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Motorsport event recap: 2018 Rainforest Challenge India

What is the best way to see an SUV in action? Mud-plugging in a dense forest, bang in the middle of the monsoon of course...

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Incessant rains. Verdant forest. Lush greenery all around. Angry black clouds threatening to unleash their fury anytime. Mighty 4x4 machines juxtaposed in the backdrop of small mountains. So what place comes to your mind with the above description? Somewhere in North East India? The Himalayas? How surprised would you be if I told you that the place is Goa? Yes, this is how Goa looks during the monsoon. It is a scenic place and the rainy season just brings out so much greenery that you will go green. Goa is not about just beaches and as I found out, the place is beautiful in the monsoon season, which has some stunning scenery to offer. It also offers a perfect setting for conducting an off-road event, which had caught the attention of Cougar Motorsport - the organisers seven years ago. Welcome to the Rainforest Challenge India 2018 season 5, which I had the privilege to cover when I was working at evo India. Yes, we are taking a trip down memory lane. What better time to do this than now?

What is the RFC, you ask? In a nutshell, it is a very tough off-roading event. It all started in 1997 when one of the world’s most demanding 4×4 extreme off-road events was launched in Malaysia. Like all motorsport events, it is also a test of man and machine - particularly the endurance of both in unforgiving conditions. The participants and their machines have to brave heavy rainfall, slush, mud, steep slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers, and landslides that are demanding and dangerous. Competitors have to complete the course set by the organisers in a stipulated time to gain maximum points.

Onward and upward!

Onward and upward!

RFC India is part of the RFC Global Series that includes events in Italy, Russia, The Balkans, Poland, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Tunisia, China & Australia. The inaugural RFC India took place in 2014, also in Goa. Coming to the 2018 edition of RFC India, there were 26 special stages spread out in eight days, and a total of 38 teams from all over India took part in the event. All the stages were to be completed in 15 minutes with a maximum of 100 points for each stage. The 26 stages were divided into four categories – Prologue (1-12), Predator (13-18), Terminator (19-22), and Twilight (23-26). There were a total of five categories – up to 1610cc petrol or diesel, 1611cc to 3010cc petrol, 1611cc to 3010cc diesel, above 3010cc petrol and above 3010cc diesel. The fastest team to complete the stage would be awarded 100 points, the second-fastest would get 95 points, and so on.

Sssmokin...!!!

Sssmokin...!!!

Teams lost points when the co-driver jumped over a live wire while winching if the vehicle knocks pegs and tears down buntings. Points were also deducted if they dropped any of their off-road equipment on the track and failed to pick it up. If teams fail to finish the stage within the stipulated time, they get a DNF. After eight days, Jagat Nanjappa and Chethan Chengappa (V5 Offroaders) were crowned winners of the 2018 RFC India. Mervyn Lim and Alex Tan from Manabhum Offroaders Club of Arunachal (MOCA) were the first runners up, while Gurmeet and Kirpal from Gerrari Offroaders were second runners up. Here is the event in pictures and videos. Enjoy!

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Fording rivers were part of the challenge

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That looks effortless but it is the skill of the driver and the might of the machine in play

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That is one steep slope!

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Down we go!

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That's how you scale a vertical wall of rocks and mush

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Slow and steady...

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That's one way to get down...

What is your favorite off-roading event? Comment below!

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