The 19th Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally, organised by Sportscraft in Navi Mumbai on July 6, has attracted leading riders from Mumbai and its neighboring cities, like Pune, Nashik and Kholapur.
Leading the challenge is defending champion Manjit Singh Bassan, who has won the event four times. However, riders like twice champion Shamin Khan, Rustom Patel, another former champion, Kunal Rao and Nilesh Thakre should make his quest for another crown difficult. All these are seasoned campaigners and know the backwoods of Navi Mumbai well enough to spring a surprise.
Also see: Bassan reigns in the rain
Also bracing for the tough challenge is Vinod Rawat, a physically disabled rider, who has a Jaipur foot.
Twenty-five riders have confirmed participation and another ten are expected by the July 2, the closing date for entries. They will all be vying for trophies and cash prizes in various categories.
Because of the advanced technology introduced in their vehicles by manufacturers, for the first time, the rally is being opened to modified scooters (Group C) with Indian components. Thus, unlike previously, when riders had to make do with stock vehicles, they can now participate with modifications as permissible by the FMSCI.
Says Shrikant Karani, chief of organisers Sportscraft, "The rally will be held in a mining sector and the riders will have to negotiate a lot of slush, gravel and streams on the way. Last year we had to abandon one leg because of the gushing flood waters. This is the only rally for scooters and we are intending to keep it going as it is and not mix it up with events for bikes."
Sportscraft, as always, have plotted a new course, which has two sectors -- competitive and transport. The competitive sector, comprising gravel-laden, dirt tracts, is around 28 kms.
"Though the part of the route is same it will be challenging and treacherous depending on the density of rain on the day of the event," adds Karani.
Going by the conditions the riders experienced in previous years, the rally is certainly going to be tougher this time, more so because Sportscraft are staging it in the first week of July, when it usually rains heavily. Added to that is the dirt terrain chosen, which should bring out the best in the riders and their scooters.
More details, rules and regulations available on site www.sportscraftindia.com