A bike with four wheels! That’s what kept the crowd baffled as the All Terrain Vehicles descended on a dry riverbed on the outskirts of Jaipur.
Extreme riding conditions — rain, deep ruts, tall grass, narrow tracks and slush — made India’s first Polaris ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) Challenge one of the most challenging events held in the desert state.
As riders veered full-throttle through the hazardous terrain, people thronged the tracks more to check the machines than enjoy the slides and glides of the quad bikes.
Even the marshals and the organisers — Western Motorsports — had a tough time keeping the tracks clear of curious onlookers. The start and finish points almost resembled a carnival. Even heavy rain could not dampen their spirits.
At the end of 70-odd km of rut, drains, slush, sharp bends and stretches of waterlogged tracks, 47-year-old Rusy Kolhi emerged winner in the open category driving his Polaris Sportsman 800cc Twin vehicle. He was followed by Naushad who revelled in the extreme conditions on his Polaris 6x6 Big Boss. Anjali Sharma, the first ATV woman rally rider, was placed third on her Polaris 500cc Scrambler.
In the below 500cc category, Ashish Bahl in his TGB 400cc Target crossed the finished line ahead of Indraneel Das in a Polaris 200cc Phoenix.
Experienced Raj Singh Rathore — India’s first ATV rallyist — could not start the second leg after his machine developed a snag.
Since it was the first ATV rally in the country, there was another first that could not be ignored. Deepa Malik, a physically challenged rider, braved all odds to complete a distance of four km on an ATV.
“We had to start somewhere,” explained Kohli, the managing director of Trans-Asia Distribution that deals with Polaris in India. “Though it was a modest start, we are happy the participants enjoyed their rides.”
“It was a fascinating experience,” said Bahl, who topped the below 500cc category. “Considering it was my first rally, it was a perfect start.”