Team-BHP > 4x4 & Off-Roading > 4x4 Excursions

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Old 5th November 2009, 21:50   #16
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wow that surely is extreme offroading
congrats to sanjay and raghav
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Old 6th November 2009, 08:03   #17
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Congrats guys, you made india proud and put us on the map.

And Thanks Shaun for inviting us to the event. It is a pleasure learning from you.

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Old 6th November 2009, 10:26   #18
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sorry guys, the attachment failed to load last time. here's it.

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Old 6th November 2009, 12:34   #19
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Default Upgrade and vehicle options

Octane overdose,
Thanks for the pics though you have pasted them twice:-)) That LC with 33 inch tyres looks mean. But iam told other vehicles were much much better and this was a plain and simple machine

This makes me wonder how far are we interms of availability of options and affordability compared to a smaller country like srilanka? We desperately need options, and stuff to improve our good enough 4wd vehicles here in India.

In terms of driving skills these guys have proved we are almost there
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Old 6th November 2009, 15:30   #20
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sorry guys, my connections so slow... and the hyperlinks didnt work either.

anyways great photos like these can be seen again and again and again.

Im sure you all will agree (and pardon my repost)

Old 6th November 2009, 17:23   #21
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Congratulations, flanker.r and Sanjay.
You made us Chennai BHPians proud!
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Old 7th November 2009, 21:02   #22
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Congradulations to both Sanjay David & Raghav R.
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Old 8th November 2009, 10:35   #23
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Thanks so much everybody.

It was indeed an amazing experience. There was heavy downpour by the time we reached Sean’s amazing workshop on Oct 28th at 8:00 PM. Sean specializes in 4X4 vehicles. Suspension and axle conversions, engine swaps and Turbo charging of naturally aspirated vehicles, Winches, weight reduction techniques, custom fabricated specialty Off road components are areas he has gained expertise in. Passionately he explained to me the modifications carried out on each vehicle that was present in his workshop. It was here I also saw a Unimog Sean had acquired for himself and another Unimog portal axle which would find its way into Darshan (Sean’s co-driver for the Palar) vehicle soon.

Sean showed us the Land Cruiser we would be driving. There was something nice I felt about it as it was the same colour as my jeep. This was not only our vehicle for the competition but also our home for the next four days. The vehicle was pretty stock other than the tires as Sean has already mentioned. Sanjay was quick to check out the vehicle’s revebility and familiarized himself with the instrumentation and layout while I was busy checking out the tools, winch equipment, spare wheels, ‘D’ shackles, snatch blocks, tree savers, etc in the kit Sean had provided. Each one was nicely stowed away and secured properly. Kudos to Sean for the meticulous detail in which the vehicle had been equipped

It was here, Sanjay and me met Sean’s friend Prashan – ‘old fox’ as we call him affectionately. Prashan is a walking encyclopedia on Off-roading- the rare kind you get to see these days- the kind of person who has acquired knowledge by actually doing it on the field, time and again, on different vehicles and different terrain- recorded and analyzed every bit of it. In the next hour he gave us a few tips and techniques that proved invaluable through the event and whose lessons we would never forget. It was disappointing to know that he would not be competing as his gearbox could not be fixed that night. The Ceylon Parotta he offered us was delicious.

Next we fuelled and set out to Putlam, nearly 160 kms away from Colombo. On arriving and setting up camp we were informed that the first SS (Special Stage) would be held at 1:00 PM. Sanjay did a fantastic drive through the slush and I had a hard time navigating as it was pitch dark in the jungle and was easy to get lost and lose time.

We camped for the night in our tiny tent and headed to the Wilpatta forests in the morning. What a sight and what terrain. We were escorted by armed soldiers of the Srilankan Navy as Wilpptta had been under LTTE control for almost 20 years. Infact we were informed that we were the first non-locals to visit the place in 60 years. It was fun camping in the dense forest amidst elephants with nothing other than goose neck lamps to keep them away.

During the course of the day, we did the Special Stages. Each one was drafted with such ingenuity that it tested the skills of man, machine and their interaction to the extreme. We were spellbound by the variety of terrain that was offered during the course of the event. Water crossing, clay, slush, mud (in which Sanjay was the undisputed king), red sand, jungles were all present and course drafted in a manner which was self limiting in its own nature.

As a co driver my experience was amazing. Learnt winching techniques, knots, safety aspects and navigation. Although I am quite fit thanks to my regular running, tennis sessions and of course the kind of work I do everyday nothing prepared me for level of fitness the event demanded and it realized it in the first day. I had to carry the anchor rope, D shackles, snatch block, winch cable as Sanjay was reeling it out. After about 5 metres, you realize something was not right. The steel rope gets so heavy that you can barely hold it above the ground. What I had to do was carry all this across a flowing river (and its level was rising and a flash flood warning was issued) almost 25 M wide and wade through shoulder high water, reach the other bank, throw the things I was carrying on the bank, climb onto the bank through the slushy mud almost 5 feet high, tie the tree saver around a 4 feet wide tree, 7 feet above the ground, walk back across the river with the winch rope after securing it to the snatch block and fix it back to the vehicle and guide Sanjay as he winched himself out. I can’t remember having done anything so exhausting in my life for years now and it is not that I am a software engineer or someone in a white collar job. Being a mechanic I am used to physical exhaustion while removing engines and separating gearboxes but what I experienced there is unprecedented. Guys, being a co driver is tough. In another instance, I dropped a shackle into flowing water and had to literally put my head into the flowing river to take it out, else there was no way out vehicle would have got out of the obstacle.

Sanjay was an amazing driver and showed to other competitors that a driver is not a celebrity and we exhibited what team work was on numerous occasions. He would get down from the vehicle and analyse the situation first hand. We would have quick discussions and Sanjay would help save time by anchoring things at the vehicle end while I winched the rope or carried the other devices to the other end. This was how we saved a lot of time. On the 3rd day we observed that a lot of teams started following our style and drivers started getting out of their vehicles.

We approached obstacles sensibly. One of the most important pre-requisites in off roading is instilling in us respect for the terrain and understanding the capabilities of the vehicle. The terrain was so majestic that we held it in such high respect from the time we arrived and it helped us in not over estimating ourselves and making stupid mistakes which would have cost us dearly. The vehicle was another story though. It was stock and was not as well equipped as the rest of the competition. Even the treads in the tires were worn out. Also, Sanjay was driving it for the first time. The learning curve was steep but our basics were so strong that we were able to pull it off.

We also realized that our MM 540, CJ3B and gypsy were excellent vehicles after all. Maybe we will do the Taprobana challenge next year in a MM550 on which I am working in my workshop right now. Again nothing fancy, just blue print the engine, maybe turbo-charge it and we’ll see how it fares. People who are learning off roading on Mahindras and Gypsys- this is the way to go. These are very capable machines and it was only because we had ground our axe on these machines that we were appreciated on numerous occasions about our skills. As our dear ‘Old fox’ said, ‘Technology has replaced skills in our drivers and it is so refreshing to see you guys show our top drivers what skill is all about’. Dare I say that I was even telling Sanjay that obstacles that Land cruisers and Land Rovers were struggling I thought my petrol 3B could clear and he nodded in agreement.

The Taprobana challenge was a great experience. The event was excellent, people were very friendly and I am sure it would remain as an experience of a life time for me and one of the best OTRs in my life. Thanks Sean, Darshan, Rushi, Prashan and others. On this side of the Adams bridge I thank Sanjay (who convinced me to make the trip), Kaushik, Arka (ex670c) who has been extremely supportive and gave us valuable tips before the event), Headers, Petrolhead, nitrous, fieryenzyme, hotrod and others who were very supportive.

Last but not the least we thank Jeep thrills and its members. It was here we learnt off roading and our performance in the Taprobana International challenge bears testimony to the lessons learnt on our various OTRs.

Apologies for the late reply- had to leave for the TED conference happening at Mysore as soon as I arrived in India and did not find the time to post a detailed report.

Your comments and feedback are welcome. Here are the pics...


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Old 8th November 2009, 11:04   #24
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Sorry, a small correction. The first SS was held at 1:00 AM. It was a night SS and gave us a hint of things we would encounter for the next 4 days
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Old 8th November 2009, 11:09   #25
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Originally Posted by flanker.r View Post
...It was indeed an amazing experience. There was heavy downpour by the time ...

As a co driver my experience was amazing. Learnt winching techniques, knots, safety aspects and navigation. ...


Reading your post made me feel like attending the event through your eyes. Could feel the goose bumps.

Too good a post and just loved the narration & pictures. I can only imagine what a special feeling & experience that you have had.

We also realized that our MM 540, CJ3B and gypsy were excellent vehicles after all. ...
Yeah, if worked on a bit, the MM's & Gypsy's are formidable off-roaders and up there with the best.
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Old 8th November 2009, 11:12   #26
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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
Yeah, if worked on a bit, the MM's & Gypsy's are formidable off-roaders and up there with the best.
Shanawaz your Spidey is well suited for this terrain just little bit of modification you can participate next year.
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Old 8th November 2009, 15:14   #27
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Sanjay and Ragav ,You have made Teambhpian proud (chennai Tbhpian Too)

Congrats and i would like to learn the off roading soon
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Old 8th November 2009, 17:48   #28
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Good write up Raghav, You guys have made India Proud!

More pics of the SS would give us some idea of the stages!

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Old 9th November 2009, 02:21   #29
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Sweet Jesus!!! I'm .

That was some sweet terrain and Vehicles.

Oh man. You guys have really proved your mettle and I'm super duper impressed.

Kudos guys!!

Deep Respect!
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Old 9th November 2009, 02:54   #30
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Holy cow !!!!

awsome 'some .... you made it fellas


The write up is excellent
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