Arunachal’s three off-road teams gear up for RFC India 2018

The off-road teams from Arunachal are Aditya Mein (co-driver Sujeewan Chowtang), Chow Ujjal Namshum (co-driver Ingpeng Mein) and Chow Tseng Tsing Mein (co-driver Purbajyoti Choudhury)

ITANAGAR
Photo: Northeast Now

4 min read

As the Indian off-road fraternity gears up for the fifth season of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) India, to be held in Goa from July 21 to July 28, three teams from Arunachal Pradesh are also prepping up to make their debut in the mega competition.

In a first-ever team participation from Northeast India, Aditya Mein (co-driver Sujeewan Chowtang), Chow Ujjal Namshum (co-driver Ingpeng Mein) and Chow Tseng Tsing Mein (co-driver Purbajyoti Choudhury) will represent the Manubhum Off-Roaders Club of Arunachal (MOCA) at this year’s RFC India.

The RFC of Malaysia is counted among the top ten toughest motor races in the world. The India edition of RFC was launched by Delhi-based Cougar Motorsport Pvt Ltd in 2014.

Today, RFC India is counted amongst the top three RFC global events out of the 51 editions being held across 21 countries, and enjoys a cult following in the Indian and international off-road community.

RFC India is an extreme off-road motorsport competition that tests the contestants’ driving and vehicle recovery skills, team spirit, along with their physical and mental strength under extreme off-road conditions.

In all 41 teams, each comprising a driver and a co-driver, from various parts of the country, will participate in RFC India 2018 where they will undertake 26 special stages or challenges.

The event follows a point system, wherein the team with maximum points at the end of all the SS claims the title of RFC India.

The total benefits to the top Indian driver of RFC India 2018 will amount to USD 10,000, including an automatic free entry worth USD 3,900 to the RFC Mother Event, to be held in Malaysia at the end of the year.

The first entry in RFC India 2018 from MOCA is 32-year-old Aditya Mein, who is a contractor-cum-planter by profession.

Talking about his motorsport journey so far, Aditya said, “I’ve always had an immense interest in jeeps and 4X4 machines. Being a planter, I have to regularly drive through unchartered terrains, similar to the terrains that you see in extreme competitions like RFC India.”

“I started serious offroading around seven years back and took part in my first-ever offroading competition three years ago. That time, I just jumped into the fray in a stock vehicle that didn’t fare very well, but the experience was so exhilarating that it motivated me to pursue the sport further. One year later, I was the second runner-up in the very same event,” he said.

Speaking about his preparations for RFC India 2018, 46-year-old Chow Tseng Tsing Mein, who is also planter, a construction businessman and a motorsport enthusiast, said, “I was born and raised in Arunachal. Back in those days, the moment you started driving you’d spend less time on tarmac and more time off the road, as there were very few concrete roads.”

He added, “I would drive off-road in a Gypsy or some other 4X4 everyday to reach my tea garden. Now, it feels like I’ve been doing it since forever.”

“I think I’m ready for it mentally and physically. I’ve been analyzing the situation in Goa; I believe the temperature would not be much of a problem and the terrains can’t get worse than the ones in the interiors of Arunachal! My strategy would be to go there, have fun and try not to break my car in the middle of the competition,” he said.

The third entrant from MOCA, Chow Ujjal Namshum said, “All of us at MOCA have been following RFC Malaysia for a number of years. So, when its India Chapter was launched, we immediately wanted to participate in it. But given that it was happening in Goa, which is about 4,000 km from here, we never thought we’d go so far away just to participate in a competition. But the unthinkable is actually happening and it’s like a dream come true.”

“My car is ready, my co-driver is ready, my spares have arrived – I’m all prepared to hit the tracks,” Namshum added.

All the three MOCA teams will be driving Maruti Gypsy cars in the competition.

DAMIEN LEPCHA
Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com