Back in December 2014 Red Bull Pakistan invited me to cover Jhal Magsi Desert Challenge Race 2014 It’s a yearly race event between 4×4’s like the Dakkar rally and the Baja it is on a very smaller scale compared to those events but is the most challenging of all 4×4 rally in Pakistan. I was so excited to witness this rally race on the track. The adventure starts on the morning of 20th Dec. We left Karachi at 7pm and reached Hyderabad after 2 hours then we stopped at Al-Zaib Resturant at 10am for breakfast.
Here I met the famous Sabir Shah aka @AsliBinLaden
Then we left for longest road trip of my life till now. We stopped at some restaurant outside Larkana for dinner at 6.30pm.
Tikkain and Maash Daal
For first time I’ve tried Tikkain and Rosh. Tikkain was served with minced meat and fry kaleeji while Rosh is like Paya but they served piece of Rosh with minced meat, usually Rosh was served with the soup in which they cooked it for 4 hrs. Rosh was delicious and not so spicy while tikkain is dry and maash daal was okay. We left Shahdadkot at 7.30pm and then we reached Jhal Magsi after 16 hrs. At 2.30am they turned off all the lights were switched off. I thought this was the best moment to capture some night sky shots at Jhal Magsi. Orion constellation and Sirius (the brightest star system in the earth’s night sky) which was above our heads while Jupiter was rising from the East.
Night sky at Jhal Magsi
We slept at 4am and woke up at 7.30am. After freshen up we went back side of our tents where drivers were staying in their camps to photograph their vehicles. I was amazed to see those vehicles and how they modified them for the track.
One of the driver told us that there is a delay in race and now it will start at 10.30am due to fog. So we went to the starting point.
Initial Starting Point
And here we are at the Red Bull starting point where Ronnie Patel was waiting in his 4×4. It was one massive crowd waiting for race to start while media personals were setting their equipment. That was the initial starting point for the race but due to fog they shifted it to the other point which was 10km away from this point and the track was shortened to 100kms.
Ronnie Patel – runner up of 2013 race
So we headed out with our driver Mustafa to the new starting point in his Land Cruiser. It was one bumpy ride as he was driving off-road with the speed upto 120kms. At times it feels like we are part of this race.
Our driver Mustafa
The race starts at 11.45am. Every driver was leaving with some difference of time. This year 48 drivers were participating in different categories. I was so excited to see this action live on track.
and this was the second starting point
Red Bull gives us the opportunity to explored different parts of this track including some jumps and the Muller River crossing so we can experience this race more closely.
after the jump
This was the first shot I’ve captured while standing near the jump. It’s bit hard to see them coming, all you can see is the dust cloud coming towards you. Here I’ve seen one of the best lift kits. After that we went to Muller River crossing. Where one massive crowd waiting for cars to passing by the river crossing.
Making splashes through the Muller River
Then we headed towards the desert side of the track which was the tricky one due to the slippery sand and many drivers were stuck at this point.
Making his way through the slippery sand.
The race ends at 5pm. Then there was a prize distribution ceremony at 8pm. Nawab Zulfikar Ali Magsi and Marvi Memon were the chief guest. For the first they’ve introduced Ladies category in this race and this year only two ladies drivers were participating.
From left: Tushna Patel, Marvi Memon and Maliha Elahi
Tushna Patel was the winner of Ladies category with time 2.03.34. She is the wife of Ronnie Patel and she was the first female ever to participate in the 9th Cholistan Jeep Rally 2014. She received her prize from Marvi Memon.
From left: Mian Farooq (co-driver), Tushna Patel and Marvi Memon
Speedtrap was won by Zafar Magsi and Luqman from team Red Bull is giving him his prize money.
Next morning we left Jhal Magsi at 9am and after 14 hrs of road trip we were back in Karachi at 11pm. The event was very well organized by Red Bull and their team. More pictures of this trip are uploaded here.