16th April, 2014

Born to off-road

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By Aminah Sheikh

Imagine two school boys making their own track for their ‘Hot wheel cars’ …racing but mostly off-roading – descending on the scale of the school compass box,  ascending over home furniture, car being washed in a bowl of water. Now, imagine a bunch of grown-ups toying around in ‘uncaged’ 4x4s, doing the same things but on 1:1 scale. Actually don’t imagine it, just watch the Gerrari Off-roaders in action, at their favourite track Mullanpur, in Chandigarh. When you spot a vehicle submerged in water (slush too) cruising like a submarine, know it’s the Gerrari boys doing it Xtreme.

The core group members –Kabir Waraich, Kripal Singh Tung, Dushyant Khosla, Padam Chauhan and Karan Bali- came together four years ago. Back then they didn’t know they’d grow from a small group of 5-6 off-road enthusiasts to over 40 now. The group has a mix of vehicles ranging from the Thar, CJ, Jeep, Gypsy to Fortunas and Pajeros.

Kabir recalls the day he met Padam. “I’d just bought my CJ and was kicked about seeing what the vehicle could do. In my enthusiasm I went off-roading alone and got stuck in slush with no way out! Padam, who I didn’t know back then, was having an outing with his friends. He spotted me and helped me out. That’s how we got together as off-roader buddies,” he shares.

A few days later, at a party Kabir was showing his off-roading pictures to Karan, when he dropped Kabir’s phone in a drink. Since then they’ve been at each other’s necks on the off-roading playground. Karan has spent over Rs 15 lakh on his Thar. Sample this: he has three set of tyres!

The Gerrari off-roaders have members from Karnal, Panipat, Patiala, in addition to members from Chandigarh. They off-road through the year. “No season can stop us. At the same time we are cautious and well equipped,” says Kripal.

The group as a rule off-roads only if there are a minimum of four vehicles.  A few months ago one of the group members ventured alone with a co-driver. Unfortunately, the car toppled while climbing. “It was luckily we reached in time, and he wasn’t hurt. It is not something we encourage,” says Kabir.

Majority of the vehicles owned by Gerrari have slight modification such as snorkel fitted, suspensions, coil springs, and enhanced tyres.  “It requires skill to drive a ‘stock car’. Having said that for certain climbs the vehicles has to be notched up,” says Dushyant.

At Gerrari they like it Xtreme but safety is their priority. “Don’t do anything reckless,” says Kabir.

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