Witnesses first woman off-road participant
The seventh edition of the JK Tyre Orange 4X4 Fury came to a riveting close on Friday with Team Gulf First (open) winning their maiden title in event, billed as one of India’s toughest and most exciting off-road competitions. The edition was momentous as it had its first women participant, Aparna Umesh from Kerala challenging the stalwarts in the business.
Held in the backdrop of the famous ‘Orange Festival of Adventure & Music’ at Dambuk in Arunachal Pradesh's Lower Dibang Valley, the two-day competition had 12 teams participating from various parts like Kerala, Telangana, Karnataka, Chandigarh, Delhi in Open category, comprising of extreme specified vehicles. An impressive number of local teams from the North-Eastern region were going through the paces for the coveted trophy too. While Team Gulf from Kerala registered their first win, defending champion MOCA from Arunachal stood second followed by NIOC from Delhi-NCR respectively.
Presenting the awards to the winning teams, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Pema Khandu said, “Orange Festival is an opportunity to showcase and promote eco-tourism activities which will ultimately help develop infrastructure of the region. On behalf of the state, I thank JK Tyre for promoting the rich heritage of not only Dambuk but of Arunachal Pradesh.”
The two-day event was flagged off on March 3 by Mr. Abu Tayeng, Director Tourism, along with Gum Tayeng, MLA Dambuk. The festival strives to showcase Arunachal Pradesh as a tourist destination.
The 4x4 Fury had the teams negotiate through natural and gruelling obstacles like swamps, steep riverbanks, boulder-filled riverbeds and tracks through rainforests. The stages were prepared by well-known national navigator Musa Sherif and Ashwin Naik.
Such was the route that on the first day itself, almost 80 per cent of the cars broke down as they all struggled to beat the boulders and rocks making it even more challenging. Intermittent rains and tracks along dry river beds added to the excitement in the proceedings. Out of 24 cars participating only 6 could reach the finish line.
Speaking of her experience, Aparna said, “Off-roading has always been perceived to be male dominated. This is a dream come true for me but it is yet to sink in. We were facing some mechanical issues due to which I couldn’t participate in stage 2 and 3. I will be back again.”
This edition had a mass flag off start to increase the competition and challenges in the fury. With every season the stages have become challenging because of the terrain nature has to offer.
The night of Orange festival concluded with mesmerising performances by local artists. Orange festival is the first of its kind, where speed meets the music.