Siliguri, April 3, 2023: The ninth edition of JK Tyre Himalayan Drive supported by Experience Bengal, Government of Sikkim and Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) was flagged off by Hon’ble Tourism Minister, Government of India, Shri G. Kishan Reddy from Siliguri’s Mayfair Tea Resort at 9 am on April 2, 2023.
Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, John Barla, Darjeeling Lok Sabha MP Raju Bista, the ambassadors of ten G20 nations, and senior officers of Government of India (GoI) and the West Bengal Government were present at the grand flag-off ceremony.
This edition of JK Tyre Himalayan Drive will be an integral part of the prestigious G20 Tourism Working Group Global (TWG) Meet which is being held in North Bengal now.
Delegates from 29 nations participating in the TWG Meet were also present at the flag-off of the three-day rally that will travel to the Dooars, Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills over the next three days.
After the flag-off, the 28 rally vehicles displaying flags of the G20 Meet and G20 nations took a round of Siliguri city before heading to Khaprail and taking the dirt road towards Simulbari tea estate and on to a river bed.
The first leg of the rally stretched over 220 kilometres.After crossing Garidhura, Mirik Road and Panighata Road, the competitors headed towards Gajoldoba barrage, crossed popular tourist destinations Gorubathan and Damdim before reaching the final destination of the first leg of HD9–Murti.
Just Sportz Management Pvt. Ltd. an affiliate of Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India (FMSCI) , the national sports federation approved by Govt. of India, will run the JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 9 (HD 9) , a competitive TSD Car Rally from April 2 to April 5, 2023. Himalayan Drive which has already run 8 successful editions in 2013 , 2014 ,2015 , 2016 , 2017 ,2018, 2019 and 2022 with the active support of West Bengal Tourism & other Govt. departments. The premier event has been able to showcase North Bengal and Sikkim as a premier destination for Adventure Sports to the entire nation.
A total of 28 teams, including two All Ladies teams from all over the country will pit their driving and navigation skills against each other through tough terrains, including dirt tracks, river beds, and narrow and steep mountain roads, in the three-day event.
This edition of Himalayan Drive will have teams from all parts of the country, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra, and teams from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland as well.
The second leg will be flagged off from Murti on April 3 (Monday) morning. A very challenging 220-kilometer route through narrow village roads, riverbeds and tea estates before traversing through the mighty Himalayas for this second leg that will culminate at Gangtok in Sikkim.
In the third and final leg commencing April 4 (Tuesday) morning, competitors will be flagged off from Gangtok and will take to the mountains, driving by steep gorges and verdant forests and popular tourist destinations like Namchi and Jorethang to culminate at Darjeeling. This leg will stretch over 150 kilometres.
The prize distribution ceremony will be held at Darjeeling on April 5 (Wednesday) morning.
The Rally draws inspiration from Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal Ms Mamata Banerjee’s vision of Connecting various regions of Bengal & to its neighbours and encouraging People to People Connectivity in the region. Many of the previous editions have also travelled to Bhutan & Nepal making it a TRI-NATION EVENT. This has been another step in that direction and towards the aspiration of BISWA BANGLA – CONNECTING BENGAL TO THE WORLD.Though this year HD 8 is unable to travel to the neighbouring countries due to Covid restrictions, the core philosophy of connectivity & showcasing of North Bengal continue to be the core philosophy of the event.
JK Tyre & Industries Limited, India’s leading tyre manufacturer, has been associated with Himalayan Drive as the Title Sponsor since its inception in 2013. According to Mr. Sanjay Sharma, Head –Motorsport – JK Tyre & Industries Limited said “We are really excited about the JK TYRE HIMALAYAN DRIVE 9. T It has been a privilege for JK Tyres to have been associated with event since inception & see it grow into it’s present avatar. Our association with Himalayan Drive has helped identify talent and build a culture of motorsport in the Eastern part of the country”
JK Tyre in their constant endeavour to promote and encourage women to take up to motorsport has given the opportunity to the winners of their annual JK Tyre WIAA Women’s Rally to Valley event which concluded in Nasik last week to experience the thrill of Himalayan Drive. The two winning teams of Parul Shah & Pradnya Chavarka and Preeti Khandelwal and Anagha Joshi from Mumbai have won themselves a sponsored drive and will be taking up the challenge.
According to JustSportz Pvt Ltd Director Mr. Tamal Ghosal, “The first eight Himalayan Drive Rallies have unlocked the great prospect of adventure sports in the Eastern Himalayas. It is fitting that Himalayan Drive has this year become part of a prestigious G20 event on tourism”.
Chairman of the Rally and Director, JustSportz Management Pvt Ltd,
Siddhartha Sadhan Bose said: “It is befitting that India’s chairmanship of G20 will be celebrated through Himalayan Drive 9, which will be an event coinciding with the Tourism Working Group Global meet. We are extremely proud that we can showcase the tourism potential of this region to the delegates of the G20 countries and we will be very happy if we get participants from G20 countries to the future editions of Himalayan Drive”.
Bose further explained that the rally passes through many scenic sports in North Bengal and Sikkim that does not fall in the usual tourist circuits. “We expect participants of the rally to revisit these spots at a future time and thus popularise them. This is how we promote tourism in this region,” he said.