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Biggest-ever field on view

india Updated: Sep 30, 2008 00:29 IST
Sahil Sharma

The 10th edition of the annual Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya, will flag off from Shimla on October 2. With around 150 teams, the biggest field so far, in the fray, the event will culminate on October 9 in Leh.

The 250 participants will vie for titles in three categories - 80 in X-treme (for professionals), 130 in Adventure Trial (for amateurs) and 40 in the two-wheeler category.

This year's race will cover a distance of 2,400 kms and will travel through Manali, Kaza, Patseo, Kargil, Zanskar before culminating in Leh.

The eight legs will pass though some of the most unreceptive terrains of the Himalayas like the Tanglang La, the second highest motorable pass in the world, Jalori Pass, Rohtang Pass, Kunzum La and Baralacha La.

"The temperatures are dipping and the conditions are rough. The drivers will have a real task to have a steady race," said Vijay Parmar, president, Himalayas Motorsports Association.

Amongst the participants, there will be eight women including Klaudia Honeder from Austria, who will participate for the second time in the two-wheeler category.

"There was a lot of foreign interest this year. But as the race runs though military areas, getting permits and completing the paper work is time consuming. Our aim to promote Indian drivers," said Parmar.

The road filled with uncertainties, the drivers, professionals and amateurs alike, are geared up for the challenge

"My wife and I have regularly participated in the Desert Storm and Raid-de-Himalaya. This is our third year and we are hoping for a good show," said Siddhart Sahni, who will be driving a Gypsy King 2007 with his better half.