The Manabhum Off-Roaders Club of Arunachal displayed great tactical acumen and skillful driving to successfully defend their JK Tyre Orange 4X4 Fury title here late on Sunday night.
Kerala’s 4X4 Beats and Delhi’s NIOC finished second and third respectively while the pre-event favourites, BODA of Bengaluru, fell by the wayside to finish fourth.
Held in the backdrop of the famous Orange Festival of Adventure and Music, the off-roading event tested the skills of the four-member teams made up of two cars each in a challenging high-tech format. Perhaps for the first time in India, each car was fitted with a transponder and a GPS navigator, allowing the organisers to go completely virtual; it meant that there was no need for marshals to man the controls during the stages.
The event which pitted man against nature, saw the competitors negotiate gruelling obstacles, artificial and natural in the tricky terrains of Arunachal. They even had to manoeuvre past rock fills, elephant grass, shallow water and thick forests before attacking the river bed at night.
The MOCA team, which incidentally is made up of cousins, was led by drivers Aditya Mei and Chow Ujjal Namshum and guided by co-drivers Chow Sujeewan Choutang and Chow Ingpemg Mein. They made full use of their knowledge about the place and drove with great precision, yet without compromising on aggression to finish with a total time of 6:47.50 hours including penalty to win it for the second time on their home turf.
The 4X4 Beats powered by Athul Thomas (co-driver Siraj) and Muhammed Shefin (with Kalam Kutty) also came out all guns blazing but eventually had to settle for the runners-up spot with 7:30.12 hours. The NIOC 1 team of Pradeep Kumar & Harinder Singh, co-driven by Gajender Singh & Harmanpreet Singh Gill, battled their way to the last place on the podium with a total time of 8:25.26 hours.
The competitors later joined in the celebration at the Music Festival where the winners were felicitated in a grand function.