The year was 1996; Mahindra organized the first ‘Great Escape’ in Goa. And thus started India’s off – roading event where owners could come and enjoy nature and explore the ability of their Mahindra 4x4s. Over two decades have passed and the Great Escapes are better than ever before and today Mahindra Adventure hosts the 141st Great Escape back to the land of the beaches – Goa.
Tucked far away from the touristy North Goa, the dense forest and the empty sandstone quarries of Cuncolim in the South of Goa was our playground for this year’s Goa Great Escape. This year 50 teams registered to enjoy off-roading which was divided into two categories – 4x4 trail drive - for those adventure hungry participants and the Off-road Trophy – a competitive event for the more hardcore off-road enthusiast.
The Chairman of Tourism for Goa along with the MD of Hella India and other officials from Maxxis Tyres, Gulf Oil and Come Up winches flagged off the 4x4 trail drive. 37 cars driving off into the jungle was a spectacle in itself. The 16km drive was not a piece of cake by any means. After turning off the tarmac, the participants were in for a treat. They had to drive up and down slippery slopes (thanks to the non-stop downpour), cross small streams, crawl over boulders and at some places they had to be winched up as well. Overall, it was quite the adventure and the participants really got a taste of what off-roading is all about.
While the 4x4 trail participants tackled the jungle, the 12Off-road Trophy participants were battling it out in the quarry. The competitors had a total of three obstacles to finish before the winner was crowned. The first obstacle involved a steep slippery descend to the bottom of an abandoned quarry, a sharp left would lead them over boulders and down to the finish line. While some vehicles could not clear the obstacle, a few did cross the finish line. The second obstacle was similar, but easier. For the last challenge of the day, the competitors had to drive through a river, clamber over huge boulders and up a steep slippery slope.
After a grueling day of off-roading Tejas Shindolkar finished first followed by Amit Nair in the Modified class; while Dattaraj Hawande bagged the first place followed by Jashraj Patil in the Stock Category. Maithili Bhobe was crowned the champion in the Ladies Category. The winners will get a chance to fight for the Off-road crown and win a new Thar at the Grand Finale in Igatpuri.