It seems like deferring the 26th edition of the 2015 Gulf Monsoon Scooter RallyÂ was a good idea â€“ because the rain gods had been only sparingly merciful in Mumbai until August 9, 2015. While it wasnâ€™t a full-blown downpour, the showers were enough to render the 35km track in Navi Mumbai treacherous and challenging enough for the participants and their wee (but capable) scooters. Organisers Sportscraft (in association with Gulf Oil) had ensured the track was riddled with gravel, winding loops, hairpin bends and water logging â€“ basically impediments familiar to most Mumbai commuters â€“ but cranked up a few notches. The rally was flagged off at 9am by Nilesh Garg, channel sales head, Gulf Oil from K Star Hotel in Navi Mumbai.
Despite the perils of the track, three-time champion Shamim Khan clocked in at 31 minutes 59 seconds and bagged his fourth victory at the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally. The Team Mahindra rider from Nashik surged ahead of the other 39 contenders and was consequently the winner in the 160cc four-stroke category.
Second fastest time was claimed by Pinkesh Thakkar from Team Ceat who completed the rally course in 33 minutes and 45 seconds. His Kinetic Honda also brought him a victory in the 81cc to 110cc two-stroke category. The second runner-up who finished the rally a close 9 seconds later was TVS Racingâ€™s Syed Asif Ali on a TVS Wego.
Four-time champion and rally veteran Manjeet Singh Bassan couldnâ€™t make it to the overall winners’ list but he did manage to win in the 111cc to 160cc class. The Team Ceat riderâ€™s LML Vespa completed the course in 35 minutes and 37 seconds.
Defending champion R Nataraj (TVS Racing) had to retire early, right at the first Time Control, thanks to a mechanicalÂ failure in his scooter. While newbie Mohammed Ali Khan couldnâ€™t make it to the podium, his skill on the Suzuki Swish he was wielding saw him placed fourth at the finish of the rally. The Bhopal rider clocked an impressive time of 34 minutes, 32 seconds and took home the late Firdosh Vajifdar trophy for novices in the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally. The prizes were given away by Commissioner of Police Navi Mumbai, Shri Prabhat Ranjan.
Shamim Khan wins the 26th edition of the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally for fourth time
|In a field of 40 riders, Nashikâ€™s Shamim Khan, riding a Mahindra Rodeo, overcame a strong field, which included a host of former champions, and tough conditions to emerge triumphant for the fourth time in the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally, sponsored by Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd. and organised by Sportscraft on Sunday. The Team Mahindra rider, who was the champion in 2003, 2004 and 2010, rode judiciously over the dirt tracts of Navi Mumbai to win the gruelling 35-km race in a timing of 31 minutes and 59 seconds in penalties.
Defending champion R Natraj of TVS Racing, who pipped Khan in a close finish last year, was forced to pull out immediately at the first Time Control itself due to mechanical failure of his scooter. He was among four who failed to finish.
Puneâ€™s Pinkesh Thakkar of Team Ceat, astride a Kinetic Honda, was second in 33 minutes and 45 seconds, while Bhopalâ€™s Syed Asif Ali of TVS Racing, astride a TVS Wego, third in 33:54 seconds.
The rally was flagged off by from Hotel K Star in Belapur CBD by Nilesh Garg, Channel Sales Head Gulf Oil Lubricants. Heavy rain over the last few days made riding on the gravel-laden, winding course dicey. Under the circumstances, riders had to exercise extreme control while negotiating the steep inclines, hairpin bends and water-logged stretches they encountered. Some of them took a tumble or two and some even damaged their scooters.
While all the participants performed admirably, with only 36 of the starters completing the rally, special mention must be made about the first-timers who went through the motions with equal Ã©lan.
Among them, Bhopalâ€™s Mohammed Ali Khan, astride, a Suzuki Swish, was adjudged the best and awarded the late Firdosh Vajifdar trophy for his spirited riding which saw him place overall fourth in a timing of 34 minutes, 32 seconds.
While Shamim Khan won the overall title and topped in the 160 cc 4-stroke class, Thakkar won the 81cc to 110cc class 2-stroke class.
Former champion Manjeet Singh Bassan, of team Ceat, astride an LML Vespa, won the 111cc to 160cc class, finishing in 35.37 seconds. The prizes were given away by Commissioner of Police Navi Mumbai, Shri Prabhat Ranjan.