KOCHI: Mud races are all about the adrenaline rush for those who are enthusiastic about the sport. Though it is quite popular in northern parts of the country, Kerala hasn’t had many such events in the past. To popularise the sport in the state, Trivandrum Jeepers Club (TJC) will conduct a mud race in Thiruvananthapuram next month.TJC president Ramesh Pillai and his team of like-minded off-road enthusiasts were active in rescue missions during the 2018 flood. Now, they are coming together for ‘mud therapy’, the 4x4 off-road race to be held on May 21 and 22.
Over 80 acres of land at Kadamb Estate in Peyad will host the exciting race, which will be supported by Thiruvananthapuram natives as well as people from neighbouring districts. More than a sport, mud racing is also full of tourism possibilities, said Ramesh, an ardent mud racer. “For us, terrains and slopes in Kottayam, Idukki and Vagamon offer a real off-roading experience. Outside the state, Himachal Pradesh and other mountainous states are preferred. Kadamb Estate is owned by my close friend. Our idea was to familiarise people with the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, including my hometown Nedumangad. People can hop on our jeeps for a great experience,” says Ramesh. TJC currently has around 140 members.
The club’s first off-road drive was at the estate trail. The event held in March saw participation from many 4x4 vehicle owners and their families. More than 50 people turned up for the one-day event. According to Ramesh, though mud racing is a risky sport, the club is strict about rules and regulations. Mahindra’s Thar model vehicles are used most commonly for the races. “The government has released more guidelines regarding off-roading and we strictly adhere to them. We only allow people over 18 years with licences to participate. Much like how off-roading is a sought-after sport in Munnar, we are trying to explore tourism opportunities here,” adds Ramesh.
Ramesh also believes such events will help groom more people who can volunteer for rescue operations during natural calamities. “Though many people own 4x4 vehicles, they are reluctant to take them on challenging terrains. Such competitions will help them explore their vehicles, ”says Ramesh. TJC assisted the district collectorate during flood rehabilitation works in Pathanamthitta, Ranni, Wayanad and Marayoor in 2018 and 2019.
“We will disqualify those who do not wear seatbelts and helmets during the competition. We want to welcome more women into the sport too. I believe it will he;p many escape the mundane stressful life,” Ramesh said.
One of the first 4x4 mud races in the state capital will be organised by Trivandrum Jeepers Club next month