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Old 8th February 2011, 12:00   #1
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After having conferred with various other TBHP members, it was more or less established that I was probably the only one from Team-BHP who would be present for the Ahmedabad chapter of the Blind Manís Car Rally.
Earlier on I had requested a friend (who is part of the organising team) that since this was my first time, I wanted to just ride with someone and cover the event rather than actually participate as a driver. There were two reasons for this:
1. The organisers had hinted at an off tarmac stretch in the route. I was immediately put on a back foot as my ride may not be able to take it in its stride. (This was also confirmed during the event more on which later)
2. I have been an ardent fan of TBHP but having been a passive member for so long, I really wanted to put in my two pence of contribution.

The friend had advised me to meet a fellow BHPian Damanthakore who would be there as part of the organising team. On meeting him, I was told that I would be riding slingshot with Devesh. Introductions were made and I found that Devesh was here from Mumbai and was representing Autocar India.

We got on with the task of posting stickers on our ride for the day, a gleaming BMW X5! We were introduced to our navigator Mr. Ketan Vaghela, a practicing physiotherapist. He had quite a stature and was fluent in English, Hindi and Gujarati. He was, I realised, a bit stumped upon knowing that he was going to be associated with the media (Autocar India).

Our ride for the day:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0263.jpg

The venue:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0266.jpg

The Navigator:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0267.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0270.jpg

Other team members:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0268.jpg
Attachment 497985

After all preparations and a short photography stint, we were lined up for the flag off. Ours was car no.6. The trip meter was set to zero. I noticed that one car had an all women team as well. There were about a 100 participants give or take but sadly as against the case in Mumbai no TBHP participants (well none that I know of) .

The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0269.jpg

The all women's team being flagged off:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0279.jpg

The flag offs started precisely at 0800 hrs as scheduled. Just a few minutes before the flag off, we were handed over our kit comprising of the navigation details (in Braille), bottles of Maaza and water and snack packs. Our navigator Ketan immediately set upon the task of the day and the preliminary instructions were passed on to Devesh. My job for the rest of the day would be to jot down the waypoints as directed by Ketan and pass them on to Devesh. Malhar, a photographer on behalf of Autocar India, would accompany us on a Thunderbird. This set upon me an additional task of navigating him as well whenever he lost sight of us.

Our route begins:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0280.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0282.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0276.jpg

Last edited by Technocrat : 10th February 2011 at 02:50. Reason: Merged Pics into first post as requested, thanks
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Old 8th February 2011, 13:56   #2
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Default The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter

Looks like my first post pictures didnt turn up right. Mods pls assist I have even sent a feedback using the "Contact Us" form.

Getting back to the topic..


After a brief stint on tarmac, we were soon led to a dirt track. I thanked my lucky stars that I did not opt to take my car as I soon realised that had I taken my beau along, she would have definitely shed some of her underpinnings along the way.
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0283.jpg


Enroute, we come across a Marshal Point and stop. It was only when the marshal signed on the second row of the check sheet that we realised we had missed the first one. 30 penalty points gained. We thought back and realised that we did see two cars stopped along the way but ridiculed that they had probably stopped for directions. Pity we didnít realise that it was a Marshal Pt.

The route took us through a myriad of stretches comprising of broken tarmac, smooth highways, dirt tracks, fields and some more. In fact the third Marshal Pt happened to be at a Heritage sight (Sarkhej Roza) where we had a brief pit stop for tea and refreshments. ( I know ďPit StopĒ is not the right word here but feel good about using it) The guidelines said it was mandatory for the participants to actually visit the monument.

The third Marshal Pt:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0284.jpg

Sarkhej Roza:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0287.jpg

The scenic track along the Narmada Canal:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0300.jpg

At times the track was so narrow that we scraped our car with the thorned bushes and shambles:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0289.jpg

Leaving the Marshal Pt, our route led us on to the highway where the X5 got to stretch her legs. Barring the navigator Ketan, we were all first timers and we had decided to stick to the average speed chart given us. Little did we know that the broken tarmac and dirt tracks would put us off completely and toss our calculations like spaghetti? This warranted that we garner speed whenever possible to cover up for lost time. But woe betide us, the speed cost us dearly as we missed a junction and had to turn back. 1 km lost and a few more penalty points gained. Nevertheless, this was turning out to be a very rewarding experience. At times, our route would have us circling back to the same spot and we would be thrilled to notice other cars still tracing our original route. But Ketan wisely pointed out that though they were late and behind us, they would still manage to get ahead points wise if they had not missed any Marshal Pts.
By this time, our photographer Malhar had lost us (due to a technical mishap in his ride). I was set with the added task of providing directions for him over the phone. What was really funny was that I would tell him where we had reached, he would ask me where we were headed for and I would say I had no clue! On more than one occasion we were traversing fields and I was at an absolute loss as to what landmark should I offer.

What landmark do I offer here?
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0291.jpg

All said and done, Malhar did manage to catch up with us finally and the route progressed.

Malhar caught up with us for a Photosession:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0303.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0304.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0305.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0311.jpg

Making use of the sunroof:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0306.jpg
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0314.jpg

Towards the fag end of our journey, our check sheet declared we had already missed two Marshal Pts out of six (60 penaly points gained) and there was one more to go before we hit the end. Moreover we had overshot the distance by 3.6 kms. And then, we were completely thrown off. Searching for the Marshal Pt (mind you, marshal pts are not described in the route nor are their number & locations published) we even deviated from our route, circled back to a former waypoint and stopped for a breather. The check sheet said marshall pt 7 was forthcoming and Pt 8 was the end. What we didnít know is that simply because there were 8 columns did not mean there would be eight Marshal Pts. So in effect we were hunting for a non-existent Marshal Pt. (We discovered this after we had finished the rally and were discussing with another team.) Finally we decided to give it a pass (we were anyways on the bottom tier with our penalty points) and head for the finish.
We had covered little over 83 kms as against the actual 74.6 km route in about 3 hrs and 45 mins. What surprised us was the fact that we were the second car to have arrived in spite of being the 6th car to have been flagged off and despite the various wanderings we had incurred! What were sure of though, was that there was no possible way we could even dream of being in the top ten!

Some more pics:
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0296.jpg

All in all it was a Sunday well spent. What a truly exhilarating experience and all for a cause. Couldnít get any better could it? I may be getting sentimental and I am sure each one had their own valid reasons for not being there, but absence of fellow TBHPians was a letdown in more ways than one. Especially in light of the fact that 50% of the participants in the Mumbai chapter were TBHPians.
One marked difference between the Ahmedabad and Mumbai chapters was the route. The Mumbai circuit is more or less city roads whereas the Ahmedabad circuit is a heady mix of urban and rural landscapes. May I suggest that fellow TBHPians from Mumbai drive down to Ahmedabad next year for this event (time and schedules permitting). This would give them a better experience and I am sure it would also attract morť TBHPians from in and around Ahmedabad.
Attached Thumbnails
The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0288.jpg  

The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter-dscn0292.jpg  

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Old 8th February 2011, 17:07   #3
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Default Re: The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter

Nice report. But you were the only member present?

C'mon Gujarat BHPians! Over 50% of the Mumbai event's participants were BHPians (Linky (Report & Pics : The Blind Man Car Rally, 6th February 2011)).
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Old 8th February 2011, 17:14   #4
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Default Re: The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter

GTO,

I agree with you. Guj BHPians should have participated, but unfortunately this year other commitments had taken over that weekend. In fact we too participated last year. There were about 5 to 6 all women team & my wife and her sisters were the winners in the all women category

@arethusa excellent pics and report. btw, was the X5 customer car or showroom car? I think Parsoli Motors (BMW DEALER) was one of the main sponsors of the event. Sorry if i missed reading about the X5 in above posts.

And I was also referring to Daman Thakore when i told you about a bhpian who is on the organizing team. Sorry I couldn't reply to your msg then.

Last edited by h@r$h@l : 8th February 2011 at 17:16.
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Old 8th February 2011, 17:17   #5
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Default Re: The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter

Hey Sachin,

Missed this one as had some family commitments but count me in for next year. Would love to experience and be part of something like this.

Cheers,
Adi
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Old 8th February 2011, 17:58   #6
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Default Re: The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by h@r$h@l View Post

@arethusa excellent pics and report. btw, was the X5 customer car or showroom car? I think Parsoli Motors (BMW DEALER) was one of the main sponsors of the event. Sorry if i missed reading about the X5 in above posts.
Thanks for the compliments. Your compliments coupled with GTO's are again the first compliments I have received on TBHP

Yes the X5 was sponsored by Parsoli. Imagine, they had 8 cars in last year's event! Given the kind of route and the abuse that the X5 was subjected to, its not too difficult to guess why they reduced the number this year.

PS: Just noticed that my status too has graduated from Newbie to "BHPIAN"

Last edited by arethusa : 8th February 2011 at 17:59. Reason: Additional comment
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Old 9th February 2011, 10:36   #7
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Hai Sachin,

Great job of reporting and participation. Congrats this is a great first effort.

As I told you, I had a meet fixed through AVR at Ankleswar chasing an MM550, no way I could have cancelled that. I am sure you made lots of efforts to connect with TBHPn's at Ahmedabad, may be we'd all do it together next year.

--Ramky
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 9th February 2011 at 10:38.
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Old 10th February 2011, 18:34   #8
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@arethusa - Great Report. How many Kms was this off road stretch? I wonder why this was introduced in the Ahmedabad leg In Mumbai with the route following tarmac roads more than 50% of the participants missed a couple of checkpoints.
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:31   #9
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Default Re: The Blind Man's Car Rally - Ahmedabad Chapter

@amitwlele
thanks buddy.

Quote:
We had covered little over 83 kms as against the actual 74.6 km route in about 3 hrs and 45 mins. What surprised us was the fact that we were the second car to have arrived in spite of being the 6th car to have been flagged off and despite the various wanderings we had incurred! What were sure of though, was that there was no possible way we could even dream of being in the top ten!
As in my second post, the actual route distance was supposed to be 74.6kms. The checkpoints were missed by quite a few but I guess we took the cake!
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