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Third Sincere Citizen Motor Rally-2011

NASA organized their Third Sincere Citizens Motor Rally from Kathmandu to Pokhara on the 26th of August 2011. Being avid motoring fans, we at Autolife had enrolled in for the event too. With much excitement on the day of the event, we reached the venue at Satdobato Swimming Complex from where the event would kick off. We were handed over our T-shirts, time card, vehicle stickers and the rally guide paper once we were done with the registration. The rally instructions listed five unknown checkpoints, including the start and the end point, with their tentative distances denoted and varying average speeds after each checkpoint. We were allotted rally number 25 and the best we hoped was to do better than that number in our final standings, among the forty-two competition vehicles. With all the participants gathered, the rally finally took off at around 9 am in the morning after being flagged off by our very own comedy king, Madan Krishna Shrestha. He wished all the competitors their best and the participant vehicles gradually drove out of the first checkpoint.

 

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It was a sight to see forty-two vehicles of all kinds drive along in tandem with onlookers wondering what we were up to. The second checkpoint turned out at Nagdhunga, until where we had to follow an average speed of 22.5 km/hr. Then, the average speed changed to 37.5 km/hr for our third checkpoint at Hotel Dalima near Kurintar, where we were treated to a delicious lunch and was allowed an hour’s break. After a heavy lunch, we proceeded towards the fourth checkpoint at Khaireni trying our best to stick to the average speed of 40 km/hr. Finally we were only left to cover the last checkpoint at Pokhara and had to maintain an average speed of 42.5 km/hr for the final leg. With all that mind-boggling calculations along the way and anxiety on reaching the checkpoints in the stipulated time, we finally made the 190 km drive to the final checkpoint at Pokhara by 3 pm in the afternoon. It was overwhelming to see some of the local organizations and school students lined up to welcome us into Pokhara, with the tunes of traditional Nepalese instrument playing in the background. After a small speech by our local host we were taken for a parade around the town of Pokhara led by the thundering army of the local Enfield riders club. It was an unforgettable experience to see men in blue bringing all traffic to a standstill at the intersections just to let our convoy pass. To say that I felt like I was driving in the President’s cavalcade for a day wouldn’t be an over-statement. But our Pokhreli folks must have definitely been pissed off to have to wait in the sweltering heat of the unusual traffic jam that we Kathmanduties had brought along.

 

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After nearly three hours of the Pokhara Tour, we gathered at the city to hear out the results, but not before we were done witnessing the cultural show that was put up by the local organizers. The results were announced from the last to the first to build the anticipation amongst the participants. The last thirty-two participants were handed over certificates of participation. It was an amazing sight to look at some last ranking contestants cheerfully waving their certificates to the audience in spite of their defeat, in a true to spirit of competition.

Mr. Rajesh Khadgi and his navigator took away the coveted first prize, while Mr. Subash Sharma stood third and Mr. Upendra Pyakurel ended third. The first three bagged a respective cash prize of Rs. 44000, 22000 and 11000 and received a trophy and certificate each as per their standings. Likewise, the organizers also distributed consolation prizes and certificates for some different categories. We for one ended up in the tenth position and were pretty much content with that ranking.

 

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NASA deserves a standing ovation for pulling off such an event successfully and being the only organization in the country committed towards promoting automotive events. Events like these should definitely take place on a regular basis and be promoted properly. It is justifiable to develop this game as an adventurous and tourism promoting game due to the geography, nature and enchanting beauty of Nepal.

A bit about NASA

Nepal Automobile Sports Association (NASA), registered with the National Sports Council, is an organization dedicated in the development & management of automobile related sports. It has been organizing yearly motor sports events ever since its establishment nearly three years ago. Over the course of its existence, NASA has successfully organized six competition rallies in both the two-wheeler and four-wheeler segment.

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This revelation could be shocking to most of us passionate motor heads, who always had the impression that our government was not supportive towards motor sports and that the country lacked motor sporting events. Today, NASA is probably the only committed organization in the country that has been vying to introduce motor sports in the country as a form of adventure sport and as well as a basis for promotion of domestic tourism.

Since Nepal currently lacks the closed circuits for true competition racing, these events are organized on public roads. NASA’s competition rallies are based as per the international TSD (time-speed-distance) format. A TSD race format could be an unheard concept for most of us as we are only aware of track or off-road racing, with thoroughly trained drivers in extreme machines taking high risks for high stakes.

TSD Rallying is very different from our usual concept of motor sports. Each vehicle is allowed a driver and a navigator and given a set of written instructions before being sent off at intervals on public roads. Every team has to follow the course as well as maintain the given average speed. Sprinkled around the course are checkpoints, of which exact distances could be given beforehand or be a surprise. The teams are timed by a crew at the checkpoints and their time is compared against a perfect time which is computed from the assigned speeds and exact distances measured before the event. For each fraction of a minute early or late, the team is given penalty points. An end result score is generated based on how close the participant came to arriving perfectly on time as per the organizers requirement. Then the team with the lowest overall penalty wins. So basically, it’s not based on the amount of muscle in your car, but on the sharpness of your mind and driving skill.

With almost no risk to the vehicle or human life one gets to drive the scenic roads and compete on the basis of precision driving and navigation, which is the best part of participating in this rally. A TSD rally is a competition of precision driving and not a race!

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