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K - 1000 anyone?

The K-1000 rally excites precisely because it's a huge challenge

That gruelling drive is what you can look forward to this month

FOR MORE than three decades now, motor racing buffs in Bangalore have been pitting their driving and tuning skills against each other in both the two wheeler and four wheeler sections with missionary zeal. Regardless of expenses, time and effort, the motorists have carried the sport to great heights and over the years, old war horses have given way to younger blood and the baton has been passed on without much effort. Traditionally, the month of August witnesses the staging of a popular national rally — the K-1000 — an event that has attracted entries from all over the country.

First race

The K-1000 was first staged in 1975. A gruelling route of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) was planned and cars and two-wheelers from all over the country flocked to Bangalore to participate. Write-ups on the earlier rallies are hard to access but thanks to Mr. Praneet Perumal, and his friends, press clippings of some of the rallies were made available to assist in the compilation of this article.

Excerpts from the 1982 write-ups tell us how competitors from the length and breadth of the country praised the rally. "The K-1000 is the best in the country and KMSC deserves kudos for staging the rally," one participant said. The Chief Minister of Karnataka in that year, the late R. Gundu Rao, too was enthralled by the rally and promised all assistance to the club staging the rally in the coming years. That year biker Gautam Kadam created a record of sorts winning the strenuous rally for the third time. Gautam had won the rally previously in 1978 with Preetam Shetty and in 1980 with G. Mohan Rao.

The 1982 K-1000 rally was flagged off from the College of Military Police Grounds. An Army team from ASC steering a Jonga also participated in the rally.

In true Army spirit, the team (Major Gill, Colonel P.K.D Kapoor, Major Ghumman and Captain Cariappa) helped other contestants who were bogged down in the slush and even stopped to help an injured competitor.

Rally route

The route for the rally was Bangalore-Mysore-Chickmagalur-Shimoga-Bangalore, which totalled 1,600 km. Ajay Shirke of Pune, Arindam Ghosh of Kolkata (who airlifted his Fiat to the city) and sisters Goolu and Dinaz (married to cousins Kayarmin Pestonji and Farouq Vicaji) of Hyderabad, previous winners of the Himalayan Rally in the Ambassador class were among the participants. The four-wheeler section this year was won by B.M Ravi, Diwakar, Noel Nazareth and Uday Shankar, driving a Premier Padmini tuned by "Bull" Nanayya of the then famous Wheels Garage located on Lavelle Road.

It was in the same year that Anitha and Jagat Nanjappa pressed on to complete the rally despite suffering a puncture on their two-wheeler.

True grit

Anitha sat for a distance of about 70 km on the petrol tank to reduce the weight on the rear flat tyre and Jagat managed to ride the wobbly vehicle a fair distance. Press reports also mention that a Ms. Veena Shivaram rode a Jawa 250 cc in the rally.

There was no gender bias in the sports for sure.

The K-1000 Rally has had its tough times too. In 1989, two-motorcyclists were killed in a head-on collision with a KSRTC bus. That serious accident possibly threw everything out of gear and the results were not tabulated for a long time. Outstation participants were forced to stay on in the city and wait for the results to be announced.

All set

August is here again and the 30th edition of the K-1000 is all set to be flagged off. This time, however, the rally will be held separately for cars and two-wheelers. The distance has been truncated for some time now (thanks to the rising petrol prices and the huge man power needed to regulate safety and monitor the event) and though it is still called the K-1000, the distance covered will be much less than the original 1,000 miles.

Office-bearers of the Karnataka Motor Sports Club have been busy working on the rally route and putting things into place for the smooth conduct of the event. Over the next two-weekends, motorists will be flagged off from The Club on Mysore road and will test their skills and machines probably around Kolar and other parts of the state. Exciting times are here again.


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