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Old 21st February 2011, 14:19   #16
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Default Re: 4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011

The ceremonial flag off happened yesterday at Calcutta Club. We are #14 in the starting order, however, this is not the final sequence. Sorry, no pics as I forgot to carry the camera in a hurry.

This year, there is a lot of emphasis on safety and the safety plan is now published on the organizer's website:
http://www.fcras.com/formsanddownloa...afety_Plan.pdf

The organizer's have also promised to publish the road book in a day or two, so that anyone who wants to do a recce, can proceed.
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Old 28th February 2011, 23:29   #17
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We have reached Guwahati on 27th evening. Started from Kolkata on 26th early morning at 5:30am and reached Jaipaiguri at 7pm. The road conditions are mixed. NH34 is partially broken till Malda after which the surface improves significantly. Just before entering Jaipaiguri, encountered massive traffic jam. Followed a local bus going to Jaipaiguri town and finally reached the Teesta Tourist Lodge by WB Tourism.

Next morning, started at 8:30am after breakfast. The Siliguri - Jaipaiguri road is in pathetic shape. Took the Coochbehar -Goalpara route and again, there was a long queue of trucks at the WB-Assam border. The road after the border, on the Assam side is fabulous. Thanks HVK for suggesting this route.

Finally reached Guwahati at 8pm and checked in at Hotel Rituraj on Kedar Road. All participants are booked at this hotel.

Vehicle scrutiny is tomorrow (1st Mar) from 9am onwards at the Latasil ground.

Last edited by Saurabh M : 28th February 2011 at 23:31.
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Old 28th February 2011, 23:40   #18
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Welcome to Guwahati and glad that you made it safely. The road upto Samdrup must be in top condition now as the Bhutanese PM used it just days back.
Till what time you will stay in Latasil tomorrow? I might be able to come after 3pm.
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Old 9th March 2011, 16:22   #19
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Successfully completed the 4th Indo Bhutan rally and reached Kolkata last night. Feeling very tired and resting for the whole day today. Will be joining office tomorrow.

It was a very thrilling and enjoying event for us. We finished 5th in the Adventure category. Was handed over a trophy for the 5th position. This is my first podium finish since I started rallying about a year back.

Thanks to all for your support and good wishes.

Will be posting a detailed day by day account with pics in the next couple of days, once I settle down a bit.
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Old 9th March 2011, 16:50   #20
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Default Re: 4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011

Awesome News Saurabh da - CONGRATS

do give a detailed rally-log of the entire event with pictures.

take care and where is the treat?
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Old 9th March 2011, 17:19   #21
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Saurabh Da congratulations, celebrations due? Yes I know and am still working hard to stop me from embarrassing myself at the soonest.
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Old 9th March 2011, 17:32   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet_rocker View Post
Awesome News Saurabh da - CONGRATS

do give a detailed rally-log of the entire event with pictures.

take care and where is the treat?
Will soon post a detailed log with pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Saurabh Da congratulations, celebrations due? Yes I know and am still working hard to stop me from embarrassing myself at the soonest.
Haha, no issues. Celebrations are definitely due. Was missing you this time. The route was fascinating and absolutely stunning. We went through rain, snow, very heavy fog, all after sunset and high up in the mountains. Absolutely thrilling experience.

I think the same team from Doordarshan was there this year also. If thats the case, will it be possible to get a copy of this year's coverage also? This year, ace rallyists like the legendary Mr Hari Singh and Mr Tutu Dhawan travelled with us throughout the entire rally. Mr. Vicky Chandok was present at the prize distribution ceremony.
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Old 13th March 2011, 23:59   #23
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Starting with the "rally-logue" of 2011 Indo Bhutan Rally.

As I had mentioned before, the ceremonial flagoff happened on 20th Feb at the Calcutta Club. It was a low key event and I do not have any pics either. Skipping to the start of our journey.

26th Feb
As per the itinerary, all competitors were expected to report to the rally HQ at Guwahati by 7pm of 28th Feb. Our plan was to start from Kolkata on 26th morning so that we can comfortably reach Guwahati by 27th evening and still have one day in hand to take care of any eventualities.

As planned, I left home at 4:45am on 26th and reached Ultadanga in about 15mins to pick up my navigator, Saurav Chatterjee.

He was ready and was waiting at the gates of his housing complexing. We stacked the luggage and were off to Guwahati. Time 5:20pm.

The route we had planned was to take NH34 and then drive as much as possible and stop for night halt either at Jalpaiguri, or better still, at Alipurduar or Coochbehar. We did not plan to enter Siliguri as it would be a wastage of time.

Early morning meant virtually empty roads. The sky was yet to light up. In no time, we had crossed Barasat and onwards towards Chakda. By this time, the soft morning light started to peep in. Some of our fellow competitors have also started and we called each other to find out, how far they have proceeded. Soon we reached Krishnanagar and it was time for a quick cup of tea and breakfast.

Car# 31 (Baleno) driven by Subhankur Saha (Nav : Ashoke Basu) has already reached before us and after a quick chat, we started off again. The road conditions are pretty good and we were making quick progress. The road condition started deteriorating as we were approaching Behrampur. About 20-30kms stretch are in poor conditions, with potholes around everywhere. We took a bypass road, thus avoiding the local traffic of Behrampore and were soon out of the town and on to better roads. Around Kaliachak, we stopped for another tea break. The usual traffic jam at Kaliachak, was fortunately very light and we did not waste much time there.

My Esteem (the Dancing Devil) was in top shape. She had been in the workshop for more than a couple of months and have come out as an absolute scorcher. It was sheer fun blasting along the highway.

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-002-large.jpg

We reached Malda town by 1pm and stopped for lunch at the Malda Tourist Lodge. After a good break of about 45mins, we hit the road again. Beyond Malda, the road conditions improved significantly and by the time we reached Dalkhola, it was around 4pm. Wasted about 25mins waiting at the level crossing at Dalkhola and then we hit the 4 lane highway, leading to Siliguri. At Kishanganj, we stopped at a roadside dhaba and had some tea. It was gradually getting dark and we decided that we wont be doing much of night driving, and stay at Jalpaiguri for the night. Around 77kms from Kishanganj, we took a right turn and left the highway. This road would take us towards Phasideoa, via Ghoshpukur and lead us to the Phulbari bypass.

Phulbari bypass was in pathetic shape and there were hardly any roads left. This nightmare continued for around 15kms and then we were back on the highway, leading towards Jalpaiguri. We checked in at the Jalpaiguri tourist lodge, freshened up, had a quick dinner and retired for the day.
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Old 17th March 2011, 11:54   #24
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27th Feb
After having a heavy breakfast at the tourist lodge, we left for Guwahati. It was 8am. We have not even proceeded 10kms, and my rear left tyre had a puncture. Stopped for the tyre replacement, and then we were off again. We have one of the competitors, Vikash Toshniwal, from Coochbehar and he has invited us to stop by, on our way. We reached Coochbehar at 10am and spent about an hour at his farm house. He is competing this time in a Gypsy and it was getting the final touches. Vikash would be leaving the next day and reach Guwahati by 28th evening.

From Coochbehar, till the WB/Assam border, the roads are in pathetic shape. Even with a raised car and hard suspension, I managed to bottom it thrice. The sump guard saved the car from any damage. It was an absolute nightmare to negotiate the enormous potholes and the lines of trucks. We eventually left the main highway and took a village road and came out on the Assam side of the traffic jam. The short journey through the village road, reminded us that we were passing through the heart of Bodoland. There were individuals present on the road in small groups, carrying rifles, looking at us suspiciously. At one point, we were stopped and questioned about our motive, for almost 15mins. Kept our cool, answered all queries patiently and were let go.

Once we came out on to the highway again, on the Assam side, the roads turned fantastic, absolute silk top. We stopped at North Salmara for lunch at a dhaba on the roadside. From here on, we took the Goalpara route and soaked in the vistas along the highway, painting a pretty picture of rural Lower Assam. Absolutely picture perfect.

We finally reached Guwahati at 6pm and checked into Hotel Rituraj. This is where all the participants have been booked.

28th Feb
There is not much of work today. Paid a visit to the Kamakshya temple in the morning and had a very nice darshan. The temple complex has transformed from the last time, when I had last visited in 2001. Its very neat and well organized.

After lunch, took the car for a checkup by our service team, as the next day, we have the vehicle scrutiny and I did not want any issues coming up at the last moment. Wanted to be doubly sure that the Dancing Devil was in perfect shape, after this 1100kms journey from Kolkata. Things turned out to be ok. Got the 4-point seat belts adjusted and after an usual round of checkups, we were back at the hotel.

In the evening, I was picked up by one of my very close friends from college, who has now settled in Guwahati. Spent the rest of the evening with him and his little daughter was in no mood to bid me goodbye. So, stayed overnight and returned to the hotel the next morning.

Coming up, 1st March - vehicle scrutiny.
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Old 18th March 2011, 10:56   #25
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1st Mar
The vehicle scrutiny is scheduled for today. All participants were advised to report by 9am at the Latasil ground, adjacent to the Guwahati High Court. We reached there around 9am by which some of the cars have already arrived, while the rest were trickling in. It was quite warm and dusty out there. We reported to the officials and our documents were verified. This followed with the verification of the medical kit.

A Clean Devil waiting patiently
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-001-large.jpg

We broke for breakfast as it was announced that the vehicle scrutiny will start after that. Before heading for the puri-aludam-sweets desk at the pavilion, we collected the stickers from the officials.

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-003-large.jpg

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-004-large.jpg

After a quick break, we got down in getting the car all stickered up.

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-005-large.jpg

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-006-large.jpg

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-007-large.jpg

The gypsy of Vikash Toshniwal who hosted us at Coochbehar
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-014-large.jpg

While we were at it, there was a small din among the participants. Lifted my head and saw the Legendary Mr. Hari Singh getting down from a Pajero. He was present there on behalf of the title sponsors, JK Tyre. He is probably managing their Motorsports division. Later we came to know that he will be travelling with us for the entire rally route, till the end at Thimpu. It was a very good feeling to have such a legend, a six times National Rally Champion, among us. While we were getting the cars ready for scrutiny, we took a walk and glanced at all the cars around.

Scrutiny in progress
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-008-large.jpg

Some meaty rubber
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-009-large.jpg

Car #21, driven by Soumya Jati with Navigator Chandan Sen
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-011-large.jpg

Car #24, driven by Subir Dutta with Navigator Ashoke Bhattacharya
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-012-large.jpg

Here's a low down on the rally categories this year. This time, the participants were given the option to either participate in the Extreme or the Adventure category. The Extreme category will have Competitive Sections where your running time is your penalty, interspersed with TSD zones and Transport Sections. For the Adventure category, it would be Rally Zones which would be run in TSD format and Transport Sections. The route would remain the same for both Extreme and Adventure. The Extreme cars would have a numbering system starting from 1 and will be flagged off first. There will be a 30mins gap between the last Extreme car to be flagged off and the first Adventure car. The numbering for the Adventure category starts from 21.

Got the Dancing Devil all stickered up and lined it for the inspection.

The Devil waiting patiently in queue
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-013-large.jpg


With a lunch break in between, the scrutiny finally got over by 2pm for us. Headed back to the hotel, took a bath and slept for a couple of hours.

In the evening, we had a small briefing followed by dinner, at Hotel Brahmaputra, where we were handed over rally apparels (Caps and T-Shirts). Excitment has started building up and the next day, we are starting off for the 4 days gruelling event.

Returned to the hotel and retired for the day. Had a very disturbed sleep.
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Old 18th March 2011, 11:22   #26
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Superb Report Saurabh da. keep them coming.

How many participants were there? i can see one A-star - did it have Roll-cage and mandatory safety kit for the rally?
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Old 18th March 2011, 11:48   #27
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There were 2 Hyundai Tucsons (new models), 1 A-Star, 1 Chevy Spark and 1 UVA from Bhutan. None of them had roll-cages as it was not mandatory for Adventure category.

I think one of the Tucson was Automatic as well. Imagine rallying with an Automatic car

In all, there were 28 participants (Extreme and Adventure combined).

Last edited by Saurabh M : 18th March 2011 at 11:50.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 14:15   #28
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2nd Mar - Leg 1 - Guwahati - Samdrup Jhonkar

The alarm went off at 5am. We are expected to report to the flag-off venue by 6:30am. The rally will be flagged off from the Latasil ground, the same place, where the vehicle scrutiny took place. We had completed our packing the previous night, so, woke up and quickly got ready. Checked out of the hotel and gave the car a quick wash.

By 6:30am, we reached the venue. The Extreme cars would be flagged off first, with the first car starting at 7am. There will be a 30mins gap before the first Adventure car starts. We reported to the officials and our start time was 8:46am.

Tension had been building up. This is the second time that I am participating in this rally. Last year, I was there to get a feel of things and this year, I will be trying my best to do better. Wanted to give an honest fight, but have been out of touch for some time, after the accident in the last rally (Kaviguru Rally-2010). Since then, the car has been rebuilt, I have a new navigator and a lot would depend on how the car behaves and my understanding with my navigator. Overall, it was a mixed feeling.

My friend had come down to wish me luck. I bid him goodbye, put on my helmet, fastened the seat belts and the engine roared to life. Soon we lined up for start and as the countdown started, I was desperately trying to calm myself down. The tulip was handed over 1 min before flag off and while my navigator started entering data in the calculator, I started signing the TCB on all the pages. This is to reduce time loss at the TC, where the marshall will not have to wait for us to sign the TCB.

3..2..1 and off we went. The initial few kms were within the city with an average speed of 25kmph. Rally zone started from Rajiv Chowk as we turned left. Within 3kms, we came across the first TC. Hit it on time and moved on. Today, the route will take us mostly around Assam, through tarmac, dirt tracks, broken roads and river beds.

We were doing pretty good till disaster struck just before TC9, at the end of the 2nd Transport sector. Based on our calculations, we were running 9mins advance. Since we did not want to reach a TC so much before hand, we stopped on the side of the road and decided to give the car some rest. While my navigator smoked a cigarette, I took out the camera and clicked a few shots.

4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-015-large.jpg

While we were there, the car behind us came, and moved on. After a while, so did the next one. Tension started mounting as to what was going on. A couple of quick checks at the calculations and it was revealed that there was a mistake.

And that too a huge one!! We are actually 8mins late. Blasted off from there. The TC was just round the corner. We hit the TC and was 7.5mins late!!!!

This is a major major mistake that can happen in a TSD rally. 7.5mins would amount to 450 penalty points. I kept my cool and prevented myself from blasting my navigator. Under these situations, keeping your cool will prevent you from making more mistakes.

The last stretch of the day was a river bed section. Took the stretch fast but carefully, just to ensure that we do not miss the route, dont waste unnecessary time in wheel spins in the loose gravel and sand and eventually get the car stuck somewhere. The Dancing Devil The rest of the day was uneventful. The Dancing Devil behaved perfectly, holding onto the ground with ease and we completed this stretch with a good timing.

Before entering Samdrup Jhonkar, the road conditions turned pretty bad and this is the point, where the rear left shocker failed. There was loud thud sound coming from the rear on every irregularity of the road but since we were almost at the end of the leg, did not bother much.

Crossed the gate at the entrance to Bhutan and parked the car at the main ground, about 1km from the gate. The leg has come to an end. We reported back to the officials and were allocated hotels.

Cars lined up at the Parc Ferme. Car# 25 driven by Sudip (Joydeb) Ghosh and Navigator - Soumen Mondal. Car #7 driven by Saptarshi Saha and navigator Indranil Dutta
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-017-large.jpg

The Devil taking a well deserved rest after a nice wash
4th Indo-Bhutan Friendship Car Rally - 2011-picture-018-large.jpg


As we settled down for the day, it was time for the results of the day to be out. We were expecting the worst and so it was. We have completed the day with 690 penalty points and were at a dismal 8th position. Dejected, we had dinner and retired for the day.

The service team took over the car at night and replaced the damaged rear shocker.

Leg 2 will be a new fight to climb to upper ranks.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 15:07   #29
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Saurav C is quite regular in the rally scene - i guess this was his first rally as a Navigator?? Why didn't he participate himself as a driver?

7.5 minutes delay? what were your guys smoking? a wrong data feed?

were you running on CMC shockers?

How come it is dancing devil? harder shockers? waiting for more updates Saurabh da.

take care

Last edited by planet_rocker : 23rd March 2011 at 15:08.
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Old 23rd March 2011, 17:47   #30
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You are right @Planet. SC is a veteran in rallying but he has been a driver throughout. He has been a navigator off late in some of the local rallies, but this was his first big one as a navigator. He has sold his car as it had almost completed its life. Is probably planning to prepare another Esteem in the next few months. Till then, he will probably be navigating.

We must have been smoking something to commit this kind of error. It was a wrong data feed that was the culprit and eventually, it did cost us dearly.

I am running on CMS shockers that are made by Joydeb-da. With limited "Vit-M", I cannot invest in better ones like Koni, J Anand, Tien or DMS. Moreover, since I am relatively new in this arena, I wanted to see the full potential of the CMS shockers before going for an upgrade. There are no limits to mods, you know

Last edited by Saurabh M : 23rd March 2011 at 17:49.
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