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Old 27th November 2010, 18:48   #1
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Cool Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature

When I started planning for the Somvarpet OTR 2010 event, my Jeep was yet to fix the troubles from the Sharavathy OTR event. As some of you may remember, I came back with a blown head gasket from that event. The anticipation of the next OTR is always a good motivation for getting the Jeep fixed. The local mechanic used by Sachin and I generally gives higher priority to us when there is an OTR around the corner. Therefore, I got my Jeep prepared in time for the event. Since Sachin’s Jeep was having engine trouble, he decided to get the Gypsy once again. So team Udupi was ready again for the next adventure.

Meanwhile, my cousin Nishanth planned to drive his Gurkha from Bangalore to take part in his first ever organized OTR. When my wife heard about that, she decided to hop on the Gurkha with the kids, so as to join me at Somvarpet. That got Nishanth thinking, and he decided to get his family too. Finally he brought his wife, son, mother, sister, my wife and two of my kids in the Gurkha to Somvarpet. If somebody didn’t know what a family friendly offroader is all about, this must give a clue.

Team Udupi convoy left around 2PM as planned from Manipal. We took the Karkala-Moodubidri-Bantawala-Mani-Puttur-Sulya-Madikeri-Somvarpet route. I was solo in my Jeep, Sachin had a passenger named Sachin in his Gypsy. Nishanth was planning to leave Bangalore in the evening, and eventually left by 7PM I think. Unlike us, they didn’t have to deal with multiple ghat sections.

This time I was very well prepared in the aspect of fog lighting. Therefore, I was looking forward to testing them out for real. Gods must been listening. As we hit Sampaje ghats at around 7PM, we were enveloped in thick fog. I switched on the fog lights, I could see through it clearly for 10-15 meters. I promptly switched off the head lights and drove all the way through to Madikeri in the heavy fog using the 4 Neolite 714 lights, while grinning from ear to ear.

As I embarked on this trip, I was under the impression that my Jeep is in peak condition except for the excess noise from the engine, which I was told was probably due for an overhaul. But I noticed that whenever I came to a stop and shifted to neutral, the engine was shutting off. I could start it right away, so it was never more than a minor irritant.

I was getting updates from the Gurkha once in a while. They had started behind the BangBros [Bangalore offroaders] convoy, but soon started moving ahead of them. Since the Gurkha had 3 kids and a senior citizen, they wanted to reach Somvarpet ASAP than stay in the convoy. BangBros convoy generally moves in a mysterious pace, even Rajinikanth has not been able to predict their speed, his only failure I believe. So I had relayed directions to Nishanth and he did have GPS navigation help. Since I had driven through Bangalore-Somvarpet-Bisle-Manipal a week before, I had a pretty good idea about the route from Bangalore.

We decided to break for dinner at East End Restaurant, the best non-veg restaurant in probably whole of Coorg. But they usually take their own sweet time to serve the food. Unlike us, the Gypsy passenger was not a seasoned traveller of twisty roads, so he kept throwing up along the way. He decided against having dinner and stayed in the Gypsy. While waiting for food, Sachin started telling me many ghost stories, from firsthand experience of course. That was very helpful later while covering the deserted Madikeri-Somvarpet stretch in heavy fog at night. But I also discovered that he is an automobile engineer who apprenticed in a car garage for a year, before jumping into family business. That finally explained why he always sounds 100 times more technical than me about automobiles while being in a business unrelated to automobiles.

When we left Madikeri an hour later, the fog cover had thickened. But it didn’t matter. My 4 Neolite 714s lit up the road through the fog, I again drove like it was a clear day, with my headlights off. Upon reaching Somvarpet, Sachin checked into the hotel, and I went about searching for the Homestay. I was helped by local Jeepers who were prowling about the roads. One look at the offroad prepped Jeep wandering about, they could guess my quandary. With their direction, I quickly reached the Homestay and took charge of the two rooms. Gurkha reached Somvarpet 3 hours later, and I was able to direct them turn by turn to the homestay.

Offroading Day

Next day morning Nishanth’s brother Sreenath too joined us at the homestay. Some of you might remember Sreenath from the Sakleshpur Monsoon OTR last year, I stayed with him in Sanivarsante, he was my passenger then. He is practically a local since he used to work in the area. He joined up as his brother’s passenger for the OTR today. None of the ladies and children joined us, they were planning to spend a quiet day around the homestay.

As we drove off towards the rendezvous point, I was seeing distant mountains covered with fog. It was too irresistible for the photographer in me. So I had to stop and shoot this around the bus stand.

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We continued and reached the tennis club of Somvarpet, which was the starting point. We got our registration done and received the stickers. Now we wait for the flag off.

The coastal convoy (CJ340/Gurkha/Gypsy).

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The Toyota LC which was a major eyesore among the vehicles there.

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A bird’s eye view.

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OTRs are one place where I always get to meet the usual offroading friends from all around.

Aditya from Virajpet

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Jagat Nanjappa, no intro needed.

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The indefatigable Sibi paul in a commander Jeep. Not many can pull off OTRs with LWBs.

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Bang bros… German(star_aqua), Viji, and a responsible looking Jaggu (along with wife).

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Rest of the bang bros gang.

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And then we flagged off. As I was flagged off, two locals asked me whether I had a DI engine in my Jeep. I told them it was a Peugeot engine and their eyebrows went high. Well, I got the message, my engine is indeed due for overhaul.

Once we entered the trail, we all came to a stop pretty much immediately. Somebody was stuck.

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So it was time to check out some rides around us.

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Slowly we kept crawling forward, and we finally got to see first climb. It was the white pickup truck that had failed. I recalled that pickup trucks were not supposed to be on in this OTR.

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When we saw the Jeep climbing up, we realized the hill was not that slippery.

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But can’t say that about the approach to the hill.

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And we offroaders are suckers for such muck. See us lined up like kids waiting for candy. That last Jeep (major) was another coastal guy, a friend of Sachin, he quickly attached himself to us and we became a 4 vehicle strong coastal bros or Tulu bros.

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Little later, I picked up a passenger. I ran into Shakir Ahmed with his Toyota powered MM540, and found Devaiah (dev) trying to squeeze his massive body in the rear seat. The passenger seat was occupied by a senior citizen doctor. When I declared my passenger seat was empty, he didn’t wait for another invitation. Dev jumped into my Jeep and Shakir’s Jeep got added to the coastal convoy. We 5 vehicles stuck together till the end of the event that day.

And the first climb, that was easy. It was slippery, but nothing Yoko Geo AT-S can’t handle. Then we continued on, did some tricky estate road driving. But Dev who is a local had already started guessing my tyres are pretty good. Having a passenger helps since he can take videos. Here I am crossing a light stream followed by a acute turn. I ask Dev to tell the next vehicle to take a wide turn. Listen to my engine sound.



Then we reached another stop.

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Yes, I know it looks like a flat road ahead. But the camera shot can be very deceiving about the inclination. It is a climb, but the slope on the other side was clogged with vehicles, so the marshals asked us to wait here until tell us to come forward.

A long wait starts…

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Nishanth’s Gurkha has a G-Wagen on his dash. One can always aspire.

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The other Nishanth’s Army MM550.

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Shakir Ahmed’s Toyota Hilux engine powered Jeep.

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Still waiting…

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After a long time we got to climb the incline and wait again. This time however I walked ahead to check out the obstacle that was holding us all up. Here it goes…

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To be Continued...

Last edited by Samurai : 30th November 2010 at 08:38.
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Old 27th November 2010, 19:09   #2
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The rock in the last couple photos was a rear footstep killer. Pretty much every MM540/550 broke or bent their rear footstep here. But there was one strange case, a Jeep with a lever below the footstep for opening the pintle hook. Nice design, provided you don’t offroad.

See what happened to it.

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But the real problem area was what followed next, while trying to pull out of this place.

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Now that Jeep is getting towed out.

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And vehicles kept getting stuck here…

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Finally when Nishanth’s Gurkha tried to cross, it got royally stuck. Even deploying both diff locks didn’t help.

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Finally he had to be towed out. Next was my turn, and I have no diff locks. But I hoped my Jeep’s lighter weight should help it float away lightly. And it almost did.



As I came down in 1st low, the rear slid to the left and the Jeep pointed towards the sidewall. I had to reverse and move forward again. Although I gunned the engine and sped away, I did get stuck close to where Gurkha got stuck. After the Gurkha was towed away, they had put a log to avoid the Jeeps from slipping to the left. But there was ample opportunities on the right side to get stuck as the vehicles try to get out. That is where I got stuck. I moved forward and backward couple times, but I got stuck there both times. Then I saw the marshal walking towards me with the tow rope. I felt like a street dog looking at the municipality dog catcher. I had to give one more try before getting collared. So I reversed 15ft as straight as possible and let it rip. And I got out of the muck. Hurray!

As I parked ahead and came back to capture some action, I saw Sachin had already made it. But the 4th vehicle in our convoy was not so lucky.

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Even the rescue vehicle was spinning away wheels to glory.

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Next Chandan came ahead of Shakir. He had similar experience as me. The part marked in red circle is where Gurkha got stuck, now blocked using a log.

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He could have escaped had he tried to reverse all the way back and let it rip, but he got collared before that.

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This stretch accounted for claiming most victims for the day.

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Now Dev was quite nervous, Shakir’s Toyota engine modification was never tested in offroad trails before this OTR. And this obstacle may be too much for it, if the install was not perfect. But Shakir made it through brilliantly.

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Most of the Bang bros too started crossing it without much fuss, but our 5 vehicle gang moved on. Nishanth was always in a hurry and he used always get way ahead of us. Soon we found ourselves driving next to a beautiful dreamy looking lake. A quick photography break was inevitable.

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Devaiah (Dev) is a planter from Gonikoppal (Coorg).

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A rare photograph of mine.

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And then we continued 200m further and I discovered an open area which was perfect for a lunch break. So I parked and decided to have lunch, it was almost 3PM by now.

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This decision of mine probably cost us all the final stage of the event. More about that later.

Steadily, more and more vehicles came and joined us for the lunch break.

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Some photo-shoot before the place got over run by jeeps.

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Little later the fog moved in and the entire lake got hidden. People who came later didn't believe there was a lake next to us.

Jaggu had some issue with the transfer case, so Viji and Jaggu crawled under the Gypsy.

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The road ahead was foggy and inviting.

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However, in these 30 minutes of break, the situation had changed without our notice. It had started to rain, ever so lightly, but steadily. The 4th stage, which the earlier vehicles must have crossed without a single hiccup, had suddenly turned into that stretch into 3 special stages. And we were blissfully unaware of it.

To be Continued...

Last edited by Samurai : 30th November 2010 at 08:43.
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Old 28th November 2010, 15:39   #3
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Ahh that was a really fun trip and great narration and captures Samurai san.

The transfer case mount popped out and so did both the rear shocks, we were fixing them while we had the lunch break. Next climb was where the action was till.........
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Old 28th November 2010, 15:51   #4
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... Next climb was where the action was till.........
Oh man, this was one roller coaster of a trip. I had the time of my life here . Will wait till Samu San reaches that part with his narration.
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Old 29th November 2010, 00:56   #5
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At first we all ignored it. But then the steady roar of a diesel engine drew our notice. As one by one looked towards the onward path, we saw a marshal’s jeep struggling to climb the mild incline seen in the previous shot. The Jeep kept coming back and retrying, nearly 10 times, but without changing tactics. Every time he tried to crawl up, and NDMS tyres were spinning away to glory without any gain. Finally he gave up and parked to the side. This was an unexpected turn of events since Gurkha had gone ahead without any trouble before the rain.

The track was now completely messed thanks to 30 minutes of rain and 10 crawl attempts by the marshal Jeep. At least the marshal’s multiple attempts told me something, DO NOT try to crawl up this mild incline. What about momentum? I can get into trouble going fast too, because it was very slippery, I might end up crashing out of the trail. Then I remembered how I successfully crossed the boggy paddy field in Kakkabe OTR last year. Keep the revvs high, don’t let go revvs even if the vehicle stops, keep turning the steering left and right to catch some traction. This won’t work if the incline angle is high, but in this mild incline, it might work. I figured my chances were 50:50 to cross this one at first shot.

I took off gunning the engine in 2nd low, entered the slippery slithery trail. Soon enough the Jeep was turning and twisting in every unintended direction and I kept correcting as soon as possible, oversteering, and then compensating, overcompensating, etc, etc. However, I kept the revvs fairly constant no matter what. I kept all the wheels spinning with or without traction. Then there was a problem I didn’t anticipate. Whenever the Jeep changed direction on its own, more often than not, it used to head for a tree. I had to get it back on track without losing revvs or stopping, before hitting the tree. I must have headed towards a tree at least 5 times, and by sheer stroke of luck I managed to avoid the tree just in time, every time. After about 2 minutes of high-revving ordeal, I managed to cross that crazy stretch, in first attempt.

But there is no video or photo of the effort since most hadn’t noticed it. And Dev hadn’t recorded it since he didn’t think I would cross in first attempt after seeing the earlier attempts by the marshal Jeep. However, he made it up later by recording the videos of rest of the fellows who followed. I don’t recall all the vehicles behind me, but many avoided the trail and made it through the green forest around it. Between Dev and me, we decided to stick around until a winch vehicle makes it through. It was quite possible that I may have to winch some vehicles here.

As I walked back, I saw Chandan starting his run. I quickly told him how I did it, and advised him to do the same.

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He used the same technique, almost made it, but couldn’t avoid a tree in the end. Once he stopped, no amount of revving could move him.

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The trail otherwise looks very tame, one can’t believe it caused so much trouble.



After that he had to reverse quite a bit in order to regain traction. In the next video you can see him trying to enter the forest, but then changes his mind and gets back on the trail. In the last half minute of the video you can hear my cousin who has come back and is baffled at the whole scene. They had crossed this stretch like it was tarmac. And Dev explains him how a Jeep screwed up the trail by trying to repeatedly crawl after the rain. The whole exchange is in Kannada unfortunately.



If you are still wondering how my spinning, sliding, turning, compensating drive would have looked, here is how. Robinson in his invader is coming up exactly how I did.



Waiting for a Winch vehicle to come through.

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Here is Jaggu’s attempt.



The innocent looking trail.

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Here is Viji’s attempt.



Bang bros posing for a shot while waiting for their tail enders to join up.

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Once Viji made it through, I knew we could move on. The way ahead…

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I finally know what is holding the sky up there. A really tall pole on the top of this hill.

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And our 5 vehicle convoy moves ahead. Then we ran into a very twisty turn with a very wrong banking. The spotter who was here gave us a very wrong advice, I was incredulous to say the least.

Yeah, it looks very tame in the photo, but it isn’t.

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At least they should put a spotter who knows how to drive, this fella was advising something meaningless. So I chose to ignore his advice and managed to crawl out of that place.

After a while we are alone. So we stop and wait for Sachin to catch up.

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And nobody in the front either.

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Still he doesn’t catch up. This much delay means something is wrong. So we turn around and go back only to see Sachin being rescued at the tricky turn. I don’t know what happened, maybe he listened to that marshal’s advice, and the Gypsy had half fallen out of the trail. Next we waited until all from our convoy came through. Shakir made it look too easy unlike the rest of us, his extra wide axles gave him incredibly small turning radius.

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Here you can see Dev talking to somebody. He was doing that most of the day. Business talk? Nope. He was giving running commentary of the OTR to a set of his friends. And those friends had no clue about offroading. It was funny to see him trying to educate his friends about how we were climbing the hills, or why.

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Next we came to the edge of the hill where they said climbing down is very difficult. In fact, the next stretch will be the most challenging part of the whole OTR. After the rain it has become even more dangerous, and we are welcome to turn back at this point. Not the best thing to say to offroaders, we were only intrigued.

But this place also had Airtel signal. So I quickly call Shahnawaz wondering about the status of Bang bros since they were nowhere behind us. But he tells me something totally crazy. Apparently a marshal has told them that it is getting dark and the remaining part it too dangerous and they are all supposed to go back from that slippery stretch part. Then I told him that the next part is supposedly too good, so don’t miss. But it appeared as if they had no other choice.

Meanwhile the marshal at our location confirmed via walkie-talkie that we four are the last vehicles to cover this last stretch in this stage. The Gurkha had gone ahead much before us. And we were asked to go ahead ASAP before it gets any darker.

The Diagonal Challenge

At first we had to plunge down a hill straight down over a very bumpy slope. Dev initially offered to walk down, but I insisted I needed him as ballast to give traction on the left side. I came down in 1st low, and then turned right and was stunned. I was looking at a diagonal trail.

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Now, any offroader worth his salt knows the danger of driving diagonally across a slope. Generally, we just avoid it. But the trail here was straight, but sloping against a mountain. In slippery mud, we could be moving straight as well as sideways.

A spotter comes to me and asks me to trust him completely. Going by the last spotter I encountered, that is not a very comforting thought. Earlier in the morning, I had another close call thanks to a spotter who guided me to reverse into a big ditch. Dev saw it at the last moment and made me stop.

This time however, Nishanth who had crossed before comes and tells me that the spotter is very good. So I decide to trust the spotter and start off. This spotter instantly jumps on the Jeep footstep and hangs by the right side. Then he asks me to follow his instructions without fail. And so we go… left, right, left, right..



If I keep the wheels straight, I will just slide off the hill before I reach the other side. Therefore, it was very important to keep moving right to compensate for the sliding to the left. The spotter decided how much to turn, looking at the wheel position and angle and the trail. I was driving literally blind here since I could neither see the trail nor the wheel while being in this slant position. I had to completely put my faith in the spotter here.

Rain had made the trail lot more slippery than before. I don’t know how difficult this trail was before the rain, I hope some of the early birds would enlighten us about this.

Once I crossed, I quickly came back for recording the efforts of others. Here, all the passengers were made to get off to avoid any extra weight on the left side. Spotter used to climb on the right side to add extra traction to that side by his weight. When the vehicle is in this angle, most weight will be on the left side, inducing it to topple towards the slope.

First, Sachin in his Gypsy. Spotter couldn’t climb the Gypsy since there was no foot rest on the side.

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Here is the video of the same, shows the true difficulty of the challenge. Sachin doesn’t understand Kannada, that added to the difficulty in understanding the spotter who was spotting in kannada. You can see Sachin sliding down the slope time to time.



Next was the major driven by a first time offroader.

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While waiting for Shakir, the earlier drivers are animatedly discussing the spine tingling drive.

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And then comes Shakir in his Toyota powered Jeep.

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A scary moment...

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This stretch was the most thrilling challenge of the event. And the spotter was brilliant, this was one point everyone agreed upon. Furthermore, he was the guy who discovered this stretch.

Vinay, the Spotter/Discoverer of the most thrilling challenge of Somvarpet OTR 2010. Behind, Sachin is still thinking about the drive.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214918.jpg

We all applauded the challenge and the spotter before we moved on. At the same time I was sad that the bang bros had to miss this challenge.

To be Continued…

Last edited by Samurai : 29th November 2010 at 08:50.
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Old 29th November 2010, 13:40   #6
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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
We all applauded the challenge and the spotter before we moved on. At the same time I was sad that the bang bros had to miss this challenge.

To be Continued…
Excellent report sharath.
We did not miss that challenge, it was extreme difficult and the spotter was too good.
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Old 29th November 2010, 14:29   #7
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Really nail biting stuff there sharath. Loved the way Robinson's invader and Viji's jeep did the salsa on that flat trail.

Last edited by rjstyles69 : 29th November 2010 at 14:31.
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Old 29th November 2010, 14:48   #8
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Quote:
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We all applauded the challenge and the spotter before we moved on. At the same time I was sad that the bang bros had to miss this challenge.

To be Continued…

Hi Sharath,

Your reports are really good...

By the way, we the bang bros did this part too.
The marshals did their best to stop us as it was getting dark. But we managed to convince them and drove this part.

Last edited by Samurai : 29th November 2010 at 15:13. Reason: avoid quoting the entire post.
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Old 29th November 2010, 15:29   #9
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And we moved on… through some really foggy trails through rain, until we ran into another unexpected special stage.



Where the Gurkha got stuck, it wouldn’t have been even noticed by the vehicles before us, they must have just driven through straight. But rain had created new challenges for us, there were no spotters here either, for this was not supposed to be a challenge, but it had become one.

The Gurkha got stuck at the right turn ahead of us.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214919.jpg

Closer look. Notice the fallen tree in the path.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214921.jpg

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214922.jpg

It took us some time to figure out how to tackle this one. A normal turn just didn’t work, left the vehicle skidding and spinning. The Gurkha had to reverse to the left side and then take off. But there was a fallen tree log in the way, somebody must have overrun a tree. That was making it impossible to continue. We finally had to lift that tree and threw it off the trail before the Gurkha could cross. Yeah, the trail looks lot tamer than my description, but that was the ground reality.

Once the Gurkha crossed, I started my Jeep and found it sliding off the road every time I tried to move forward. After 4-5 attempts, I found myself locked between two trees, with only 1ft of room to maneuver.

This was the strangest situation I have found myself in all my years of offroading. I don’t have a good photograph of this, I was too pre-occupied, but I have a shaky photograph from my cousin’s camera.

The trail is between the two trees, instead I had slid between the trees on the left side. At one point, I had one tree in front of the winch and another tree behind the spare tyre. Strange things this slippery mud can do.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-imgp6474.jpg

And things were about to get stranger. Now there were no strangers around us, all were drivers/passengers from our 5 vehicle convoy. Yet, there was a major argument on how to pull the Jeep out. As they were pushing me, some wanted me to go from the left, some wanted me to go from the right, and there was one guy who wanted me to run over the slim tree. And they were pushing and spotting me according to their particular advice. For a few moments, it was a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world!

Finally I stopped engine and screamed for a truce. Then I told I will decide which way to go. I decided to go right and asked everybody to push to make that happen. Now we started seeing some results, at first I didn’t really have to do anything, the Jeep was physically slided/pushed back into the road and I managed to move forward using engine power after that. At the turn, I slided again. So I reversed to the left and then took off while slightly staying out of the slippery trail. Soon other too followed using the same tactics.

What followed next was one of the scariest stretches of rocky muddy sloping trail. It was similar to the rocky trail through that ancient village in the Munnar-Kodai trail. This was scarier because of the slippery mud on the rocks and it was lightly raining too. And there were no spotters here. We all negotiated this grimly in 1st low all the way. Chances of getting stuck were very high, but all of us made it through safely. If it was uphill, I think we would have been royally stuck. No photographs of this part, there was no way I could have stopped here for photography.

Next was a long foggy trail down, I shot this photo after reaching the end of it, looking back at the slope.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214929.jpg

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214930.jpg

And then get back on the tarmac. I see the Gurkha approaching the exit to the road.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214932.jpg

And boom, it literally falls off .

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214933.jpg

And I follow suit. 1st low with NO ABC. The official spotter here was advising each driver to jam the brakes, but I felt that was not necessary in my Jeep which has 5:38 ratio. I just rolled all the way without braking.



Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-imgp6488.jpg

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-imgp6490.jpg

Next Sachin approaches the dive. His nervous passenger is watching on the right side, and he decides to spot.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214937.jpg

Sometimes it can get hilarious when a non-offroader tries to spot. Sachin’s passenger figured it is a precision operation and wanted him to adjust and re-adjust to avoid some minor nooks and crannies on at the beginning of the slope, you’ll hear that in the video. Yeah, I remember those days, when I stood and adjusted the tyres for 15 minutes (self-spotting by getting down repeatedly) before taking the plunge. But here he was confusing the hell out of Sachin. So I asked his passenger to stop spotting and asked Sachin to just roll down. And everything went fine.



Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214939.jpg

Next came Shakir, his wide track was not finding any ruts.

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214941.jpg

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214942.jpg

Somwarpet OTR 2010: Escape to Nature-p8214944.jpg



Once we all hit the road, we were told this was the end of the OTR for us. Actually we hadn’t even completed the 4th stage. There was a 5th stage too. But it was 5:45 already and the day was pretty dark already. Marshall said it was too late for us to tackle the next stage, which itself may take 2-3 hours and marshals would have left by now. Shakir and Nishanth wanted to do the next stage even without the marshals, but Dev and I convinced them otherwise. We had had a great event, especially made difficult by rain, there was no reason to spoil the experience by trying to do something foolish in the night.

So we took off towards Somvarpet, and were back in the Homestay by 7PM like dutiful husbands. Next time was party time. All of us, ladies and kids included, attended the gala dinner party at the Pioneer’s Tennis Club in the heart of Somvarpet. We had asked the organizers about bringing in family who were not part of OTR, hinting we will pay for the extra guests. But they gave a big hearted welcome to all family members for free.

Finally in the party I found out that bang bros managed to convince the marshals to let them continue. In fact, they too stopped at the exact point where we did, after hitting the tarmac. That was good to hear.

This was one heck of an OTR. One of the best I have attended. For once food was pretty good too, even the lunch pack. My kudos to the organizers for a great job done.

All the videos I have posted were shot by Dev using Shakir's camera. Almost all of the photographs are mine, except the shots where I am present, those were from Nishanth's camera.

Is the report over? Not really. The official OTR report is over, but not the trip. Next day we took the whole family to the hills, for some unplanned OTR. And you’ll get to hear about the second part of my current signature.

To be Continued…

Last edited by Samurai : 29th November 2010 at 15:33.
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Old 29th November 2010, 15:31   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sha View Post
We did not miss that challenge
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinson.s View Post
By the way, we the bang bros did this part too.
Samu is building up his story... he has only written what he knew till 'that time'... its a story guys and a as-usual-good-one from samu.
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Old 29th November 2010, 15:56   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sha View Post
Excellent report sharath.
We did not miss that challenge, it was extreme difficult and the spotter was too good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinson.s View Post
Hi Sharath,

By the way, we the bang bros did this part too.
The marshals did their best to stop us as it was getting dark. But we managed to convince them and drove this part.
Quote:
Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Samu is building up his story... he has only written what he knew till 'that time'... its a story guys and a as-usual-good-one from samu.
Yes, I did find out about it in the party that night. When I am writing the story I don't like to get ahead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Really nail biting stuff there sharath. Loved the way Robinson's invader and Viji's jeep did the salsa on that flat trail.
Pretty much everybody did that Salsa, starting with me.
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Old 29th November 2010, 17:58   #12
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Red face My personal challenge!

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Keep the revvs high, don’t let go revvs even if the vehicle stops, keep turning the steering left and right to catch some traction. This won’t work if the incline angle is high, but in this mild incline, it might work. I figured my chances were 50:50 to cross this one at first shot.
================
If you are still wondering how my spinning, sliding, turning, compensating drive would have looked, here is how. Robinson in his invader is coming up exactly how I did.

Here is Jaggu’s attempt.



The innocent looking trail.
===================

This stretch was the most thrilling challenge of the event. And the spotter was brilliant, this was one point everyone agreed upon. Furthermore, he was the guy who discovered this stretch.
Now imagine the first scenario above, doing it in a stock MPFI gyspsy. Sounds pretty easy naah?? Since it doesnt have low end growl, just plonk in first low and do a red line launch and hold on to it till you reach the summit.

Only hicup i had was the vehicle was just getting ready, and it somehow couldnt hold the revs. Start the engine and pump the throttle, engine would not rev. Give it 5 secs and slowly it will start to respond. This is the scenario everytime the engine is switched off OR switches off. I had no clue how i was gonna do the climb.

Went and placed myself with a line which will give me maximum run up in a straight line before the turn comes. I would have never reved an engine so high, but that was the only way with the set up i had. Dumped the clutch and told wifee "HOLD ON!!!". Climbed half way through and then the engine started misbehaving/vehicle goes sideways into tree's, marshals shouting around and i was Eventually engine stopped also!!!

Now the process of bringing it back to life and that too with a slipping track underneath, where the vehicle will not hold in handbrake. Did the pedal dancing and i just floored it like crazy, threw away all the instructions from marshals and after few minutes am on top of the hill!! Hooraah. It was an awesome rush, to do all this in a limp mode vehicle.

Now the second obstacle, where others were playing with throttle inputs, my vehicle would just die and then the spotter is yelling at me! Lil does he know that my vehicle is in a bad mood. It was really nerve wracking but, thank go we made it through in one piece.

Am so glad that the issue was sorted out and now that engine is a sweet rev happy one. Actually it was a sweet pot even then making really good power which saved me, only thing the throttle had a mind of its own! LOL.
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Old 30th November 2010, 07:48   #13
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Samurai San - I am ABSOLUTELY riveted by the report. I thought I'd come into this thread and see a few pics of my friends and their rides but I have spent the last 1 hour reading every word, watching every video and transporting myself to Somvarpet through the power of imagination.

Your reports are worth publishing in a magazine on a regular basis...this isn't flattery. It is easy to use big words and mind-blowing adjectives but rarely can sheer enthusiasm snarl and pop out of the pages of a written report the way it does in your case.

KA guys have ASTONISHING trails and incredible vehicles but it is the people who are the 140W oil that keeps the gears in motion. Nice to see Viji, Robinson, Khan, Jaggu, Sarath and the other old and new faces in action.

This just makes me wonder what GMC would have been like...STAGGERING!
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Old 30th November 2010, 09:40   #14
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Thanks Guru, that is a wonderful compliment you have given me. I knocked every magazine's door in vain since 3 months before I broke down and posted the report here... Just kidding!

Frankly, I prefer to publish/post in a media where I know it will be read by my friends and fellow enthusiasts rather than total strangers. I love hear feedback and counter-views about the event, terrain and techniques from fellow offroaders. That is what makes Team-BHP kind of media very appealing for me.

Wish we had met in EXAMM/AKC, we did see each other, but didn't meet.
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Old 30th November 2010, 11:30   #15
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I have a few question for the drivers at Somvarpet...

1. So did the NDMS hold it's own or is crystal clear that MT tires are the way forward?
2. On this terrain how did the AT-S tires fare compared to the MT tires? Granular feedback would be appreciated.
3. How did the vehicles equipped with diff-locks perform in slush?
4. Were there any diff-locked vehicles (Gypsy?) with AT-S tires?
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