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The 2012 Annual Mahindra Great Escape


Taking a break from mundane drives, having a blast dune bashing on the outskirts of Jaiselmer, while gaining an first rate education of off roading techniques is what the annual Mahindra Great Escape was all about

 

Mahindra Great Escape 2012

 

 

Jaiselmer, the princely city of Rajasthan lies right at the heart of the Thar desert and makes for the perfect setting for an off roading jamboree. Sand dunes are the order of the day and while most people would warn you from venturing out on the dunes in a vehicle for it can be treacherous, let me inform you that we are at the heart of Mahindra Country and if you happen to be piloting a nice Mahindra 4x4, then these dunes are the ultimate recipe for unleashing unlimited amounts of fun and taking this element to the next level was the annual Mahindra Great Escape.

 

At our disposal were a number of Scorpios, Boleros and of course the formidable Thar. I chose wisely and settled for the Thar, after all the name was apt for the location and its rugged looks do appeal to the senses, however keeping emotional attachments aside, the Thar 4x4 is probably one of the most capable off roaders available in India and its perfectly at home in such environs. Without further delay, I deflated my tyres to approximately half the stipulated pressure, which is the ideal thing to do for driving on sand, and headed off to tackle the dunes.

 

 

Mahindra Great Escape 2012

 

 

 

Now, driving on sand is a harrowing task and it’s very easy to bog your vehicle down, even if it runs a robust 4x4 system. The first part of sand driving, I’ve already explained in terms of deflating the tyres. The rest depends solely on the driver as driver input is of paramount importance. The trick is to be gentle and avoid any harsh maneuvers, sudden acceleration or emergency braking. Stick the vehicle in four wheel drive and select the low ratio, slot into second gear and ease of the clutch and accelerate gently. Work up a decent momentum and as you make your way over the dunes, it’s important to maintain that momentum so adjust accelerator input accordingly. It doesn’t sound like much, but it takes a lot of practice to get this right. I’ve been out on the dunes a dozen times and am still considered a novice!

 

 

 

Mahindra Great Escape 2012

 

 

 

 

Regardless, the Thar is a robust vehicle and it made up for some of my shortcomings and I was able to plow through the dunes in considerable ease. The freedom of dune bashing surely gets the adrenaline flowing and with over 40 vehicles out on the dunes at the same time, the view was as though you’ve entered the ultimate Mahindra mosh-pit and the heavy metal that you can hear is solid diesel power being unleashed to its maximum! While some participants were busy cruising over the sand, others found themselves on their knees helping the rescue crew dig their vehicle out. Ask any novice and they’ll tell you that getting stuck is half of the fun! 

 

 

Out there on the dunes is a true test of faith as you never know what lies beyond and you have to press on regardless as you don’t want to lose your momentum. Mahindra obviously took the liberty to design a rather challenging course and it was rather trying on both man and machine. At times all that could be seen out of the windshield was bright blue sky and a nanosecond later, the world flips over and you are piloting down a steep incline with nothing but sand in your line of vision! It’s a sense of combining the freedom of driving with exploring the unknown and that works out to be a heady mix.

 

 

Mahindra Great Escape 2012

 

 

My Thar powered through the dunes and I only faced trouble once where I ended up getting stuck in the sand, however, I managed to traverse those dunes and make it back to civilization in one piece. Maybe it was Rajasthan, or maybe it was my heart pumping super fast, but I felt like a king who had just conquered a new land.