Agra Taj Car Rally
Spring of 2019
Chandrabhan has returned home after a hectic day of work as a construction worker and is chilling on his beloved ‘Charpaai’ outside his cottage. His is amongst a few scattered housings between a vast sea of potato and wheat farms located deep inside rural UP. It’s a serene moment normally broken only by the odd howling of random canines. But tonight, was different, Chandrabhan nearly fell of his Charpaai when the first car zoomed past leaving clouds of dust in its wake. Car after car, of all shapes sizes & colors followed the first one leaving behind a bewildered Chandrabhan who surely won’t be sitting peacefully anymore tonight.
Rhea and Ricky are lost. They had a huge argument few minutes ago when Rhea wanted to retrace their steps all the way back to the water tower on their far left which she is sure matches roadbook instruction # 97 while Ricky wasn’t convinced. He felt Rhea took the wrong right after the rocky river bed because up until then their odo matched the road book perfectly and wanted to go back to the river bed. Rhea was adamant - I am the navigator I will navigate; your job is to follow my instructions and drive. The poor sod muttered under his breath and now here they were in the middle of nowhere hoping to spot one small clue that could get them back on track.
Rahul, Rohan and Gaurav were ecstatic. Rahul was driving, Rohan was navigating and Gaurav was keeping time. The three of them were quite good at what they were doing and they were hoping for a podium finish. Not only that, it was years since the once best friends had spent so much time together. An adrenaline filled weekend with the best of company and high performance, what else could three young hardworking entrepreneurs ask for. But there was one small glitch, their fuel gauge was creeping towards empty and there was no fuel pump in sight. Victory is within their grasp but would one small miscalculation turn all their hard work into naught?
Welcome to the world of TSD Rallying!
It’s a sport like no other. There is drama, there is tension, there is adrenaline, there is luck factor, there is team work, there is everything you could ask for and more.
Rallying – the word itself conjures up images of incredibly fast machines racing over dirt roads. Some say the motto of rallying is ‘Real Men, Real Machines, Real roads’. While races are conducted over closed circuitous routes, rallies are held on open public roads which always have the element of surprise included. While rallies that you may have seen on TV are based on the first across the finish line concept, there is a special class of rally known as TSD Rallying in which speed takes a back seat.
Navigation is of prime importance and the road book becomes your holy grail. The route of the rally is secret and given to competitors in the form of graphical instructions which must be strictly adhered to in order to stay on track. Adding to the challenge is a speed chart which imposes different speed limits on different parts of the route and the competitors must maintain their speed exactly as per the speed chart down to the very last second. Randomly placed checkpoints called ‘Time Checks’ note your time of arrival at the checkpoint and any deviations from your perfect time add to your penalties. The team with the least penalties win.
Sounds easy enough? Maybe not so much in practice. One wrong turn means racing back on the double to catch up on lost time. Route planners employ all sorts of tricks to make navigation a challenge and maintaining the average speed a constant struggle. You may get lost, you may get late, you may fight with your teammates, but one thing is for sure – you will end up having a lot of fun and will return for the next year’s edition of the same rally.
The Agra Taj Car Rally is one such event which sees a lot of returning participants. The last edition of ATCR was held in 2019, with 2020 & 2021 being cancelled due to the pandemic. ATCR is back with a bang and is scheduled to take place from the 29th of April till the 1st of May. The exact route of this rally will remain undisclosed but from what we hear, you can expect to drive through the infamous erstwhile dacoit-ridden valleys of Chambal, have a tryst with alligators at the confluence of the rivers chambal-yamuna, test your off roading skills in the midst of centuries old pre-mughal architecture of Bateshwar, drive through pontoon bridges and on rocky river beds and see a completely unseen side of Uttar Pradesh. There are limited entries which are filling up fast. You may register at www.mscagra.com Entry fees starts from Rs 29,000 for a team of 2. The rally will culminate on the evening of 1st May with a Grand Rally Ball & Prize Distribution ceremony at Agra’s oldest 5 star hotel – The Clarks Shiraz.