The Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya is now in its 19th year. Over the course of 19 editions, the gruelling rally has seen man and machine traverse over kilometre after kilometre of tricky and treacherous terrain. As the years have gone by, the legend of the Raid has grown. This has only served to increase its popularity. With more drivers and riders opting to do the event each year. One thing, however, has remained unchanged - the call of the mountains must be answered.
As we head into the 2017 edition of the Raid, we take a look back at the previous two editions of the event.
The vistas that one glimpse at the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya are unparalleled. The silence of the mountains is shattered, every now and again, by a machine tearing across the landscape. Here, a Maruti Suzuki Gypsy leaves dust in the air as it blasts past during the 2015 edition of the Raid.
In the 19 years of the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya, there seems to be one man who has conquered the mountains more often than not. The 2016 edition of the Raid was won by Suresh Rana (co-driven by Ashwin Naik) in his Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara who claimed his 10th victory at the event.
Here's an image of Lhakpa Tsering at the 2015 edition of the Raid. "The music must never stop," he'd said to us of how he keeps sane over the course of the event. As things would turn out, Tsering would eventually be declared the overall winner of the 2015 edition of the Raid.
But the Raid is not for the faint of heart. The dangers of rallying in the mountain become very obvious with the many crashes and retirements that occur during the course of the event.
What makes people go back to the Raid year after year? The call of the mountains and a love of rallying - that's the answer we usually get when we ask competitors.
But the Raid is no stranger to tragedy. Subhamoy Paul, aged 49, died on October 11 during the fifth competitive stage of the 2016 Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya. On a particularly rough section near Chatru, he lost control of his KTM 500 EXC and flew headfirst into a boulder resulting in a fatal impact. His death is a sobering reminder of the dangers of motorsport.
It takes bold participants to attempt the Raid. The rocky mountain sides are interspersed with river crossings, like this one from the 2016 edition of the event.
Team OVERDRIVE covered the 2016 and the 2015 editions of the Raid in a trusty Maruti that kept us warm and safe!
Abdul Wahid Tanveer won the Xtreme Moto Class of the 2016 edition of the event.
Perhaps the legend that is the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is as strong as it is because it is this machine that you see dotting the landscape, and moving swiftly along, at the Raid. The popular hero of the event, then!
The preferred vehicle of Team Army - the Gypsy. In the 2016 edition of the Raid they entered 9 Gypsys!
No other rally-raid provides views as splendid! A still from the 2016 edition of the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya.
The challenge that two-wheeler riders in the Raid face, given that they go at it alone, is unparalleled.
The Maruti competed in the rally for the first time last year. And straight away, it seemed to be handling the Adventure Trial stages very well.
A typical image of the Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya - the mountains in the background, and a Gypsy leaving a trail of dust in its wake!