Bopaiah Kongettira from Kodagu wins the “Off-Roader of the Year” title and a new Mahindra Thar 700 Limited Edition
Mahindra Adventure successfully concludes the Off-Roading Trophy 2018-19 with Bopaiah Kongettira from Kodagu winning the “Off-Roader of the Year” title and a new Mahindra Thar 700 Limited Edition. Held over two days (July 13-14) the Off-Roading Trophy finals put the best off-roaders from across the country in competition against each other to battle for top honors with the winner getting a brand-new Thar 700 Limited Edition. It is one of the toughest off-roading events in the country and the most rewarding.
31 winners from 10 Great Escapes across the country competed in the Off-Roading Trophy 2018-19. The event was held at Mahindra’s 4×4 track at the Mahindra Adventure Off-Road Training Academy in Igatpuri.
Continuing its legacy of being one of India’s most competitive off-road challenges, the competition featured tougher challenges this year. In keeping with the point system, each flag collected during the obstacle course translated into 10 points being added to the overall score, and each cone hit resulted in the loss of 10 points from the overall score.
The introduction of spotting points for participants and scrapping the semifinal and final format was a hit with the participants. No one is eliminated, and the competition runs for two days with everyone driving and spotting on both days over 6 specially designed obstacle courses that not only tested driving skills but also co-ordination and the ability to drive under pressure, tackling different terrain from rocks to slush and also the varied weather conditions.
The participants tackled several challenging obstacles over the course of 2 days. Starting with The Gopher Dam – an obstacle where participants had to navigate the Thar through some tricky climbs and steep descents while picking up flags and avoiding cones. This obstacle was run simultaneously with the W501 Climb named after our upcoming second-generation Thar. This 35-feet plus climb posed a big challenge to man and machine, where only the experienced and most skilled drivers could pass muster.
In the second half of the day participants once again tackled two challenges, the Di 2.0 Challenge and the SUV Challenge 2.0. The Di 2.0 had a longer drive time for participants, where they drove up slushy climbs and at the same time navigated through specifically designed pits. It was here where throttle control played an integral part in the completion of the obstacle.
But the challenge did not end here. Attempting to get the Super Flag – which holds 20 points, the drivers had to get over a challenging climb riddled with ruts. On the other side, participants were tackling the series of ruts at the SUV Challenge 2.0. The idea here was to balance the vehicle through big ruts while being smooth at the same time, to avoid unsettling the vehicle. Momentum was the key to success here. Day 1 concluded with these four obstacles.
On Day 2, the level of difficulty was taken a notch higher. The Sarpanch Challenge with its strategically placed super flag was waiting to be conquered. Tackling the steep slush pit and the undulating climb, then the rocky section, it was almost close to impossible to get the super flag. Not only that, this was the deciding obstacle for the points table – drivers who struggled and just managed to finish the obstacle moved up the ladder. This was a game changer and a decider along with the Blind Zone which was a fun yet challenging obstacle that had everything from water fording to slushy inclines and steep descents.
After two days of grueling obstacles, Bopaiah K from Kodagu, Karnataka emerged as the winner and won the first prize, a Mahindra Thar 700, followed by Vipin Varghese from Wayanad and Alan K Abraham from Ernakulam, Kerala, who finished second and third respectively. In the ladies category, once again Sapna Gurukar was crowned the winner winning the ladies class two years in a row.
The competition was judged by an eminent panel of judges from within Mahindra. The grading system was based on the flags points, completion bonus, and 5 points for vehicle preservation and safety. All obstacles had a maximum committed time in which they had to be completed and a maximum number of attempts was provided to participants for clearing them.
All vehicles for the event were provided by Mahindra Adventure and were identical in terms of specifications and tyres. To ensure parity, the participants drew lots for the starting order before every obstacle, to ensure that everyone was on the same line for the entire competition.