The rally is open to owners of vintage and classic cars, modern 4x4s and enduro motorcycles who wish to explore India in their own vehicle. It is particularly suited to those who like to drive and enjoy taking time to discover those wonderful hidden places off the beaten track.
This rally is designed for anyone wanting to discover the country using rally techniques that give you the freedom to travel on your own. However, it is not a race and there is no dash against the clock. Therefore, winning will be about experiencing a fun and unforgettable holiday, making new friends, and rediscovering the joys of driving a classic car, 4x4 or motorcycle on scenic roads through beautiful countryside.
Different categories of vehicle may take different routes; classic cars can choose the asphalt routes or easy metalled roads, while 4x4 drivers and motorcycle riders will be given alternative routes taking them along jeep tracks into rural areas. There will be options for those who wish to get straight to the next destination or want to take longer routes through back roads and rarely visited places.
Tim 'Jingers' Riley has been in the rally business for many years. In fact, he grew up surrounded by rallying. With his father an international rally driver and his mother a world-class navigator, he could hardly escape it! Jingers took part in competitive racing and rallying himself when he was younger, and participated in numerous long distance rallies throughout the world. After some few years, he was invited to join the crew on HERO events and 4x4xplore rally tours, and since then has spent many years working on these events.
An experienced motor mechanic, he has an established business, which specialises in the repair of classic and vintage cars at his workshop near Christchurch, New Zealand.
Jingers has a reputation for service and reliability; he is well known to many classic car owners and has plenty of satisfied customers throughout New Zealand and the World.
This tour is provisionally set at 30 days; however, it might be extended to 31 days depending on survey results. As it is a 4x4/classic car journey, naturally a large proportion of time will be spent driving. India being what it is, average speeds will be much lower than you might expect in western countries and as a rule it is advisable not to travel after dark, if at all possible.
Every day there is a recommended route in the form of a roadbook and maps accompanied by a list of villages and towns en route. Included are recommended lunch stops as well as fascinating places to visit during the day. Breaks are important to stretch the legs, as well as a chance to chat to fellow participants and view the scenery or points of interest.
It is a non-competitive event; therefore, there is no need to hurry to your daily destination. Each night's accommodation is handpicked and vetted by us for charm, comfort and location. Evenings are relaxed and friendly social occasions, where you will have the chance to compare the day's adventures and plan your options for the following day.
The itinerary will include a number of rest days in some of the main tourist centres. These will give you a chance to explore interesting sights at your leisure, join other excursions, or relax at your hotel resort. There will also be the opportunity to carry out any vehicle maintenance required.
Participants do not need to be experienced navigators to take part in this event. Detailed route instructions, 'tulip' roadbooks, marked maps and city plans will be provided. The organisers will provide you with a GPS unit loaded with important information to use in conjunction with the roadbook (a deposit will be taken for safe return of an undamaged GPS unit). The route will be described in briefings and the rally organisers will be very willing to give you any further advice.
Participants are free to drive in convoy with a group of friends if uncertain of their navigation skills, but this is not compulsory. Neither is it strictly necessary to follow the planned route. There will be choices and participants will have the flexibility to make their own decisions given their personal interests, whether to explore tourist sites, enjoy day walks or take photographs.
Driving in India presents a new challenge. For those who have never visited before, your senses will be constantly bombarded from every direction, whether from the noise, the smells or the colours, so you'll need to adjust quickly and have your wits about you.
The land area of India is less than one third of Europe yet the population is more than twice that of Europe; it follows then that the driving can be chaotic. The main highways are busy but the traffic keeps moving. The secondary and rural roads, however, are comfortable, although care should be exercised before embarking on any long sections; remember you won't be able to read the signposts! Importantly, speeds are generally much lower than in more developed countries, therefore, locals are not expecting you to approach quickly: remember, we are guests in the country and should respect the local rhythms. Finally, if you do plan to go off the rally route, ensure that you let others know!
The base route covers approximately 6,750 km and consists of a mixture of sealed and unsealed roads. But obviously, driving in a strange country over some bumpy roads is never completely without challenge. As much as possible, we will keep off the main highways to give interesting and varying alternatives. Travelling by 4x4 or motorbike you will be able to relax on the main highways and yet 'go bush' when the mood takes you. Certainly travelling by 4x4 will allow you to get into the 'great outdoors' in comfort.
In terms of proficiency, participants should be skilled drivers on normal roads. You should hold an international driving permit and a current driver's licence issued in your own country; this MUST be carried with you whilst driving.
The support team is made up of individuals who are very experienced in their own field of knowledge. The administration will run one vehicle at the head of the field which will be crewed by staff involved in the organization of the event since its inception. Another vehicle, crewed by an experienced motor mechanic and a qualified European doctor, will sweep the route attending to any mechanical or medical issues. We have also hired local help in the form of tour guides/interpreters who will travel with the organising team to assist with the language barrier and any issues relating to local customs/traditions.
How long is a piece of string? These two questions are remarkably similar! It is a personal choice and participants will have to make their own decision. However, our advice is that it should be a robust vintage or classic car capable of cruising at 90 kph for the duration of the day. It must be in top condition and 100% trustworthy.
We stress that it would be unpleasant to have to spend every day and each evening fixing your car, while others are out enjoying the sights of India and relaxing with new friends. Bring a reliable vehicle!
If getting 'off road' is your preference, then we'd recommend the 4x4 or enduro bike option. Travelling by four-wheel-drive gives versatility and offers participants the chance to see some real backcountry. 4x4s can be hired in India, reducing shipping and insurance hassles. Contact us
A big, bold YES! Your vehicle will need some special preparation, but nothing more than a GPS, a 400-km fuel range, good tyres and brakes, and an oil-tight engine. It must be capable of travelling in temperatures that could reach 40°C. Vehicles should be comfortable for both driver and passengers; there will be some long days of driving, so comfort will aid enjoyment! Over and above these basic requirements, it is up to each participant; our advice is "Keep it simple!"
The open road speed limit in India varies from state to state, some as low as 40kph, with the highest in Punjab at 80kph. However, it is common to see speeds of 100-120 kph on expressways, of which there are very few in India and motorcycles are not allowed to use expressways. Furthermore, speed-limit enforcement in India is almost non-existent-although recently highway police have begun to use automated instruments which capture the speed and mail any fine to the car's owner.
Vehicles will be required to hold a current 'Carnet de Passage', valid road tax and road safety inspection documents from the country of registration.
No problem. We will act as a 'dating agency' for those looking to share the costs or those unable to afford the time away from other commitments. If you would prefer to do only one section of the event, we will tailor-make a holiday to your needs. Please contact us
to discuss the options.
The rally will start and finish in Mumbai, India. Regular international flights arrive and depart on a daily basis. Your travel agent should be able to assist in booking these; however, the rally organisers will give you any advice you need.
We have chosen a variety of accommodation to give you a taste of the real India. In the cities, we'll stay in the large five-star international hotels, and in the remoter localities we've opted for places with a little more exclusivity. We've selected some elegant palaces and boutique lodges with the highest standards of comfort and hospitality. After a long day of driving, it is nice to relax in luxury amidst some of India's most beautiful surroundings. However, there will have to be more basic levels of accommodation in some of the high-altitude and isolated locations.
This adventure has been tailored around the Himalayan regions, as the very high passes are only open for a limited number of weeks each summer. Combined with this, it was felt better to avoid the full force of the southwest monsoon. The aim is to arrive at the tail-end of the monsoon season but also before the high deserts have become filled with snow.
Anticipate temperatures to vary widely throughout your journey. Generally it's warmer in the deserts to the west and cooler in the mountains and altitudes of the north. As a rough guide, expect temperatures to range from 3°C to 35°C. The end of the wet season can still be humid, therefore, be prepared for some heat, but the thin air and high passes of the Himalayan regions will bring cold nights. Bring good quality warm clothing, the Himalayan section covers just one week of the event but there's nothing worse than being cold; you can always take your clothes off!
No problem. We'll help you with advice and tips, and can even book hotels for you if you plan on staying extra days.
Your health in India is very important. Before you depart, see your doctor for his recommendations about flying long haul and travelling in India. A first aid kit for your vehicle is compulsory. In addition, we suggest you bring suntan lotions, headache and stomach-upset potions, and mosquito repellent.
You must bring a full compliment of any drugs/medicines you normally use; you cannot guarantee to find your requirements in India and the language barrier will create more unnecessary issues.
Altitude will be a concern for some; we climb from 8,500ft (2,500m) to overnight at 11,500ft (3,500m) in two days. There will be numerous passes to cross approaching 16,000ft (5,000m) but no mandatory overnight halt above 11,500ft (3,500m). Speak to your doctor; there are ways to manage your body and drugs to alleviate the effects.
In the event of a major incident, we have qualified European medics travelling as part of the team with immediate access to a limited supply of drugs; there are medical services in major centres but the quality as well as the range of services varies greatly. However, our medical staff are widely experienced and equipped to cope with the majority of scenarios.
We require you to arrange travel insurance to cover yourself for injury or illness. Repatriation cover is also recommended.
Tea Plantations of India