Himalayan Motor Sport

4X4 X-Treme


The route and dates

The 20th Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya will run from October 6-14, 2018.

The route for this year will be revealed in July 2018.

You would be spending at least three days above an altitude of 15,000 feet!

On one front, these six days will test qualities of endurance, ingenuity, physical and mental toughness. On the other side will be tested, dramatically, the levels of vehicle preparation and planning for the unexpected!

Which version of the Raid should I opt for? How difficult is it?

The Raid de Himalaya 2018 will run two versions, concurrently, as it did last year: 'X-Treme' and the 'Adventure Trail'.

The X-Treme version, on a scale of 1 to 10, would rate a 9 in terms of difficulty.

The Adventure Trail version would rate a 6.

It is suggested that all first timers participate in the Adventure Trail this year and then move on to the X-Treme levels next year. However, this rule of thumb is not cast in stone and first timers may be permitted for the X-Treme version after being assessed by the "Participation Committee" of Himalayan Motorsport for competence.

You are taking on the mightiest mountains in the world at altitudes where nothing much survives. You need to be physically fit and mentally strong. The unexpected lies around the next bend and it need not always be pleasant!

Our earlier Raids attracted a wide array of vehicles... both motorcycles and four wheelers. The drivers and riders ranged from first timers to professionals. The program is drawn such that it offers a reasonable degree of challenge each day and yet allows sufficient time to recover for the next. A well-prepared car and a generally fit person can easily cope up with the rigors of our event and all that the high altitude route has to offer.

'Through the night' driving is not part of the plan. We try and get to our night halts by early evening, but it is possible you may finish with headlights on, especially if you are running late. Each day normally starts just after sunrise though, this year, a few Legs will be flagged off at dawn! However, some competitors, in past years, have driven through the night when plagued with problems. Though not encouraged, this can give you a fresh perspective on life!

There is a special camaraderie that springs from long distance events, and meeting up at the end of the day is very much a part of the flavor of the event. That and the fact that the moment the sun goes down, Ladakh changes in 15 minutes from a scenic landscape to a deadly cold one are the main reasons to get everyone safely in before sunset!

How do I prepare?

Vehicle Preparation
The Raid Office team can help you from the choice of car, how to prepare it, personal preparations, recce plans, medical adviceyou have the support of an experienced team behind you. The Raid Office is available to answer your questions. Vijay, Atul and Manjeev, having driven in many long distance events, aim to give you as much 'back-up' support for your planning as possible. Just write to Himalayan Motorsport at info@raid-de-himalaya.com for any assistance.

Though you may decide to take it as it comes and fix things as they break, our advice is that it is better to set off with a totally reliable car than have to seek workshops for a rebuild, halfway. You should endeavor to set off, knowing that the car has been fully prepared with all of the Raid Office advice notes taken into account by your workshop during car preparation.

Finally, you are flagged off with the peace of mind of knowing that you have the support of a highly experienced organization as your back-up. Downloading the pre event scrutiny form will give you a good idea of what makes up the compulsory safety modifications that have to be made to your car.

Medical Preparation
Our Medical team is highly experienced and we issue "Medical Notes" in the run up to the event to help you prepare well. The medical lists will give details of all you must carry to battle High Altitude Sickness as well as sunburn. 

What cars are best?

As this is primarily an off road marathon event, any vehicle having a decent ground clearance, 4 X 4 capability and the capacity to take a beating for seven days would be the best. Our T1 Group allows you to practically mix and match engines , gear boxes and chassis of any vehicle with another, to produce the finest-tailor made weapon for this terrain!

However, as a lot of the course is tarmac, you must keep in mind that a Maruti Esteem won the event outright in 2000, being well ahead of all the 4X4 vehicles entered! This hasn't been repeated subsequently, so unless you are preparing a 2 wheel drive Baja buggy for the event, stay with the 4X4 options! 

What needs to be done to make the vehicles 'Raid worthy'?

The Raid Management requires that the 4-wheelers are prepared to internationally acceptable safety standards.

The 4-wheel category vehicles need to follow the FIA rules which can be either downloaded from the FIA site at www.fia.com or from this link for the FIA Cross Country Vehicles Regulations. On the FIA site, one should download Article 281 through to 287 for the General, Safety and Technical Regulations for Cross Country Cars, i.e., T1, T2, and T4 for Cross Country Trucks. Adobe Acrobat 6 would be the optimum reader for the PDF files that these documents are encoded in.

The cars or trucks have to be equipped with a roll cage, four point seat belts, electrical cut out switch on the exterior of the vehicle, fire extinguishers and all crew members need to wear helmets. Downloading the pre event scrutiny form for cars will be of great help here.

Green Policy
Continuing our NO-OFFROAD POLICY since 2002, this year will see the continuation of the trend that rally 4x4s and cars will be once again subject to an Environmental Scrutiny. What this means, in short, is that the vehicles need to be within the legal sound limits. The decibels will be measured at Scrutiny. Further, whenever they are parked in Parc Ferme or being repaired anywhere, they will need to first spread a tarpaulin underneath to catch any oil, grease, coolant, etc., that they may be leaking.

We need to be more careful with Mother Earth....we need to play hard but green!

Who can enter?

Just about anyone who has a regular driving license and obtains the Competition Driving License from the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). This must be done well before the pre event scrutiny, i.e., October 6-7, 2018. Contact us on e-mail for the license forms at: info@raid-de-himalaya.com or better still:

Fill in the FMSCI Competition License Forms online for 4x4s/Cars/Trucks. For license fee, please navigate the required links.

Your doctor will fill out a basic health format, included in the forms, and you can forward the document directly to the FMSCI as the case may be. A photocopy of your civil driver's license needs to be attested by a notary public along with required annexures.

How do I acclimatize and can I do a route recce?

The route will be finalized by the end of July 2018. All those who submit their entries, with complete documentation, will receive a copy of the Road Books/or recce notes 30 days before the event (September 5) to do an entire route recce if they wish. However, it is neither necessary nor practical, in terms of both costs and time, to do the entire route beforehand. Just a few stages, two weeks before, and above the 4,000 meter mark would give you an idea of the terrain and acclimatize you for the event.

What are the costs involved?

Entry fees ,insurances, vehicle preparation, service backup, the expenses of the recce and running the Raid are the main costs incurred. For details, click on the costs of participation link here.

Do I need any special qualifications?

No, but any kind of past experience will, of course, be useful. A lot of determination and perhaps a sense of humor will often see you through the most testing of times. While mechanical knowledge can be useful not everyone has it! If you drive safely and to a game plan, you probably would not need it.

Physically, you need to be very fit. You will need to consult your physician if you suffer from Hypertension ( high blood pressure) and/or breathing disorders like asthma. We would be crossing passes in excess of 18,000 feet and oxygen is in short supply.

Do I need any special insurance covers?

Yes, you will have to obtain a special insurance cover for using your vehicle in the Raid. This is called a Rally Insurance and is only for the vehicle you plan to use for the event. It is only valid for the days of the Raid and you can easily get it from your insurance agent.

A Personal Accident Policy covering the participant for a minimum amount of Rs. 5,00,000/- is a must. This policy should also be easily available from your insurance agent and should mention that it is for the purpose of the Raid. This policy should cost not more than a few hundred rupees.

As the Raid runs in the most desolate Himalayan regions, sometimes it is imperative to use professional medevac either by ground or air ambulance to tackle an emergency. We are trying to arrange Medevac Insurance at a decent rate. However, at the start itself, we would like to reiterate that air ambulance evacuation will only be possible for those participants with Medevac Insurance. Ground evacuation, however, is part of the arrangements that will be made for every participant who enters the Raid de Himalaya 2018.

What about stay and food arrangements at the night halts?

Your hospitality normally starts on the night before the Flag Off. All your hotels at the night halts are a part of the entry fee. In a few cases, these may be only tents laid out on a freezing wind lashed plain. Where possible, should you want a single room or upgrade to a better hotel, you are welcome to, but at your own cost. We would be able to advise you on the various accommodation possibilities available at the locations of the night halt.

For the nights before and after the Raid, do contact the Rally office for cost options on hotels. As the return journey may take two nights, you can book accommodation on your return route through us as well. 

If, for whatsoever reason, you decide to drop out of the event, board and lodging facilities would cease to be provided. However, you would avail of these facilities for any Leg you start and can make it to the official night halt even though you may have dropped out of the Raid during that Leg. Our Entry Fee reflects good value - blended with professional support and administration. Food arrangements are a part of the hospitality only at the few places where the Raid will camp out and no restaurants are available.

We do not make any arrangements at places that have many restaurants and eating joints and here the choice of eatery is yours.

The Raid lunch / dinner post the Prize Giving Ceremony at the end of the event is on us. Thereafter, all hospitality ceases and one is left to fend for oneself.

Ah, cruel world!

How cold does it get?

The day temperature ranges from 2 to 26 degrees Celsius and the night temperature plunges as low as -21 degrees Celsius. The best woolens along with thermals and windproofs are a must. It is absolutely essential that all participants carry their sleeping bags on board. Though the sweep vehicle makes every effort to ensure that every individual along the route makes it to the night halt location, it may mean several hours of waiting in subzero temperatures for the Sweep Team to show up. The sleeping bag will most certainly be the lifesaver during this wait.

Do I have to make any special arrangements for my service teams?

Yes, you do. Firstly, you have to register the service team/s with us against a small fee. As the Raid runs into the forward areas that border Pakistan and China, every service crew member must carry proper identification. No member of the service crews will be permitted beyond Sarchu unless he or she is carrying this I.D. which will be supplied by Himalayan Motorsport.

Secondly, you will have to book, against payment, with us for the team's stay at the designated campsites along the route, where the Raid will stay overnight. Details of this fee can be had in the costs section.

Where do I get fuel halfway to Tibet?

Petrol pumps along the route will provide for 87 octane unleaded petrol and normal diesel, every 350 km of the way. Extra range tanks on all the vehicles are a good idea. Remote area refueling on the Ladakh plain is provided for competitors only. The diesel provided in Ladakh will not be the special zero wax anti-freeze diesel. It will be the normal oil that can freeze during the nights! Fuel to be provided to participants will have to be booked in advance and paid for before the start of the Raid. To figure out the fuel requirement, you can call Himalayan Motorsport for assistance.

Service vehicles have to carry their own fuel, as no calculation and thereby arrangements for their fuel requirements, is possible.

How late can I enter?

The last time and date for the entries is 1700 hrs on September 15, 2018. All your paperwork must be completed by September 30, 2018 by the latest.

However, an Early entry (May 15-June 15, 2018) will attract a lower fee and will give you enough time to get all your paperwork in order well in time.

Standard entry (between June 16-July 15, 2018) will be at a higher rate than the early entries. However, this timeframe too has enough time for documentation, etc.

Late entries (between July 16 and September 15, 2018) will attract a still higher fee. This fee is non-refundable in the event that your paperwork does not come together in time for the event.

Details of the other categories of ENTRY FEE can be had directly from this link.

What happens if I break down in the middle of never-never land or even get lost?

On an event of this magnitude, there is every possibility that you will have the problems associated with a high speed endurance event that runs day after day through inhospitable terrain. You will break things along the way and your vehicle may give way completely before the last time control. So what do you do stranded in the middle of nowhere without a soul in sight... or worse still go off the track and get lost?

If you break down in the middle of nowhere, don't worry. Himalayan Motorsport has a Sweep Team for every stage which will eventually reach you as they bring up the rear mopping up of stragglers! Your vehicle will be left where it is, unless it is a short distance (less than 10 km) to a town or village and towing is possible. You will be given a ride to the end of the Leg night halt.

Himalayan Motorsport will help you arrange for a transport back home for your car on the next day. This will normally be a local recovery truck from the nearest point possible and will be paid for by the competitor. Army recovery assistance, wherever possible, is normally for free.  

In case you wander off the track, which is highly unlikely, as on most stages there are no alternative routes, your absence from the pack will be missed immediately. Himalayan Motorsport has radio cars reporting the progress of each driver every 10km of the route and these are manned by the best crews in Indian Motorsport. Before you have been lost for 10 minutes, we know you are missing!

Also your Road Book has been made with a highly specialized Rally computer equipped with GPS, that is accurate to the last 10 meters. You will be given the Road Book well in advance to enable you to do a route recce which reduces, hugely, the chances of getting lost. It is probable that the Road Book for this year will be GPS tracks and waypoints only. As you can recce a month in advance, Pace Notes will be necessary for 4-wheelers. GPS, preferably Garmin 76CSx or a Tripy II is recommended. With a RAM Bar Mount, external antenna and a lighter power cord, you should be fully prepared to do battle with the course.

Maps/digital Road Books for the Tripy GPS II will also be made available to those that have invested in a Tripy.

Contact Info

For specific answers to queries that are either not covered above, or arise from the above information, please mail us at 

You will receive a quick response. Further, as most of our correspondence is also on paper, all serious enquiries may be accompanied by postal addresses and contact phone numbers.