Making Space for the ‘DIRT RIDERS’
When we were younger, a computer would be looked at as a ‘Machine for Games’. Roadrash, Desert Rage, FMX Rush were among the games we played, where we would be reckless, competitive and try really hard to win. Many, may have ranked first in these games too, but who knew such games could be played for real as well! ‘The Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally’ is one such event, where participants are required to fight through the muck, dirt and gravel laden route that is selected by the organisers. With the monsoons here, most people prefer to ride ‘safe’ and try to avoid the dirt and puddle, but in the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally, one is required to ‘get down and get dirty’. On Sunday, 8th July 2012, the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally, sponsored by the Gulf Oil Corporation was held. This one of a kind event is generally held after the first shower of monsoon in Mumbai. It is a competitive affair, where scooters are used and the total distance required to cover is about 120 km (comprising of transport sector as well as competitive sector). This year’s rally witnessed participants from Dehradun, Bhopal and Mumbai. The rally flagged of at 8.30 am, from Our Lady’s Home in Parel, which proceeded to Navi Mumbai.
This year was the ‘23rd Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally’, yet it sounds like the first, probably due to lack of coverage by the media or the ignorance of the masses. The participants this year were about 30, most of them had experience, as they had participated in the previous rallies that were held and did win as well. Isn’t it surprising, Mumbai being a populated city with a great number of youngsters, who love bikes (keeping in mind the sound of the bikes in the middle of the night) and such less number of participants. Mr. Shrikant Karani, the founder of the biggest individual motorsport organiser, Sportscraft, spoke to the Indian Express, about how the masses are unaware of motorsports. He said, “The sport is advancing. But the masses have to be involved. I understand the popularity for glamorous events like Formula 1, but at the same time all efforts should be done to take this sport to the masses by holding events like Endurances and Autocrosses”.
In the pockets of the city, one may find illegal races and rallies being held by unknown groups for youngsters, many a times, which also leads to death of youngsters. Events such as the Gulf Rally can be a way, where the youth can display their talents and probably achieve something towards the end of it. Therefore, giving such events more light and encouraging the masses to get involved, may work as an advantage. This sports related activity can, in a way help, curb the aggressive events of the night.
This year the event had got much greater coverage through newspapers and social networking sites; hence many showed the enthusiasm through social networking sites by posting tweets and comments. A few also mentioned that they will participate next year. With a majority of the population being interested in bikes and sports, an assumption can be made that events such as these can be made much more popular and in demand, than they are now. Hopefully, Motorsports will be more welcomed and we will see many more Rustoms (this year’s winner) and probably, ‘Dirt Riders’ will be able to create their space and get its recognition too.