They have made quite a history winning the first ever Rain Forest Challenge in India. They were almost beaten by Mervyn Lim and co-driver Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid, who were also from Malaysia. Both teams represent Force Motors and have put up consistent performance since the beginning of challenge.
Six day event which commenced on 8th of August 2014 came to and end at International Centre Goa (ICG), Dona Paula. Founder & Creator of Rainforest Challenge – Mr. Luis J A Wee, General Manager of Negeri Sembilan Tourism Board, Malaysia – Mr. Baharudin Jali, Founder & Director of Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd. – Mr. Ashish Gupta and Managing Director, Force Motors Ltd. – Mr. Prasan Firodia were present in the concluding occasion.
Other encouraging awards were also presented in the ceremony, like Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to veteran off-road racer from Kolkata, Mr. Uday Bhan Singh. Hydross Niaz and Savant Satyanarayanan from Kerala received an award for Most Unique 4X4; they had a Willys FC 170. There was an award for best Team Spirit, given to Bijender Singh and Jitender Singh from Delhi. Jungleman Award went to Uday Mahatme and Rohit KR from Goa and Bangalore respectively. Only women competitors Smitha Prasad and Sapna Gurukar from Bangaluru were acknowledged and given Ladies Team award. A very important Environment Award was secured by Guhan Shetty and Ayub Khan from Tamil Nadu, for making maximum effort to preserve the beautiful flora and fauna of Goa.
Malaysia’s Tang Eng Joo lifts the Force Gurkha RFC India 2014 trophy
Panaji, August 14, 2014: The rain gods were kind, the challenge was completed and the trophy was lifted. The first edition of the Force Gurkha RFC India has come to an end and Malaysia’s Tang Eng Joo, with co-driver Tan Choon Hong, has been announced as the first ever Force Gurkha RFC India champion. They were closely followed by another Malaysian Mervyn Lim (co-driver Hamizan Bin Abdul Hamid). Both teams represented Force Motors and have consistently performed well throughout the event, leading from the beginning.
The six day event culminated in a glitzy awards night held at the International Centre Goa (ICG), Dona Paula. The dignitaries present on the occasion included Mr. Luis J A Wee (Founder & Creator, the Rainforest Challenge), Mr. Baharudin Jali (General Manager, Negeri Sembilan Tourism Board, Malaysia), Mr. Ashish Gupta (Founder & Director, Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd.) and Mr. Prasan Firodia (Managing Director, Force Motors Ltd.).
The Indian teams put up a tough fight too. There was a commendable performance by Kabir Waraich and Gagan Sachdeva of Gerrari Offroaders Chandigarh who came in third place after fighting their way to the top. The team escalated to the third rank in the Predator Stage and managed to hold their ground then on after not figuring in the top rankings at all initially. Staying true to the motto of their club that ‘I am going to do it’, sheer determination and will power helped the duo secure the rank. Being the topmost Indian team at the event, these young offroaders will get an automatic free entry into the Rainforest Challenge Malaysia 2014 that will be held in November.
Ashish Gupta of Cougar Motorsport, the company responsible for bringing RFC to India, said, “I am amazed and excited by the amount of courage and determination that have been shown by all the teams during the extremely tough conditions they have faced throughout the challenge. Their performance is a testimony to the immense talent there is in the Indian off-road community. Each team had a different strategy in place for every Special Stage. It was very interesting to see how two people came together, strategized and conquered the challenges we had put forward. I am happy that Force Gurkha RFC India 2014 has brought the Indian off-roaders on the international map and will go a long way to promote off-road motorsport across the country.”
The event was divided into four stages – the Prologue, the Predator, the Terminator and the Twilight Zone. The course was designed in such a manner that the level of difficulty increased as the challenge progressed with each Special Stage testing the driving and recovery skills of the participants under extreme offroad conditions. The Prologue Special Stages were held close to town and it was the biggest congregation of off-road enthusiasts Goa has seen so far with hundreds of spectators coming to admire the impressive display of 4X4 vehicles. The heavens poured incessantly as the competition progressed and the 23 teams butted heads in the mud and slush, attempting to complete the SS in the shortest time possible.
The Predator Stage progressed with many nail-biting moments. The service teams had their work cut out for them with many breakdowns along the way. The Terminator Special Stages saw course designers up the ante of the competition. With tougher challenges and paths, the Prologue and Predator Stages were mere curtain raisers as compared to what awaited the competitors. The Twilight Zone started early morning on the last day of the motorsport event. This was the toughest stage the competitors had faced so far and none of the teams managed to complete the Twilight Zone, deeming the leading team in the Terminator Stage as the winners.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Luis J A Wee said, “All the participants in the event, be it the competitors or the touring adventurers, have made history by being a part of the first edition of the toughest off-road motorsport event that India has ever hosted. RFC is a tough sport and it takes great strength, will and determination to be able to compete in the event. Just by competing in all the stages, the participants have proved their mettle and are all winners for me. At the end of the day, all the bruises, the tiredness and the stress are worth reaching the finish line.”
Some other key awards were also announced at the awards night including the Lifetime Achievement Award which was given to veteran off-roader from Kolkata, Mr. Uday Bhan Singh. The award for Most Unique 4X4 went to Hydross Niaz and Savant Satyanarayanan from Kerala for their Willys FC 170 while the Team Spirit Award was given to Delhi’s Bijender Singh and Jitender Singh. Uday Mahatme and Rohit KR from Goa and Bangalore respectively were felicitated with the Jungleman Award while the brave ladies from Bangalore, Smitha Prasad and Sapna Gurukar, who were the only women competitors in the event, were given the Ladies Team Award. The Environment Award went to Guhan Shetty and Ayub Khan from Tamil Nadu for making the maximum possible effort to preserve the beautiful flora and fauna of Goa.