The jeep teetered on top of the ridge. It was an almost vertical eight metres drop to the bottom. Everyone held their breath as the jeep came down slowly, looking almost vertical as it descended the slope. When it reached the bottom safely, all the spectators heaved a sigh of relief. Then another jeep appeared at the top of the ridge and made its scary descent to the thrill of the onlookers.
What was going on? A backyard off-roading event organised by my son and his team! Driving where there is no road at all—not even a mud path—and negotiating the vehicle through mud, slush, water and stony terrain is what off-roading is all about.
Off-roading can be practiced only by those who have equipped their vehicles with special tyres and other features and who can expertly handle their vehicles. Sometimes a vehicle might be fully equipped for off-roading yet fail due to the inexperience of the driver. At other times, it is the expertise of the driver alone by which his vehicle smoothly undertakes off-roading challenges without any mishap.
The sport is fraught with danger akin to other adventure sports like bungee jumping and sky diving and that is what makes it thrilling.
A passion for vehicles and driving, a feeling of oneness with the vehicle as you move together through danger, is the basis for enjoying an off-roading experience. It is not for the faint-hearted-people like me, for instance, who feel dizzy standing on a chair or shudder with fear when the vehicle tilts dangerously.
This Sunday, motoring enthusiasts had a thrilling off-roading experience in our backyard where they participated in a trail over undulating terrain and then drove their vehicles safely over several artificial obstacles created. Sumptuous breakfast, lunch and tea for participants and spectators formed an added attraction to the festivities. One of the obstacles consisted of two narrow boards placed over a gorge.
The jeeps had to position their tyres on the boards and cross to the other side. The boards were placed in a way that the vehicles would tilt dangerously, making the onlookers gasp in horror fearing that it would tip over. The fear which the driver experiences is apparently double that of the spectators. It is a thrilling fear and one which produces an exhilarating adrenalin rush. As my son put it: “Which other adventure sport can give you this kind of an adrenalin rush at just two kilometer per hour?”