A record 59 entries have been received for the 28th edition of the Monsoon Scooter Rally, sponsored by Gulf Oil Corporation Ltd. and organized by Sportscraft, on July 1-2.
Among them are several former champions including last year’s winner Syed Asif Ali of Bhopal, runner-up Shamin Khan of Nashik, Rustom Patel, Manjeet Singh Bassan, Avtar Singh, Muzzafar Ali, Kunal Rao, E. Shekharan, Sheshraj Yadav, Pinkesh Thakkar Shashank Shewale and Nikunj Gala
Like previous rallies, an interesting duel is expected this Sunday too over the backwoods of Navi Mumbai as over the last few years none of the abovementioned riders have been able to defend their crown.
Shamim Khan, a four-time champion, lost his to Syed Asif Ali last year and will be looking to settle scores. However, with the monsoon having set in, he faces a stiff challenge not only from some of the best men in the business of off-road driving, but the call of the wild.
Most of the riders have done a recce over the last few days, but they are certain to find the course chalked out by Sportscraft tough to negotiate.
This rally will see many firsts, like 24 first-timers, three lady participants in Nidhi Shukla, sponsored by Team Ceat, Shiana Kaur Virdi and Priya Gala, both individual entries.
How seriously riders and scooter manufacturers are taking this popular scooter rally can be gauged from the numbers of team entries received. TVS Racing has entered two of their top riders, Team Ceat nine and Lorraine’s Racing three.
After the rally if flagged off from K- Star – Navi Mumbai the participants will proceed for a 25-km competitive sector in the mining area of Targhar, Bombay Pada, Vahal & Ovle where the main challenge comes. Some areas in the competitive sector are gravel-laden, slushy and water-logged. The first timers, in particular, will have to be extremely cautious particular while negotiating the many bends, inclines and rivulets.
Could we see a new champion emerge from among the entries 59 entries received from places like Pune, Dehradun, Nashik, Kolhapur, Bangalore, Bhopal, Aurangabad, Raigad and Sangli?
Watch out for old warhorse Manjeet Singh Bassan and Shamim. The former has won the event four times on his old but trusted Vespa, and Shamim has bought a new scooter