Meghalaya: It’s rolling, rolling in the muddy tracks for SEMC participants
SHILLONG: Once an adrenaline pumping, catchy show in the idiot box and dream for automobiles enthusiasts, motorsports in Meghalaya has now evolved into a dream within the grasp for many in the state.
In recent years the state has witnessed quite a number of motorsports events and shows with the number of participants ever swelling with each year.
This year's first and biggest motorsports festival in the state, the Shillong Endurance Motorsports Challenge 2016 (SEMC) became a hit amongst the locals of Shillong and this only went on to show that motorsports is now becoming a new craze in town.
This four-day motorsports festival organized by CR Projects from September 14 till 17 at Lum Kur Kharkongor, Umphyrnai Lad Smit witnessed the participation of over 150 motorsports enthusiasts.
Driving their high end, power loaded vehicles through the muddy and rough terrain of Smit, the participants rolled out their jeeps, jypsies and bikes in the muddy tracks, conquering every obstacles, much to the appreciation and excitement of thousands of spectators, most of whom viewed the four day event from atop a hill.
"The response was tremendous, I have never seen such a crowd, nowhere in the entire country and this time, Shillong has outdone itself, which only goes on to prove that the love for this sport is very visible in the Northeast," said a representative of Powerdrift-Pune, Glen Ivan.
"It's amazing to see how the community joined hands with the motorsports lover, lending them support to raise money for organizing such events," Ivan said adding that what surprised him the most was the crowd. "Young and old came out on these four days to witness this event, and what caught my attention was the love for the sport by the people of Shillong," he added.
Many interesting moments were captured during the event, like the tale of two friends— a visually impaired boy and his friend, as they watched the rally from atop a hill. While the blind was unable to see what was happened, his friend became his commentator as he explained every detail to his blind friend, hoping to recreate the same image in his friend's mind though the powerful sound made by these vehicles were an added bonus.
The festival was loaded with skill based competitions for motor vehicles under the categories of 4X4 Off-roading, Autocross, Motorcross, Royal Enfield, Non Gear Scooters and Bicycle downhill trail.
Highlighting the importance of this event, CACTI 360 degree proprietor and event partner of CR Projects, Vicky Kharkongor said "This festival was aimed at promoting and developing this sport across the region and also to bring Meghalaya in the forefront of Motorsport and in doing so, help all the young and passionate guys to grow."
Meghalaya has come a long way in as far motorsports in concerned and during the past 5 years, the state has produced some of the most talented and vigorous motorsports champions in the NE and the country as a whole.
To name a few – Eugene Niangti, Azad Mukhim, Anthony Lyngdoh, Naylin Chowhin, Kriaw Kharkongor, Danny Thangkhiew, Paominthang R Vaiphei besides others.
While interacting to The Northeast Today (TNT News), Shillong 4 stroke expert and open glasses (bike) winner Paominthang R Vaiphei said "This event has one of the best tracks in the entire region and the roughness and muddiness of the track provided an even more challenging task for us, which was pretty intense and exciting."
Vaiphei has also represented the state in different events outside the state and the region like in Kerala, Coimbatore, Bangalore and others. From out of the 15 motorsports events that he participated during the last couple of years, the young biker from Shillong had won in 10 securing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd position in different categories like Novice, beginners, New boys and expert categories.
"It is an expensive sport, I must say, but since my passion towards this sport is more, I tend to overlook the investment part but somehow, it gets covered up through cash prizes that I received in some of the events that I participated," he said.
Highlighting the competition between the different NE states, he said that in as far as Experts category is concerned, Shillong is holding the top spot but in the Novice category, Assam is dominating by overtaking Shillong.
Meanwhile, another enthusiast, Lhiche Mero, a member of the Association of Off-roaders in Nagaland who secured a spot in the top 3 list of the Off-road extreme category said "the tracks were rough, challenging yet professional."
Mero who has been driving and navigating for the past 5 years now had also bagged the 3rd position in the 1600 cc category in the Range Forest Challenge in Goa last year. "The north east is coming up in a very big way, we have good driver. Thanks to the terrain and the landscape!!! It's an added bonus, an already laid practice field for us," he said.
With the kind of public response, this festival and other motorsports events have received, it won't be long for North east to become a 'Hub of Motorsports' in India.
(By Ibankyntiew Mawrie/TNT News)