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Old 3rd March 2011, 20:16   #16
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Default Re: Desert Storm 2011 – Marshal Law

...and I thought it were only the Leh threads. My first 5 star rating to any thread!
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Old 3rd March 2011, 22:07   #17
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Thanks for the rating friends! The story continues...

After SS2 the officials were split in two groups and assigned to alternate stages. We were fast-forwarded to Barmer so that we can setup SS4 while other half manages SS3 and thereafter gets enough time to reach Jaisalmer for SS5 setup, and so on. I must confess that I was impressed by the planning behind Desert Storm, administrative as well as technical.

Leg 3, SS4 – Mad Max

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Don’t know why Max turned insane, or for that matter, who is Max anyway! Could be competitors or officials – mad enough to put themselves through all this, madder still to do it time and again. The villagers where we were posted for SS4 wondered the same as they gathered to watch roaring gypsies go past their farms. Nonetheless, they accepted our madness with warmth and kept feeding us tea, buttermilk, roti, sabzi, and also questions.



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It was a night stage and went on till 2330hrs.


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Our group was just a couple of hours away from the next halt at Phalodi. Just as we were looking forward to few hours of sleep at the much famed Lal Niwas Haveli, someone came up with a bright idea – to make tea - in the desert, by the roadside. I guess people had become habitual of not sleeping that they chose to defer sleep for some more time.

The portable stoves seemed to be brewing up Birbal ki khichdi instead of water!

Reluctantly the convoy moved on and reached Phalodi at 0400hrs.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 22:24   #18
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Leg 4, SS6 – Thar Express
We started moving in position for SS6 while SS5-Bad Max was still ongoing. Storm arrived as soon as we had finished setup. Only, it was a real-time sandstorm.

Our TC and the next one were responsible for barricading traffic from either side. It was quite a handful of a task and pouring rain only made matters worse. Most of the people weren’t lured into staying put to witness one of ‘the biggest rallies in India’. With t-shirts, candies and other goodies we managed to inspire one local man to volunteer for us. That helped for some time, but soon we had to allow controlled traffic movement after ensuring clearance from previous TCs.

In the meantime such extreme action was underway...

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splashing through sand

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raising ghosts from sand

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as if sand was coming out from the exhaust

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we had to pick up flags numerous times

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A lot of negative camber

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To imagine that one fellow managed most of the track without headlights

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locals hadn’t seen this thing before

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sand trails

We were about 12kms ahead of the previous hop. There were quite a few crisscrossing tracks to confuse the vehicles. A punctured car and a bike with broken headlights took a long while to reach us. The biker had exceeded MPL by the time he reached us. The long sandy ride in darkness had taken its toll on him, yet he was requesting to continue. There was no way that he could’ve made the final 4kms even if there was time. Considering his condition the sweeping convoy decided to escort him till Bikaner. He was so dazed that ultimately he was put in a car and an official rode his bike to the hotel.

We were exhausted as well, as we had been since six days. This time we were assured of long hours of sleep, before the final ‘Sting’. The convoy wasn’t going anywhere till 1400hrs the next day.
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Old 4th March 2011, 08:52   #19
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Default Re: Desert Storm 2011 – Marshal Law

Reading through this report gives me the feeling that I was actually on the desert.
Thanks Nitin, you have documented it well, stage-wise.
Waiting to hear about the 'final sting'.
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Old 4th March 2011, 22:45   #20
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Default Re: Desert Storm 2011 – Marshal Law

Awesome pics and writeup Nitin!!

The Live action caught in your shutter makes me feel m almost there.

PS: Is that your better half pulling up her socks?

Last edited by lsp : 4th March 2011 at 22:47.
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Old 5th March 2011, 01:45   #21
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This thread makes me log in everyday without fail and check for updates. Awesome!!
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Old 5th March 2011, 14:13   #22
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Default Re: Desert Storm 2011 – Marshal Law

Nitin you need to complete this yaar!

Lovely pic of Gypsy with bent diff.
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Old 5th March 2011, 16:04   #23
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Part 7 – SS-9 The Sting
Of all the stage names, this one was the most fitting to its nature. After a week full of nonstop action and another day of twisting through loose sand (SS7-Twister and SS8-Twister Redux), a final stage of sandy struggle well past midnight, is bound to sting.
Chanting “almost there,” we took position at FZ. Watching the extremes approach us, slower than the trolleys loaded with hay felt like an ill-timed mockery. They shook it off as soon as they crossed us and were rushing through huge pits that had been dug out to create roads. This was a recent development. One pit was so deep that the rally had to be re-routed a bit.
SS9 was a difficult stage and a record number of vehicles were lost or stuck, or both, just as they entered. Official vehicles gone to rescue them almost got stuck too. By the time the stage was over, the track had deteriorated badly and the officials sweeping through the stage had to go through a really rough time.
At daybreak we were on the way to Neem-Ka Thana the final RG point for the rally. Unlike most roads in Rajasthan the SHs leading to the place were badly bumpy. To make matters worse there was unexpected dense fog as if it was peak winters.
Adventure, in one form or another didn’t leave us till the flag-in.

In all we were in 5 out the 9 stages and each stage had its own challenges. A truly adventurous and a "testing our limits" experience.

Last few shots for the road


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Good contrast against the colours of Kutch!


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Notice the front right tyre. This quad drove most of the stage on this!

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A competitor stranded in the background

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Balancing act!
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Old 5th March 2011, 16:05   #24
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Thanks lsp! Yes, that her!

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Originally Posted by lsp View Post

PS: Is that your better half pulling up her socks?
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Old 5th March 2011, 16:27   #25
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Default Re: Desert Storm 2011 – Marshal Law

A video of a biker in the Rann of Kutch! (in HD)

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