down and put your paws on the topÖĒ Ugh, may be not.
He got pretty close this time, but had to back out.
Then I see the Green beauty from Hyderabad go for it.
And it makes it to the top impressively. Ok, I donít know whether that was a repeat attempt since I just arrived.
Then I see the Gorkha go for it. Is that a typo for Gurkha? At one time I thought so. But then I learnt that this vehicle isnít the Gurkha. It is one of the earlier short chassis Tempo Trax Town & Country which had an option of FRB hard top. Check this link: Bajaj Tempo - Trax - Town & Country (donít miss the prices)
So the owner must have named it Gorkha to differentiate it from Gurkha, which has diff locks.
So there goes the Gorkha, while Dewang follows quite closely. Soon people learnt not to follow the Gorkha that closely.
For Gorkha came back the same wayÖ However, Dewang managed to avoid him and become the good doggy.
Gorkha goes againÖ and runs out of steam at the top.
Meanwhile, UBS and rest are watching the fun with amusement at the entry point.
Meanwhile, another petrol jeep from hyderabadmakes it to the top.
By now I had watched quite a few attempts in every kind of vehicle on this hill. That also gave me an understanding of this hill obstacle. Once again I was impressed, because this was another very technical challenge. But with a difference. It didnít favour any particular kind of vehicle. The only thing that would get you over this hill was driver skill. Any 4WD could climb this hill, but the driver had to understand the terrain, plan his attack and execute it to perfection. Very few made it in first attempt. Some, who did it in first attempt, had watched a few attempts to decide their strategy. Those who didnít read the terrain and adapt, failed to do it after repeated attempts.
The run-up to the hill was not smooth. There were two approaches to attack the hill. The first one was straight, but had natural culverts that made the vehicle bounce wildly, killing the momentum. The second one had no culvert, but a slight turn was required before the final surge, which again killed the speed for most. So pure momentum based attack was ruled out.
Now letís look at the second part of the climb, where the incline rises steeply. To be fair, it had decent traction. If you could supply constant torque while maintaining a steady speed for 3-4 seconds, you can complete the climb. If you can get the front tyres on the top, you are home free. Same canít be said about cross-axle, I saw people not making it after getting just one tyre on the top.
So, whatís the trick? Good question. There is no specific trick. The driver had to know his vehicle well and select the right gear and right throttle level to pull it off. Too much throttle, the tyre will overcome the traction and spin. Too little throttle, the vehicle will stall just before the top. Therefore, each driver had to find that sweet spot in his vehicle to reach the top.
Vinay is briefing a driver at the entrance of the challenge
Then there were spotters on the top giving last mile (meter) instructions to
drivers who are about to make it.
Since I was at the middle point doing photography, eventually I took up the role of mid-point spotter. For the record, Tejas had long before asked some of us middle aged passengers to take up spotting roles wherever needed. Some people might respect the age the listen to instructions, you never know. But one couldnít stand at this position, I had to keep running around to get out of the way of growling vehicles coming up the hill. I also ran to the driver after each failure, telling them what went wrong, warn them about rocks behind the vehicles as they reversed, etc. It was fun, and good exercise.
Some vehicles with massive torque went flying up the hill with very little run-up. This one is Robinsonís Invader.
But other times, there were long stints of failures where no vehicle got closer
to the top. That made the spotters on the top get into various meditative positions to kill the time.
Finally Thar with HT tyres puts itís paw into the fray, with Vinay, Arka & UBS watching from the sidelines.
Before that, one more attempt by the GorkhaÖ
Finally Thar takes off from the first approach, bounces on the culvert violently, loses speed and fails. I could have shot the bouncing part if my camera had not gone into auto-sleep. And it couldnít take off from the mid-point either thanks to HT tyres. So Behram started reversing, and despite some of us screaming rock, he reverses the Thar into a huge rock and sits on it.
Now what? Generally this is the time to bring out the Hi-Lift jacks or sheer muscle power to move the vehicle off the rock. I even showed the above photograph to Behram from the camera preview. Then Behram does something unexpected. He puts on the test engineer hat and decides to push the envelope. He continues to reverse on the rock as we watch in horror. If the driver was anybody else, he would have been target of every possible curse word. But this is the guy who designed this vehicle, so we just watched the Thar walk over the rock and rock finally emerged from the front.
Rock comes out spinning after being manhandled by Thar. No, it is not a shaken frame, notice the grass.
This was one of those moments where we had witnessed the wild and resilient nature of Thar.
Before we could get over the moment, the Thar took off again. By this time, Behram had the measure of the hill and Thar climbed the hill with least trouble.
Then the invader from Mahindra team does it in style
Vijiís MM540 too does it without any sweat.
By this time, Gorkha was doing dozens of attempts without any results. Since I was very ignorant about the gear ratios of this unusual vehicle, it was hard to make right suggestions. I made him try in every sensible gear and it used to run out of juice just before the top. If throttle canít be maintained, there was no hope to cross this hill. I feel he should have volunteered to go around the hill and not made others wait when he did so many attempts. But he had taken the hill challenge to the heart and was unwilling to give up even after 15-20 attempts, actually I think everybody lost count after a while. Behram who was watching the repeated attempts, finally offered to drive it. First we deflated the tyres massively. Behram gives a demo of the rajastani technique of phat-phat dhum-dhum deflation.
At first Behram managed to put one paw on the top.
In the next attempt, Behram gets it on the top
The Gorkha driver was making a classic mistake of relaxing the throttle at the top every time. Many, who did this, saw the same result in their vehicles. Behram managed to understand the vehicle within few minutes and managed to retain constant throttle all the way and took it over the top.
Meanwhile, UBSís petrol Jeep was struggling to get up despite in-Jeep instructions from Arka.
Mohanís Gurkha climbs the hill like a pro.
Next comes Adityaís Jeep, but driven by Vinay Thomas this time. Vinay who had watched repeated attempts, knew the trick. They make it in one shot.
Patrickís classic too makes in couple of attempts.
Now the Legend from Mahindra team entered the fray.
And clears in one shot.
Even the other yellow Mahindra team vehicle does it one attempt, I donít have photograph. Lots of credit to them.
But UBSís jeep is still unsuccessful, here you can see Mahindra service team leader Naresh Bhosle giving some advice to the young driver.
To Be Continued...
|18th July 2010, 01:57||#49|
Join Date: Jan 2005
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And Arka’s Jeep driven by Bala is also having lot of trouble making it. Bala gets a mouthful from Arka for making his Jeep look bad.
Finally, Arka decides to take over UBS’s Jeep. Considering every other petrol Jeep climbed this hill quite effortlessly, it had to be driver in-experience in this case. No reason to think UBS would bring a less than capable Jeep to the event from Kolkatta.
Then Arka does something I don’t think anybody did here. He starts off from stand-still from the last 6-7ft of the hill and reaches the top. Too bad there were very few witnesses to see what a petrol Jeep can do in the right hands.
Finally, Arka’s jeep too makes it up. Sreeni was the last Jeep to try this hill. He tried each approach only once, after that he took the roundabout way and avoided the hill. It was getting late and these two were the last Jeeps to leave the scene. Arka started driving Sreeni’s Jeep while I sat in the rear. Bala was driving Arka’s Jeep behind us.
After a while we noticed a person walking along the deserted trail. At first we doubted it could be an EXAMM participant, everybody must be way ahead of us by now. Hard to believe anybody could be left behind. When we got close, he turned around with obviously a great relief on his face. It was UBS!
Our Jeep was full, so he got on to Arka’s, the very last Jeep on the trail.
As we continued on the long ride, twilight was setting in. Wish I had my tripod, but OTRs are not tripod friendly, so I didn’t have it. If I did, I could have done a better job than these shaky and noisy images.
Apparently there was a huge mudfest near the lake that we completely missed. By the time we reached the others, it was dark and people had lined up for a night challenge. It was a sickle shaped approach where the blade part is an incline with a clay type mud. If you go in crawling, it will do you in for sure. If you have mud terrain tyres, you might manage to escape on your own, rest have to be winched up. Sorry, no more photographs as the darkness fell completely upon us.
Frankly, I don’t like night OTRs. In fact, I hate to drive on-road at nights. I do either of them out of necessity rather than choice. Night offroad/highway driving amplifies the normal risk factors greatly by reducing visibility. As a cautious driver I find that additional handicap to be unnecessary and avoid it if possible. It is quite risky for the spotter/walker too, can’t see where we are stepping, there could be ditches, snakes, etc. You could fall off a cliff and nobody will notice. Medical help too is difficult to get at night.
Right, since this terrain was practically invisible, it was important to tell every vehicle what to expect. So I went to pretty much every vehicle explaining the terrain ahead and advising them how to deal with it. After that I ran up the challenge and reached the next obstacle.
Here was a long and very narrow estate trail which had deep ditches on the left and elevated ground on the right. That means every vehicle had to stick to the right to avoid the left side ditches. That means, the vehicles would be travelling with 25-30 degree tilt to the left. Regular offroaders can deal with that, but it can be very scary to newbies. I remember screaming all the way in a long 30 degree side tilted drive at Choma Kunda. So all the spotters were asking drivers to get down and see the trail before trying it. But darkness was not too helpful. So I too went along passing this message to Jeeps in the rear.
And I meet Aditya again, who is visibly nervous to try this tilting terrain in the night. Arka’s sees his nervousness and asks me to take over. Aditya is visibly relieved and agrees, but he doesn’t get on the passenger seat for this trip. He is a quick learner, he didn’t want to be in tilting Jeep again with me in control. Anyway, this was mostly an uphill climb, slowly crawling in 1st low. There were roots or stones at one point where I was held up for a minute and then I pulled into clear and handed over the Jeep back. And I also extracted a promised from Aditya that he will drive his Jeep in the next OTR in every obstacle.
By now I couldn't see any vehicle in front. So I decided to run the trail until I find the vehicles, I didn't want to be left behind in the dark. But my torch was in Sreeni's Jeep along with my bag. It was very hard to see the trail in the dark. So I asked Aditya to stay behind me and I ran using his headlights. The entire day had been so wonderfully pleasant, I was hardly feeling any tiredness. After few minutes I was able to catchup with the convoy and found Sreeni's Jeep.
That was the end of OTR challenges, but the challenge to get out of the terrain was still in front of us. None of us knew the way out, people were heard loudly calling for apostle Mathew to rescue us. Some said the exit was blocked by locals, etc. Finally by around 9:15AM, we resumed and came out the trail and reached the Amby Valley road at 10PM.
Another 45 minutes later, we were at the morning’s rendezvous point. That was the end of EXAMM Day One.
Thus ended one of the most wonderful day of OTR. The terrain was superb. The views were fantastic. The challenges were very technical, and it felt very good to be there and witness the vehicles overcome them with different tactics. My heartfelt congratulations to the EXAMM core committee for pulling this off so wonderfully despite numerous difficulties.
Here there was a huge debate about what to do, etc. None of us knew the way to AKC location near Karjat and nobody thought we could reach there before 1-2AM. Sreeni decided he wanted to go to Lonavala and have dinner at Hotel Ramakrishna. So that’s what we did.
As we were having dinner at Ramakrishna, our number started swelling. Soon we had 25-30 people having dinner and wondering about their next plan. I had told Kunal long back that I will be staying in Lonavala, so I had no confusion. I was planning to take a taxi next day to AKC, since I am a passenger, I wouldn’t be holding up anyone. But others had damaged vehicles and repairs before the next OTR. Some were too tired for another long trip in the night. Some were not sure about the facilities due to overcrowding, etc. By 12AM, pretty much everybody came to the same conclusion. We are staying. The EXAMM core committee, after listening to the popular vote, decided to stay put. Most moved into Hotel Cosset which was in front of Hotel Ramakrishna. Since that hotel owner too was a participant, everybody got a big discount for the night.
To be continued…
Last edited by Samurai : 18th July 2010 at 09:08.
|18th July 2010, 13:26||#52|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked: 626 Times
Thanks Spike, MDI 3200 engine is the reason I had decided against buying it after a test drive in the Khandivali plant back in 2006. This vehicle was sold on invitation only as you know and only 60 had rolled out to mark Mahindra's 60 years.
Last edited by fazalaliadil : 18th July 2010 at 13:27.
|18th July 2010, 21:57||#53|
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Dear sharath - reversing over the rock was a concious decision as the ground below it was soggy and soft so it absorbed the shock and protected the vehicle.
|18th July 2010, 22:16||#54|
Join Date: May 2004
Thanked: 8,858 Times
Samusan the jeep that UBS brought was a diesel IIRC Petrol's wouldn't struggle on that incline.
Last edited by Jaggu : 18th July 2010 at 22:17.
|19th July 2010, 13:24||#55|
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Join Date: May 2005
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Sharath, both the black Willy's from Hyderabad and UBS's Jeep were not petrol but diesel. The only petrols i am aware of were, Soumya's (Genesis) CJ3B, Deepak's (DKG) CJ3B and my CJ3B. Discussing and taking tips from Vinay, Arka and UBS before taking on this climb, helped me take this in one try but again i missed getting pics here on this tricky climb. Hope someone had pics!!
|19th July 2010, 13:31||#56|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Last edited by The Wolf : 19th July 2010 at 13:36.
|19th July 2010, 17:07||#58|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Navi Mumbai
Thanked: 7 Times
My memebrship with TBHP was not approved during Examm and AKC nor did i know any member during these events so was not able to attend, which i regret till date. But your report makes me feel that i am actually their right now. Any appreciation to your writting skills and photography would be less. A fantastic Report. Please keep it comming.
Hopefully i will be their for the next Examm and AKC.
|19th July 2010, 19:50||#59|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN 01
Thanked: 23 Times
@Samurai - Arka's jeep was the only Jeep to do the first obstacle three times. It was the first jeep to do it in one shot two times out of three. The first time Arka was driving it. The second time I was driving it. The third time it had to be winched out because Latiff put it in a impossible angle.
Boss you can't make that jeep look bad.
The mouthful was not because I did not get it up on the first attempt. It was because I did not use the correct stall and reverse method. With the kind of training I get I shoudn't have made that mistake.
No Chennai Jeeper will scold another because he made them look bad. We don't try to look good. We don't have to.
Last edited by fiery enzyme : 19th July 2010 at 19:58.
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|19th July 2010, 21:37||#60|
Join Date: May 2004
Thanked: 8,858 Times
EDIT: Just noticed your post Fiery! i think you are getting excited for the wrong reason regarding my remark of petrol's. All i meant was such a climb for a petrol CJ3B is much easier, thanks to the nature of power delivery, short chassis and weight advantage. Even in hands of a learner's licence like me, the petrol jeep has performed flawless. Am sure Arka, DB etc can explain this in technical terms.
Last edited by Jaggu : 19th July 2010 at 21:46.
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