Force Gurkha RFC India 2014 kicks off at Goa
The maiden edition of the Force Gurkha Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India was launched yesterday from the International Centre Goa in Dona Paula.
With 25 competitor teams from all over India, the six-day event will be filled with nail biting moments and courageous efforts by the competitors.
Comprising of a driver and a co-driver, each team will navigate through multiple offroad obstacles or special stages from South to North Goa, wherein competitors will face pouring skies and unforeseen challenges.
The first day of the event saw competitors line up their vehicles for scrutiny by an expert panel. The scrutiny was to check if all the vehicles complied with RFC International safety standards and was followed by a briefing for the teams.
Members of various off-road clubs and touring adventurers from across the country also assembled in Goa to witness this historic moment when India comes on the RFC Global Series Map.
Mr. Luis J A Wee, Founder and Creator of the Rainforest Challenge, who was also present at the launch said, "This is the maiden event in India and I am humbled to be in the midst of so many off-road enthusiasts. This event is my child. RFC going international was a milestone for us and now it coming to India is another one. I pray that the passion for this sport only grows and we see an even bigger crowd next year. For the love of off-roading, let the event begin!"
With the temperamental heavens, the challenge for competitors has just started. The prologue special stages, starting from tomorrow, will be held around the International Centre Goa and will give onlookers a chance to admire the modified 4x4 vehicles.
After two days of tackling the 12 Prologue SS, the teams will venture into Jungle Camp I where they will have to fend for themselves while adhering to the stringent guidelines of the environment charter that has been instituted by the event organizers.
Any violation of the environment charter or harm to the beautiful flora and fauna of Goa will incur penalties and can also lead to disqualification of the team by the environmental steward.
The 6 Predator SS will test the competitors' driving and recovery skills in rugged terrain, while the unrelenting rain and slush will prove a hindrance as the teams make their way to Jungle Camp II. With the rain constantly changing terrain, competitors will have to think quick as they manoeuvre the SS in the terminator stage. The journey will culminate in the Thriller in the Twilight Zone with an expedition through uncharted territory.
Competitors from varied backgrounds and age groups are congregating under the Force Gurkha RFC India banner to express their passion for the sport.
The extreme nature of this event hasn't stopped off-road enthusiasts from participating in the event.
Mr. Ramessh Bellaram Ahuja is an enthusiastic 59 year old off-roader. His age has never been a deterrent to the things he has pursued in life. Then there is Mr. Guhan Shetty, a 43 year old off-road veteran who has been indulging in the sport for over 20 years now.
The event has garnered tremendous support from various off-roading communities across India; with Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh and Bangalore Offroad Development Association (BODA) sending four teams each for the motorsport extravaganza.
The motorsport event also has a special category of touring adventurers who will get to travel on the RFC India route and experience all the thrill and adventure but will not be competing in any of the Special Stages. Around 35 touring adventurer teams have registered for the event this year. Combined with the competitor teams, the tally of the 4X4 modified vehicles on display during the Force Gurkha RFC India 2014 is around 60.
Speaking about the phenomenal response received, Mr. Ashish Gupta, Founder and Director, Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd., the company responsible for introducing RFC in India, said, "We are overwhelmed by the response we have received for the launch edition. Many off-road clubs have come forward to support us and participate in the event. It shows how close-knit the Indian off-roading community is and how it is gradually growing. It is an extreme motorsport and we have stuck to RFC international standards while designing this course. Participants will have to battle blinding rain, rough terrain along with various other obstacles and fight it out in the Special Stages to win the title of 'best off-road team'."
The team with the least penalties and best overall time will win the event and will get an automatic entry in the RFC mother event to be held in Malaysia in November. The 'Team Spirit Award' will be given to an individual competitor based on leadership and teamwork skills. The 'Jungleman Award' will be given to the participant who shows exceptional driving and recovery skills. The 'Environment Award' will be given to a team or individual who preserves the environment. Touring adventurers will receive special awards too.
Speaking on the association, Mr. Prasan Firodia, Managing Director, Force Motors, Title sponsor for the event said, "This is the ideal opportunity to see the country's best off-roaders in action and interact with them. I wish all the participants all the best for a week of extreme off-roading action, the like of which has not been seen in the country till now."
(Posted on 09-08-2014)