Powering the inner drive
Raid de Himalaya, one of the Top 10 toughest rallies in the World Not for these three ladies Delhi based Shuchi Thakur and Chandigarhs Anu Rana and Sarah Kashyap are all set to charge through the treacherous Himalayan terrain at the Raid de Himalaya 2018 which will be flagged off from Leh on 8 October 2018 and will finish on 14 October, after covering approximately 3,000 kilometers
‘Raid de Himalaya’, one of the Top 10 toughest rallies in the World? Not for these three ladies. Delhi-based Shuchi Thakur and Chandigarh’s Anu Rana and Sarah Kashyap are all set to charge through the treacherous Himalayan terrain at the ‘Raid de Himalaya’ 2018 which will be flagged off from Leh on 8 October 2018 and will finish on 14 October, after covering approximately 3,000 kilometers.
“Everything that I do in life is a means to this end – rallying. I am in top form and am confident of putting up a good show once again,” Shuchi said. “I am there to compete, not for a fun drive in the hills,” she added.
The rally traverses past torturous mountain roads, hairpin curves and dangerous drop-offs at a height of almost 4,900 metres above sea level in Kargil, Zanskar and Ladakh. Indeed, Shuchi Thakur is regarded as one of the world’s leading cross-country high-altitude racers among women and she has competed in the ‘Raid’ an astounding 12 times.
Shuchi, who works in the advertising industry on the creative side, tries to compete in as many events a year as possible. She has been seen in the ‘Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm’ and the ‘SJOBA Sub-Himalayan Rally’ as well. “Seat time is crucial in motorsports. The more time you spend behind the wheel, the better you get at your craft,” she said as the countdown for the ‘Raid’ begins.
SarahKashyap is also an accomplished rider as she was the first Indian woman to finish the ‘Xtreme Moto Category’ at the ‘Raid de Himalaya’ in 2015. The only other woman biker to finish ‘Raid Xtreme Moto’ has been the Austrian, KlaudiaHoneder, who achieved the feat in 2008. Sarah was the first Indian woman to complete the race in the ‘Desert Storm’ 2017, competing in the ‘Xtreme Moto’ category.
Anu has no hesitation in saying that the ‘Raid’ is her favourite motorsport event. “I love the challenge of driving for long hours at high altitudes. It requires a completely different set of training and conditioning of your body,” she said.
In 2015, Anu finished second in the T2 category at the ‘Raid’. She bagged the ‘Coup de Dames’ trophy, given to the all-women team that performs best at the ‘Raid’, in 2015 and 2016. Anu was second in the T2 category at the ‘Dakshin Dare’ 2015 too, and first in the women’s category at ‘Dakshin Dare’ in 2016 and 2017.
Anu, a financial consultant, will compete at the ‘Raid’ with her sister Poonam Rana as navigator. The duo has won various trophies together.The ‘Raid de Himalaya’ 2018 will run its first stage on the never-before traversed section from Lamayuru, called the moonland of Ladakh, to Photoksar. It will then go to the newly-upgraded road leading to Zanskar that was earlier a mule track.
They will also take the road leading to Umba La, a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4,496 meters above sea level. This is one of the most spectacular stretches globally and is listed on dangerousroads.org. Crossing the Sirisir La at a height of 4,805 meters above sea level, the ‘20th Raid De Himalaya’ is going to enter totally unchartered territory.