Selling vehicles is just one small part in the modern world. The major part is keeping the customers engaged and one of the carmakers who does that the best is Mahindra. The company organises drives under Mahindra Adventure, which includes various events held in different locations.
The most recent one held was the Mahindra Monsoon Challenge, which was open to all Mahindra customers. The event was in the form of a Time Speed Distance (TSD) Rally, and would cover a total distance of just over 600km from Mangalore to Goa.
Mahindra had different classifications which involved experienced veterans to enthusiasts who wanted a ground to showcase their navigating skills. Participants had to register in advance, and any Mahindra vehicle could take part.
Teams participating should be a strict two member team, consisting a driver and a navigator.
Mahindra conducted a short warm up run from hotel Moti Mahal (where the participants stayed) to the Forum Mall in Mangalore, where the rally was officially flagged off. The flagging off ceremony saw local dancers perform back flips as part of the traditional Tiger Dance.
Day 1 kicked off from Mangalore and ended in Shimoga. The route book was handed over in the morning just before breakfast, and with the time card in hand with the times marked, one team after another started the rally.
The route to Shimoga was less of highway and more through the scenic back roads. Day 1 also had a surprise for all the participants, as the route map took them to Sigandur, where the vehicles had to be ferried across to the other side on a boat (participants were not timed during this part of the rally).
Once ferried across, the rally was back on the timers. Participants reached the day's destination toward late evening, and after an early dinner and some good sleep, it was back rallying the next day. Day 1's results were out, and many teams had to re-strategize.
Day 2 also kicked off early morning and it was from Shimoga to Goa, a 340km drive. Once the route map was handed over and time entered, participants started one by one, aiming to finish the race in the top spots.
Although a long drive in terms of kilometers, participants were expected to arrive at the destination (Hotel The Lalit) before sun down. The day's route was along the highway for a few kilometers after which a diversion took participants through the back roads again and through Kaiga, one of the country's seven nuclear power stations.
The route then entered Karwar and participants had to follow the main road into Goa, the night's destination.
There were manned and unmanned checkpoints along the way where participants had to make a note and enter their timings on to a time card.
As mentioned earlier, participants included professional and first timers, and also a separate class for the Media, where four media houses from the south of India took part, including DriveSpark. It was a manic and memorable Mahindra Monsoon TSD rally. A rather special race, since this was our first attempt at TSD.
After an intense battle, we managed to place second in the media category. Although we thought Day 1 was about speed, it was on Day 2, that we realised, the rally is more about precision driving and TSD formulae. Also, our team photographer, Abijith managed to capture some of the best moments with the limited time in hand.
We used a Mahindra NuvoSport during the Rally, and what we noticed about the vehicle was the performance and refinement of it, despite being a three-cylinder diesel engine. Another major aspect we noticed is the space for passengers in the second row — very impressive.
Regarding tech, the NuvoSport was equipped with airbags, steering mounted controls, cruise control, and an infotainment system with AUX, USB, and Bluetooth connectivity. The vehicle does roll and feels a bit bouncy when thrown into a corner, but after rallying it for just over 600km, we were quite impressed, apart from the plastic quality and door trim finishes.
2016 Mahindra Monsoon Rally Final results
So what is a TSD Rally?
A Time Speed Distance (TSD) Rally or a Regularity Rally is a form of a motorsport where teams have to drive a particular section in a specified time averaging a particular speed. The rally can be conducted on public roads or on off-road tracks.
The rally may last for either a few hours or over a few days time. Participants are given a handbook (map) at the start and have to follow the mentioned route. There will be marshals along the route, which the participants are unaware of.
Participants will start at a specified time and their time is calculated by marshals along the route. The final score is then calculated to decide the winner. The course will also include sections that will not be timed (say for example through a town), called free zones. The key to winning a TSD is to maintain specific time between checkpoints (not driving fast) and navigating the route according to the route map.
The route map is handed over to the competitors just before the start, along with a deterministic route schedule, that mentions the exact times that should be recorded for each team at all the relevant points along the route. The difference between a team's actual times and the correct times determine their penalties.
About 2016 Mahindra Monsoon Challenge
The Mahindra Monsoon Challenge is India's biggest TSD rally and has always served as an ideal platform for motorsport enthusiasts to converge from various parts of the country. This year, the event's Title and official tyre partner was CEAT.