When Samrat Yadav returned to the picturesque locales of Kashmir to participate in the Mughal Rally for the third time in four years,there was a feeling of déjà vu as he stood behind the wheels in his trusted car. The year had started on an ominous note for Yadav as despite getting good starts he could not finish the race in both Desert Storm and SJOBA Rally.
Reason: his vehicle broke down on both the occasions. While in Desert Storm a mechanical failure rendered him helpless,it was due to break failure that Yadav was unable to finish the race in SJOBA Rally.
Yet,when Yadav stepped in Srinagar,he didn’t show any signs of nervousness. This time he knew he would get it right. This time he had taken care of shortcomings in his car. Fully aware that another mechanical or break failure will spoil his season,Yadav spent enough time on building and modification of the car,keeping in mind the hostile environment that he was going to encounter.
“Even though I had been trying my best,my car was not functioning properly. It was unable to handle heat and the hostile terrain. So,I along with my co-driver Shahzat Malik fixed the car,” shared Yadav.
The result was encouraging. While he finished overall tenth in the rally,he came first in his category- 1600 cc in car category. After he got his vehicle scrutinised,Yadav and Shahzat were ready to scorch the tracks. It wasn’t easy though. Landslides and rockfall marked Day One on the competitive stretch near Pir Ki Gali,the highest point on the Mughal Road.
Overcoming the odds,Yadav and Shahzat got off to a good start and were overall second at the end of Stage I on the first day.
But just like the changing landscapes in Kashmir valley,Yadav and Shahzat also experienced a change in their fortunes. During the second stage,in which they had to cover 30 km,they hit a rock which ruptured their fuel tank. Watching his vehicle spill fuel,Yadav learned a valuable lesson: “Every small detail is crucial when you are competing in a tough rally like the Mughal,” he said. He slipped to overall 21st position after second stage and now it was a question of finishing on a high for Yadav.
Day Two started on a bright note for Yadav and blazing a trail,he finished overall third after stage one. Terrible rain and storm for almost four hours in the competitive stretches cut short the rally and the second stage was cancelled.
By this time,Yadav had done well to finish tenth overall and won his category with a lead of two seconds. A Total of 12 cars were participating in his category. “Had I not lost those six minutes of precious time,I could have easily finished overall second in the rally,” lamented Yadav,a resident of Sector 7 in Chandigarh.
While studying in Australia (he did Masters in Management) he participated in Kickstarters Gascoyne Dash,with Khushwant Randhawa as driver,and came on the top.
Mohit emerges winner
CITY motor rallyist Mohit Verma,who took part in the Rally Xtreme (Motorcycles),retained his numero uno position with a lead of three minutes over Gurpinder Singh Sarao of Sangrur. Rajan Singh of Ludhiana stood third. He had also won the 2012 Mughal Rally.