Team Indian Army puts its most inclusive foot forward
The Army team for Moto Adventure put on an impressive show and won the Team trophy in the category
Shimla: The Indian Army, among the most inclusive forces in the world, proudly wore this badge of honour at the recently-concluded 20th Raid de Himalaya.
From serving officers to sepoys, women officers, havaldars to lance dafadars and even a nursing officer from the Army Nursing Corps, Team Army proudly put its best foot forward at the Raid.
This was the first time that an officer from the Military Nursing Corps (MNC) competed as part of Team Army at the Raid. Capt Prabhakaran Santheni is serving at the Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) Hospital in New Delhi. She was among the four four bikers who participated in the Moto Adventure category at the Raid.
The other lady officer who competed in the Moto Adventure category was Major K Renuka of Army Service Corps (ASC). Both officers rode the Royal Enfield Himalayan at the Raid, the highest-altitude cross-country motorsport marathon in the world.
This year, the Army fielded seven teams in Raid Xtreme 4X4, three teams in Raid Adventure 4X4 (Time-Speed-Distance) format, and four bikers in Moto Adventure. Team leader of the Army Lt Col Shakti Bajaj said trials were held for all competitors at Agra.
The Army teams were fielded by the office of the Director General Military Training (DGMT).
Lt Col Bajaj said that for the Army, an extreme endurance event like the Raid is more like a training event. “The high altitude driving, the rigorous discipline required at such an event has a highly positive effect on the competitors. This year, in addition to serving officers, we had an impressive participation from other ranks. Officers and other ranks competing as a single team is the kind of camaraderie that the Indian Army is greatly proud of,” said Lt Col Bajaj.
Team Army secured an impressive podium finish at the Raid. Lt Col Bajaj and navigator Major Rajesh Kumar Pal were first runners up in the Xtreme T1 category. Havaldar Mangal Singh and Havaldar Manoj Singh were second runners up in Xtreme T1 cagtegory. Major JBS Beg and Lance Dafadar Vijaypal were second runners up in the Xtreme T2 category.
The Army team for Moto Adventure won the Team trophy in the category. Major K Renuka was second runners up in Moto Adventure.
Raid de Himalaya is the flagship event of Shimla-based Himalayan Motorsport, India’s premier motorsport club. President Himalayan Motorsport Vijay Parmar said that since its inception in 1999, the Raid has been dedicated to the armed forces serving at high altitudes.
“The Raid has frequently done night stays at the Army transit camps in Pang and Patseo. This was part of our endeavour to give the civilian participants a taste of what the Army goes through, defending the borders at high altitudes and thick snow,” he said.
Parmar said it is remarkable to see havaldars being navigated by officers, and enjoying great camaraderie.