Night off-roading with Jeep, Thar & other cars in Kolkata

We were told in the safety briefing that the jeeps were to lead the way, followed by the Fortuner, which was trailed by the Dusters, and the Endeavour brought up the rear.

BHPian DogNDamsel12 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Well! In daylight, this would be just another 'regular' OTR that some of us - BHPians - would have joined Kolkata Offroaders on.

Only if I could say it with pictures alone:

This was by design not meant to be a day offroad, rather one that was supposed to be happening after sunset, which was interesting from the word go!

Having driven on the Boinchi terrain a few times over the last year, I have seen that each time and each season that we went back, the terrain changed in colour, texture, and the position of the undulations. So, from the very moment, the OTR was announced, I had a queasy feeling considering that after sundown, there would be no lights barring the headlights of the vehicles, and no other sensation barring the wheels modulating on the completely uneven topography.

The plan was put together in a short span of time by Uday Bhan Singh Sir's group and with a limited number of people who have some prior offroading experience with Kolkata Offroaders (KO).

We met at the Boinchi grounds at 4 PM. There was a lineup, with the marshals leading the way for a recce which was of utmost importance for a feat like this one.

The Recce

With a balmy February weekend having received light rainfalls, the sandy Boinchi grounds were damp, with the traction altering between hard ground and brittle sand formations that easily caved in under the tyres. The shifty sands made the obstacles tricky and required a little more from the driver in terms of understanding acceleration and traction.

Also, those familiar with the ground conditions would know that the flora is ridden with stubborn, thorny shrubs that can really feel on the undercarriage, though would not really harm it much beyond a few lacerations.

The Safety Gears

A night OTR means more safety gears, headlamps, D-shackles, tow chains, and hooks. It also means checking and knowing the position of the winches on each vehicle, powerful LED torches for spotting, adequate ground recce, and marshal jackets.

The Safety Briefing

  • The jeeps were to lead the way, followed by the Fortuner, which was trailed by the Dusters, and the Endeavour brought up the rear.
  • Each car was to watch out for the trailing vehicle through the rearview mirrors, and if the rear vehicle happened to trail behind, she was supposed to signal the car in front by flashing the dippers.
  • The marshals/spotters (senior members of the team) were meant to wear a reflector jacket at all times.
  • The vehicles were to be driven really slowly to avoid stomping on any unsuspecting animal (primarily reptiles).
  • Talking of reptiles, people were asked to get out of the car only when signaled for safety. The cars were to rev the engines, so that the vibrations from the machine may drive away anything before one could hop out for spotting etc.
  • We had already been pre-instructed to wear something covering the legs, so as to keep mosquitoes and reptiles at bay.

Continue reading about DogNDamsel12's night off-roading experience for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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