Rallyist Satish Gopalkrishnan has never driven with a navigator other than his wife Savera D’Souza ever since he took to professional rally driving four years ago. The couple will now be driving from Bangalore to Uttarakhand as part of the 850-km Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally, which will take off from Dehradun on December 21. Satish and Savera left Bangalore on Tuesday night and are expected to reach Deharadun in three days.
The rally is being organised by Uttarakhand Tourism from December 21 to 24. The route of the rally has been designed to touch some of the major tourism hotspots of the state in the mountains and on the plains.
Before this, the couple has participated in various rallying events, winning among other rallies the Dakshin Dare (2011) and Desert Storm (2012).
On December 22, the Rally will begin early morning from Dehradun. It pass through Rishikesh, Shivpuri, Dev Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Karan Prayag, Chamoli and Joshimath to end at a ski resort in Auli. A total of 35 rallyists will cover about 300 kilometres on the first day of the event.
Bonding over adventure
Road trips were something that Satish and Savera bonded over. Making a quick plan, hoping into a car and then driving for hours together is how the couple would spend most holidays. A freelance software engineer by profession, Satish signed up for a rally driving training course four years ago and his wife followed suit. And this is how their passion for road trips took a different turn. In 2011, they went for their first rally together to the Thar desert. “When the proposal to participate in the Uttarakhand Rally came up, we took it up immediately as we have never been to Uttarakhand before,” said Satish.
The first thing the couple did was to pep up their Grand Vitara with new tyres and plates to make it ready for the hills.
After the rally is over, Satish and Savera plan to stay back for a peaceful New Year celebration in the hills. “It is the year-end when business is slow, so we decided to make a vacation out of this. We will be spending a quiet week together after the rally is over,” he said.
Regaining lost glory
Through the rally, the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, hopes to raise further resources to assist those affected by the floods. The rally is open to any brand or model of automobile. SUVs and cars will fight for top honours in their respective categories. “Through this rally, we hope to bring back the focus on the state where tourism is concerned. Hopefully, people will start considering Uttarakhand again when planning their vacation,” said Satish, in the light of the devastating flash floods that hit the Uttarakhand in June this year.