After a three year hiatus, JK Tyre and the Nagaland Adventure and Motorsports Association came together to organise the 9th Hornbill Motor Rally at Kohima, Nagaland. The Hornbill Motor Rally is run in a Time Speed Distance format with undisclosed checkpoints and tricky loops around the treachrous back roads of Kohima. A total of 29 participants took the challenge, 20 entries in the ‘North East’ class and 9 entries in the ‘Open’ class. A total of 55km of broken tarmac, gravel and slush for the participants to traverse through.The rally was flagged off from the Indira Gandhi Stadium by Hari Singh, who is a multiple National Rally Champion, and would culminate at the Hornbill Festival in Kisama Village.
Defending Champion, Gagan Sethi from Delhi along with co-driver Sabatullah Khan kept glued to their title and won the rally with only a 29 second penalty. This was the first time Gagan and Sabatullah were assisting each other in a rally. TSD format rally’s are not to be considered easy, as there were seven surprise time control loops.
“It was a difficult rally and I was facing a lot of problems with the car. But my navigator was brilliant and he helped us cruise past the field to claim the title,” Gagan said after the rally.
“Even though we were driving together for the first time, we hit it off instantly and our co-ordination was really very great,” he added.
Finishing behind Gagan was Bijo Awom along with co-driver Chandrasekhar who got a 1 minite 44 second penalty. Coming in third was the duo of Tali Akang and Nirav Mehta with a penalty of 2 minutes and 5 seconds.
“I am really thankful to JK Tyres for their support in promoting motorsports in the country. The CMD of the company Dr. Raghupati Singhania reposed his faith in us and we shall walk together to make Nagaland the new motorsports hub of the country,” said Mr.Neiphiu Riphu, Honourable Chief Minister of Nagaland.
In the North East class, Alex Suohu and Akhrielie Vizo took the first place with a penalty of 9 minutes 44 seconds. Thezakkielie Zuyie with co-driver Moamarimsong came in second with a total penalty of 10.5 minutes finished second while Anguzo Sekhose and Mengu Yhome claimed the third.