Trio from the Konkan Coast gear up for another epic season of Force Gurkha RFC India
The fourth edition of India’s toughest international off-road motorsport event to be held in Goa from 22nd to 30th July 2017.
Panjim, July 4, 2017: As the entire off-roading fraternity of the country gears up for another smashing season of the Force Gurkha RFC India, to be held in Goa from 22nd July to 30th July, three teams from the hosting state are also prepping up to bring home the coveted trophy. This year, teams from Goa at India’s toughest international off-road motorsport event include Cedrick Jordan DaSilva (co-driver Dushyant Khosla), Tejas Prakash Shindolkar (co-driver Pushker Audi) and Dattaraj Dessai (co-driver Rohan Kalekar). Of these three, Tejas represents the off-road club ‘Incredible Offroaders Goa’, whereas Cedric and Dattaraj are participating as individual entries.
RFC India, organized by Delhi-based Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd, is the India Chapter of the iconic Rainforest Challenge of Malaysia, which is amongst the top ten toughest motor races in the world. Currently, the RFC Global Series has around 20 worldwide editions, with the India Chapter being amongst the top three events in the Global Series.
40 teams from across the country will be participating in Force Gurkha RFC India 2017, where they will be competing in around 26 Special Stages (SS) or challenges that will test the contestants’ driving and vehicle recovery skills, team spirit along with their physical and mental strength under extreme off-road conditions. The event follows a point system, wherein the team with maximum points at the end of the competition will claim the Force Gurkha RFC India 2017 Champion title. The total benefits that the top Indian driver of the competition will get amount to $8,000, including an automatic free entry to the RFC Mother Event, to be held in Malaysia at the end of the year.
37-year-old Goan businessman Cedrick Jordan DaSilva is an RFC India veteran and the local off-roading celebrity. Though he has several podium finishes at other off-roading events in his bag, the Force Gurkha RFC India title has eluded him so far. He says, “Participating in RFC India is one of the best things one can do as on off-roader. My performance at the event has steadily improvedover the years; I was at the fifth position in RFC India 2015 and rose to the fourth position in the 2016 edition. I have entered the event this year with a clear intent of winning the overall trophy and I am fully prepared to fight for the ultimate prize.”
The difficulty level, teams and preparation, all seem to be on a steady rise every season. Tejas Prakash Shindolkar, a 36 year old businessman, who participated in the event last year as well, claims, “RFC India is different and tougher than any other off-roading event in India. Each and every challenge is unique, different techniques and skills are tested in every Special Stage. Competing in this event requires a calm approach as well as optimum use of equipment and technique in a time bound system, which takes a toll on most of the participants.”
RFC India debutant participant, Dattaraj Dessai has been an ardent follower of the event ever since its launch in India in 2014. He says, “During the last three editions, I used to travel to all the locations and watch the competitors performing in the Special Stages. Then post event, I would go to the same locations to practice. To be confident of our chances here, it has taken me around two years to modify my vehicle, a Mahindra CJ340, as per RFC India specifications. My co-driver and I have been focusing a lot on our fitness and we have invested our share of energy, attention and money to prepare for the upcoming challenge. Participating in this event is the fulfillment of a long cherished dream and as the event date is approaching, I am feeling like a cocktail of excitement and nervousness!”
All the participants from Goa have one aim in mind - to perform to the best of their abilities. For this, they are busy preparing themselves and their vehicle to their optimum potential so that they leave no stone upturned. Cedric says, “Participation over the last three years has given me a lot of exposure. Still, every year the competition keeps getting tougher and you have to be prepared for the unknown if you want to be at your best. I have prepared myself and my Maruti Gypsy for the best as well as the worst.”
On similar grounds, Tejas says, “I am bringing a Mahindra Classic to the competition, which is fully equipped to deal with the most extreme off-roading conditions. I have made modifications to increase the visibility as that was one area we had trouble in last year. Learning from our performance of last year, the strategy for the upcoming event is to perform better and focus on saving as much time as possible without getting any penalties.”
The determination and courage of these spirited participants prove that they won’t leave any chance to make a mark in this Mecca of off-roading events. They are going to do everything possible to ensure that the coveted Force Gurkha RFC India 2017 Champion title remains within their State, where the week-long action will take place.