An Israeli soldier and two Germans are among the rallyists in the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, one of the world's toughest off-road motor rallies that will take-off from here Oct 5, organisers said Friday.
Amir Yardenay, the Israeli rallyist, will be riding a Royal Enfield, while Martin Eitdorf and Jurgen Konnecke, the two oldest Raid competitors from Germany, will be at the wheels of a 35-year-old classic Mercedes Benz 350 SLC. The car has been brought from Stuttgart in Germany.
"Old cars, new adventures," said 53-year-olds Eitdorf and Konnecke, competing in the Raid Adventure category.
The six-day off-road event will culminate in the picturesque resort town of Manali Oct 10, after crossing some of the most remote mountain passes in Ladakh and the Zanskar range in Jammu and Kashmir.
Yardenay said: "Competing at the Raid has been my dream since 2010. Sometimes I couldn't arrange the funds, other times it didn't work out. And this summer when I was supposed to be here, I had to delay my flight thrice because I was on war duty, my normal life stripped away, feeling every day that I might die."
On the other hand, Eitdorf and Konnecke said: "We are always looking for like-minded people for affordable motorsport, adventure travel and international understanding."
The rallyists will cover nearly 1,650 km in six days, according to an organiser.
A total 50 competitors are competing in Rally Moto (motorcycles and quads) category, 41 teams feature in Rally Xtreme (4X4) and 51 teams in Rally Adventure.
Each team in the Xtreme (4X4) category and the adventure category comprises of a driver and a navigator.
In the high speed Xtreme, four women rallyists will be driving this year, the highest number in Xtreme category ever at the Raid.
They are Anu Rana of Delhi with navigator Khyati Modi of Mumbai, Vaneeta Kang and navigator Gagandeep Kaur, both of Chandigarh; Shuchi Thakur of Mumbai with navigator Zuzer Rangwala and Captain Madhvi Singh of Team Army with navigator Lt. Col. H.S. Katoch. All these competitors are driving Maruti Gypsies.
The rallyists will drive on the jagged terrain along Chandra river to some of the highest terrains above Kaza in Himachal Pradesh.
In the latter half, the rallyists will descend from the slippery Baralacha La (4,890 m above sea level) and take the road from Darcha to Shingo La near Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Raid-de-Himalaya is one of the two Indian motorsport events listed on the off-road rally calendar of international automobile and motorbike federations -- FIA and FIM. Only 12 international motoring events worldwide are listed in this calendar.