Thursday 18 Sep 2014
It was evening. I was back to home from my office. As usual it was time to beat the tiredness. What I usually do? After a refresh, turn on the Music on the home PC, hear some melodies. This usually goes for half an hour after which I move on to other routine.
But on Thursday evening, as I was switching on my home PC, my phone ringed. The person on the other end was Shrinidhi, my long time blogger friend. "Hey, are you free this Sunday, 21 Sep? Jaguar Land Rover is sprucing out an Offroading Experience." And, this was a music, more interesting, than what I was going to hear in my home PC!!
"Yeah!! " said me. Offroading that too on a luxury SUV!! I replied him that I would be there for sure. Then the process started with couple of calls and emails from Blogadda who are coordinating the bloggers coming for this event.
The event happened on Sunday afternoon. We needed to be there by 12.00 noon, start with the lunch and go on with the off roading event.
Shrinidhi, Ashwini and myself were to go in a cab for the event venue. We fixed 11.30 a.m. as the the ample time to catch up together at Shollinganallur junction on the ECR and continue the journey in a cab and reach "The Farm" a specialty restaurant at Semmancherry Village on the OMR in Chennai.
Sunday 21 Sep 2014
Yours truly started off from Cuddalore by 7.30 a.m. While I crossed past Pondicherry, I confirmed my coordinates to Shrinidhi.
As planned, I joined Shrinidhi and Ashwini awaiting with the Innova cab exactly at 11.30 a.m. at Shollinganallur ECR junction and we all started off to "The Farm" the venue for the Jaguar Land Rover Experience.
After a few minutes of getting introduced with the people, I was in for a surprise to meet Tinu Cherian. I have felt his online presence, more than once, be it twitter or facebook through retweets made by others. Met him for the first time. Happenings like this do get me joy which are hard to forget in life. Its a first meeting him.
We all then had some fruit juice. The previous session of off roading was going on. We were told that The Land Rovers have gone into the off roading terrain, which is nearby and should be in the middle of the session. We understood that, it would take more than half hour for the session to end. It was felt that we all can go and have a look.
So, we all went in to the big private farm land by walk...
The experience was facilitated by Cougar Motorsports, specialists in OffRoad events in India, from "Tata Motors Full Throttle" to "The Himalayan Dash". After lunch, briefing session by experts from Cougar as well as JLR started off.
Rovers. We were in for a surprise to know that the vehicle has features such as Hill Descent Control - prevents the machine from slipping / skidding due to hard braking while going downhill. Another control - Terrain Response - can change throttle response and a million other parameters based on the terrain such as sand, rock etc..,
Clear instruction were given to us. As each car was driven by us, there would be an expert driver sitting on the left seat. We should follow our instructor’s command to the letter, if we don’t, the drive experience was bound to be taken over by the expert. Ofcourse, all of us enjoyed the drive, no one was taken off.
The next trail was a mud slush. Then a mound came in. Then came a slush. The vehicle was put in different modes. All the controls were taken care of by the computers in the vehicle. Barely the skill of the driver is put into play.
Then there was a stretch which was bit longer and I got the chance to push the accelerator bit harder. It was a good experience. There was another descending mound to be taken now. This was a bit challenging one and so it took more time for the three vehicles before me to queue out.
So far so good, I was rotating the pod in the vehicle to "Drive" and moving the vehicle as needed. Whenever the vehicle wants to be stopped for a long time, I switched the pod to "Parking" and waited. So, I was in the "Parking" mode for a longer time. Since I was the last man in the convoy, a fire lit in me. Why not try "Reverse"? I asked my instructor. He nodded. I then turned the knob to "R" and drove the RangeRover for some twenty feet in the reverse. Ofcourse I was the only person in the group who roved the Evoque in the reverse. A gift for this last man in the convoy!!
We came back to the venue, filled in our feedback and started off...
The pit to test the capability of the SUVs
The marshals awaiting for the next batch to come into the terrain for the offroading.
The smoke from the vehicle bubbles out of the water.