Rallying for a cause

By the end of this month, autos from the city will take off on a 1000-km rally into the heart of the south
Deft and tough, autorickshaws of the city have helped us see through several travails. They have withstood bumpy roads, speed breakers and traffic jams. This time around, they are all geared up for another challenge. A test of endurance. The Classic Run Rickshaw Challenge, which will be flagged off on December 29, will see the ubiquitous autorickshaw take the test of survival.
About 30 participants from across seven countries will participate in the challenge, which is being organised by the Chennai Event Management Services (CEMS) in partnership with the Madras Midtown RoundTable-42 (MMRT-42). The first such rally, which was held in 2006, was from Chennai to Kanyakumari.
Aravind Bremanandam, director of CEMS says, “This rally is not a test of speed but of endurance. This is my tribute to the vehicle. It’s also a great way to promote tourism.”
About 14 different teams will work their way across south India in the three-wheelers, touring India and passing through a kaleidoscope of landscapes.
Charles Vignoles, a participant from the A-Team says, “My partner Craig Scott and I are from the US and we are expecting to see India in a way we haven’t seen before. I think the rickshaw will give us a unique perspective of the people and the places we visit. I am looking forward to an adventure, to meeting new people and a once-ina-lifetime experience.”
The challenge is not just an excuse to have fun and explore the unexplored – the participants will have to raise funds through innovative measures to fund the education of underprivileged children. Says Aravind,“ This challenge has an Adopt-a-Village programme wherein teams will have to raise a sufficient sum to meet teaching and medical expenses of schools en route.”
The best part of the challenge is the liberty to decorate your vehicle according to your taste. Charles says, “My friend Jackie Stewart custom-designed my vehicle,inspired by an 80s TV show. I am excited about flaunting it on the road.”
However, he feels that the only hitch will be the language problem. “Communication in India is a constant struggle. However, I’ll manage with a lot of patience and my sense of humour,” he quips.

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