Siliguri, Feb 26 (IANS) Over 50 competitors from across the country are set to prove their mettle in Indias only multi-nation TSD (time, speed & distance) drive that gets underway, here on Wednesday.
The 800-km JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 7, being organised in association with Experience Bengal (West Bengal Tourism), will see competitors drive their mean machines for four days through majestic locations in North Bengal, scenic hills in Darjeeling and various picturesque routes in Bhutan.
The TSD drive, which draws inspiration from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s vision of connecting Bengal to its neighbours and encouraging people to people connectivity in the region, will cover a wide variety of terrain, ranging from tarmac, river beds, dirt tracks, forest paths to mountainous roads.
While the entire route will challenge competitors, it will test them to the hilt at Paro in Bhutan where drivers might have to drive in extreme tricky conditions due to the impending snowfall.
Commenting on the race, Sanjay Sharma, Head of JK Motorsport, said: “We are excited about the event. It is India’s only international TSD drive and provides a great opportunity to rallyists to stretch themselves to the limit, besides giving a huge boost to motorsports in the region.”
The drivers will take off from Siliguri after the ceremonial flag-off and travel all the way to Murti, driving past North Bengal’s lush forests, river banks and idyllic towns.
The second leg will see drivers start the journey from Murti to Paro, going through tea gardens and forests that are home to a variety of flora and fauna, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, the one-horned rhino and the Asiatic elephant before entering Bhutan through Phuentsholing.
From Phuentsholing, competitors will hit the mountain roads filled with hairpin bends and steep gradients amid spectacular views of the Himalayan heights, before entering the breath-taking Paro Valley.
On the third day, they will drive back from Paro Valley through Dooars and cross the iconic Coronation Bridge over Teesta river to reach Kalimpong.
The final leg of this rally on Saturday will have competitors drive down from Kalimpong, cross the Teesta bridge, Mungpoo, Jorebunglow and Kurseong before descending into the plains through Rohini.
After reaching the plains, they will go through Dudhia and Panighata, the riverbeds of Menjha and Mechi, and touch Naxalbari before taking the Asian Highway 2 and then National Highway 27 to finish at the City Centre here.