Mumbai 06 July 08: Once again Manjeet Singh Bassan proved a class above the rest of the field to win the Sportscraft-organised Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally sponsored by Gulf Oil Corporation Ltd. around the backwoods of Navi Mumbai on Sunday 6th July 2008.
This is Manjeet Singh’s 5th win in Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally. Astride a his LML Vespa he zipped through the 74 kms course with minimum penalty of 31 minutes and 49 seconds, well ahead of second-placed Rustom Patel and Shamim Khan who finished third. Both Rustom and Shamim were on Kinetic Flyte
32 riders were flagged off by Mr. Ravi Chawla – President Lubes – Gulf Oil Corp. Ltd. from Our Lady’s Home in Parel, Mumbai. After riding on tarmac in the transport sector, their real test came at Belapur, where the competitive sector began. It was pure dirt conditions that the participants encountered. The rain stayed away but it only made driving on the gravel-laden, winding course dicey. 32 two-wheeler daredevils went through the motions in what was a grueling challenge of man and machine.
On an overcast morning amidst brief spell of scanty rain, Manjeet Singh powered his LML over the slushy terrain with the confidence of a champion to emerge winner. “It was a tough ride; the slush and heavy muck made riding difficult. The sharp bends too were difficult to do, but I kept cool and managed to win,” said the 34 year-old rider after the race.
In addition to the loose gravel at some places, there were also areas of slush to negotiate which prove a tough challenge. Many scooters got logged in the bog and riders had to literally push their scooters through before getting astride again. Practically all of them took a tumble or two and some even damaged their scooters. Sandeep Pawar was adjudged the best first timer. He had 43 minutes & 31 seconds penalties.
Though most of the riders went on a reconnaissance drive over the course a few days prior to the event, they felt the challenge would have been even tougher had it rained heavily. While only 25 riders completed the event, special mention must be made about two father-son entries. One was veteran rider 65-year-old Kersi Patel, who went through the motions but found the route tough and retired after the first special stage. His son Rustom, was way ahead and stood over all second.
Then there was also 46 year –old Sailesh Gala who has participated in all 19th edition of Monsoon Scooter Rally and his son, who participated in the rally for the second time. While the father had to retire in final stage, Nikunj Gala finished a creditable seventh
Gulf Oil Corporation Ltd., makers of world-class lubes had been sponsoring this event since the past 15 years and five years consecutively. On this occasion Mr Ravi Chawla said “Gulf Oil is delighted to celebrate 15 years of hosting the one of its kind Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally. The passion of the participants and thrill the event makes it even more satisfying for us at Gulf Oil. Our association with the 2- wheeler enthusiast has grown even stronger on account of this association.