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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Track Record

It took them a while to register the massive expanse of the river.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: July 4, 2009 3:06:07 am

Bhalinder Singh Sangha,Harinder Singh & Karanbir Singh Bedi keep their promise – they’ve broken the Limca Book World Record of Fastest Drive

It took them a while to register the massive expanse of the river. This was not a road which they could swerve through. This was the mighty Brahmaputra,and no one has a clue of the storms that brew under its calm surface. 3,811 km had been covered,and the boys were inching towards their destination till they reached a point where the river was the only substitute for a road. “We had to cross the Lohith river,and the only way was through a ferry,” Harinder Singh ‘Rana Sidhu’ recalls the biggest adventure of their record breaking West to East drive. The ferry,pens Bhalinder Singh Sangha in his diary,was a “jugaad”. “They had these wooden planks tied together,the exact size of our tyre surface,and it was powered by an old Leyland truck engine,and we had to balance our Xylo onto it!” with Harinder on the wheel,and Sangha and Karanbir Singh Bedi literally on the edge,the ferry floated slowly and 45 minutes later touched land. As the squeaks and groans from the wooden platform increased,the three mulled which bank to swim for in case something went wrong. Nothing did,and at 1900 hours that day,they entered Arunachal Pradesh,and finally made the record at Tezu.

From the lone dust-laden roads of the Rann of Kutch to the lush green rain forest of Tezu,the western most tip of the country to the eastern,three adventurers – Sangha,Sidhu and Bedi kept their promise – of breaking the Limca Book World Record of Fastest Drive. With a budget of lakh and a half,they covered a a distance of approximately 3,941 km in just 85 hours,breaking the previous record of 119 hours,by a good 34 hours. “The only change due to bad weather conditions was that we started from the western tip,Koteshwar in Gujarat to Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh,the eastern most tip of India,” tells avid mountaineer and Tech Mahindra staffer,Harinder. Congratulations are certainly in order,especially for their vehicle,Mahindra Xylo (sponsors too) who braved the route with the trio. As for the record,it will appear in the 2010 edition of the book.

The plan was to cover 1255 km in 24 hours to ensure that they completed the required 3766 km in 90 hours with a six-hour break after every 1255 km. However,they managed to reach their destination in just 84 hours and 52 minutes,covering an additional 175 km! “More than the destination it was the journey that was an adrenaline pump,” Sangha’s log book and diary and pictures taken as evidence for the record tell tales of an incredible India. A rally driver,proprietor of Sangha’s Motorcraft and the techie in this adventure,Bhalinder’s filled the pages chronicling the change in terrain,language,people,weather and of course road conditions every 100 km. If Gujarat was a cruise,Madhya Pradesh was a catastrophe! “We were told that dacoits rob travellers at night,and we should avoid driving through,but we were racing against time and took the risk,” tells Harinder. Bihar was another experience where the road was everyone’s property – people,cattle,dogs,and piles of farmers’ harvest. In West Bengal,a major traffic jam awaited them,while in Guwahati,they had to get special inner line permits for Arunachal,for which they needed their passports! “Kaziranga National Park was beautiful,except that Karanbir,Overdrive’s winning motor sport man,was chased by a baby elephant!” laughs Bhalinder adding how India is best enjoyed through roads where roadside people are your GPS. “It’s been an eye-opening journey,one that every one should undertake to witness and appreciate the immense beauty of this country,” he says.

An extreme adventure,the three had been readying for it through endurance tests,and made sure they carried enough food and water with them. “The most important aspect is the will to win,to triumph against all odds. All of us are adventurers and explorers to the core,a challenge excite us,makes us push the boundaries of human endurance. I guess this is the only reason we did it,” quotes Bhalinder already prepping for the next big adventure – that of setting a north to south record,fastest drive from Leh to Kanyakumari,K2K. Way to go!

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