Have you driven up and down a mountain?
Have you driven through muddy rivers and hauled your vehicle up a pit?
In a second despatch from the Sakleshpur off roading trip, Rediff.com's Rajesh Karkera details how a thrilling off road competition tested his motoring skills and perseverance.
The Mahindra Off Road Trophy is a pan-India competition for Mahindra four-wheel drive owners.
It is held at six locations -- Goa, Sakleshpur, Wayanad, Hyderabad, Ranchi and Chandigarh.
The zonal winners will compete in two rounds and two finalists from among them will compete to win a Mahindra Thar CRDe 4X4.
The day of the off road trophy in Sakleshpur started with breakfast.
At the foot of the Kadamane estate in Sakleshpur is the village hall, also called Mutthiah Memorial Hall, Kadamanne. That's where we all gathered.
The participating cars were fewer today. Only 15.
But many of the previous day's participants had come to cheer us.
Reaching the spot in the rugged Mahindra Thar itself was wonderful.
No complaints about the Bolero we drove the previous day. But the arduous terrain involved clambering over rocks, wading through streams and clawing the earth, as the vehicles would tackle the tricky, wet inclines and descends.
This was Thar Territory :)
The first obstacle was to climb up a mountain, take a turn at the top and drive down.
The lighter the vehicle, the better your chances of getting through.
But if it was too light, you could even roll down the mountain!
That was how tough it was.
As we reached the top, we soon realised that Kadamanne is an elephant corridor. Though we didn't see any elephants, we knew they frequented the place.
How? Elephant dung.
Heaps of them dumped along the way ensured we humans ran out of breath.
The second obstacle involved a mud pit and a hill drive together.
How do you do it?
Just enter the wet pit. Pick up all the orange flags kept at 'hard to reach' points (see photograph below). Reach the finish line in 7 minutes!
The number of flags you collect will add up your points.
Plus your timing. And how much of a beating you give your vehicle.
The latter was the most important. At the end of the race, your vehicle should be intact.
The less abuse your vehicle took, the more points you'd get.
The first two obstacles had drained everyone's energies and it was time to fuel up.
It was a memorable, hard-earned lunch.
Picture us eating and sharing the yummiest veg/non-veg biryani with South Indian fried chicken on the bonnet of the rugged and muddy Thar! :)
The third phase was to cross a flat slush pit.
And this seemed to be the easiest.
The first cars that crossed it were at an advantage, you may think.
The more you drove through it, the muddier and tougher it got.
Seen here, above, is a core off roader Pradeep Muniraju from Bangalore in his highly modified version of the Mahindra Thar.
As the participants tried to navigate the slush pit, the local children cheered us on.
The last and the most serene obstacle was the river crossing. Looks like a piece of cake?
Only when we entered the water did we see the slush.
Each driver and vehicle had to use their strength and work in tandem to cross this river.
Even the judges were not spared from the splatter.
Emerging victorious from this crossing was not for the faint-hearted!
Barring a couple, almost all the vehicles had to be towed out.
And truth be told, not one participant managed to get all the orange flags at this obstacle :)
Meet the winners of the Sakleshpur Off-Road Trophy :)
What's next: Off Road Do's and Dont's