ศึกออฟโรดอาร์เอฟซี โกลบอลซีรี่ส์(RFCGS)อาร์เอฟซีอินเดีย 2021
The offroad battle RFC Global Series (RFCGS) RFC INDIA 2021
English: Luis J.A.Wee
ThAI Version: Charnchai Petchin ชาญชัย เพ็ชร์อินทร์
MEMORABLE FIGHT TO THE FINISH IN GOA!
(Postponed in 2020 and delayed by the pandemic in 2021, Rainforest Challenge India came back furiously to produce a memorable race befitting its status as the Top 4x4 motorsport event of India).
The fact that this years Rainforest Challenge India (RFC India) managed to take place at all is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved in its making, from participants, sponsors to the Government of Goa and especially to Cougar Motorsport (the organizer of RFC India) for facing and passing the toughest test of all, said Mr Luis J.A.Wee, Founder of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC).
The pandemic year where we can all be truly and memorably proud to have lived through When the Going Gets Really Tough, But the Tough Still Gets Going 7th edition of the Indian chapter of the RFC of Malaysia.
RFC Brought to India in 2014
The RFC, a world renowned extreme off-road motorsport competition event, ranked No.3 in the Top Five Toughest Off Road Races in the world was brought to India by Delhi-based Cougar Motorsport Pvt, Ltd back in 2014. Today, RFC India is counted amongst the top two RFC Global events out of the 51 editions held across 21 countries and it enjoys a cult following in the Indian and international off-roading community.
Rain Gods Were Kind
This year, the event was pushed back from the usual peak monsoon July-end dates due to the pandemic and lockdown. Rains had receded and everyone was looking at a relatively dry and hot RFC India. But the rain gods were kind and there was no dearth of rain in the true RFC style despite it being the end of August.
Touch and Go
Despite the last-minute approvals and limitations, which meant a relatively short time for the organizers to prepare for the event as well as for the competitors to prepare their vehicles and to reach Goa in time for the race, 21 teams from the traditional 50 competitors, each comprising a driver and a co-driver, from across the nation and Goa managed to make it for the event. As the days turned out, it was a successful touch and go operation.
Dr Mohammed Fahed participated with a free entry to RFC India 2021 as the winner of KASC event in Kerala. Co-driver Chethan Chengappa from Karnataka also competed this year in an attempt to get a hat-trick win at the most difficult and coveted off-road motorsport championship in the country.
The RFC Format
The competitors had to undertake 26 Special Stages (SS) or challenges that tested their driving and vehicle recovery skills, team spirit, along with their physical and mental strength under extreme off-road conditions. The event followed a point system, wherein the team with maximum points at the end of all the SS claimed the title of RFC India.
Special Stages on the first three days at Maina in Goa took most of the competitors by surprise with the level of difficulty and resulted in a lot of breakdowns of vehicles as well as winches, however, the service teams worked late into the night to keep their cars running to keep on racing.
Anand Manjooran grabbed the lead for the first two days, which was taken by Dr Fahed, a debutant at RFC India who surprised everyone with his driving skills. Kabir snatched the lead from Dr Fahed on Day 4 but lost it again to Anand on day 5. The final day saw one of the most closely fought battles for the top spot in the history of RFC India, with just 6 points separating the first two.
Dream Comes True
After some week-long grueling off-roading action in the interiors of Goa, Kabir Waraich and co-driver Dushyant Khosla of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh clinched the coveted Overall Champions Trophy at the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India 2021 with a total score of 2,155 points out of 2,600. As champions, they have won the right to free entry to the RFC Global Series Finale, held annually in Malaysia at the end of Nov. This is a dream come true for me, to win in the toughest and most prestigious 4x4 event of India; it is yet to sink in to my head. I have participated in all the editions of RFC India since the beginning and while I managed to get a podium finish in the first two editions, the Champion Trophy had always eluded me, smiled Kabir.
Dramatic Turn of Events
However, for him to reach the top this year, it was the closest shave ever to be at the starting line, so to speak. Consider the facts: Kabirs original navigator/co-driver broke his leg two days prior to the completion. So, I asked Dushyant to take hs place and thankfully he immediately agreed. Thats not all yet, our race vehicle reached Goa just one hour before the competition started and then we had a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the very first SS, added Kabir.
Closest Fight to the Finish
We were also facing some issues with the vehicles tyres throughout the competition and lost some crucial points even in our first SS on the last day. Thats when I decided that I will push myself to the limit and not give up. So, we gave it our all and got full points in the last 4 SS of the competition, scoring 100 points each to eventually clichéd the champion trophy by a margin of just 11 points, summed up this dynamic duo.
The overall second position was secured by Anand V Manjooran (co-driver Vishnu Raj) of KTM Jeepers of Kerala with 2144 points. Dr Mohammad Fahed VP (co-driver Rajeev Lal) of Team Gulf First from Kerala clinched the third spot on the podium with 2014 points. Sam Kurian Kalarickal (co-driver Sacharia Saji) of R&T Off-Road Club from Kerala was at the fourth spot in the competition with 1836 points, while Cedrick Jordan DaSilva of Goa (co-driver Daljit Singh) secured a spot in the top five with 1824 points.
Congratulating Kabir and Dushyant on becoming the RFC India 2021 Champions, Cougar Motorsports Founder Mr. Ashish Gupta said, "I am really happy for Kabir. It was his lifetime dream to win RFC India and he has finally achieved that in his seventh attempt. His last four SS in the competition were brilliant and showed how determined he was to win. The competition was truly intense. It was, indeed, a deserving win for all podium finishers. We also discovered some new good drivers such as Dr Mohammad Fahed from Kerala.
Under such unprecedented times, to have successfully hosted the competition showed an incredible fighting spirit from everyone including the Government of Goa in the making of RFC India 2021. An incredible mission accomplished.