Excelsior Sports Correspondent
LEH, Sept 19: The North Quest Challenge, India’s highest accredited Mountain Biking Cross Country Marathon, is all set to take place on the 21st of September, 2019, in Ladakh.
The event is organised by Wisdom Eventosports, under the aegis of the CFI and is co-promoted by Meraki Sport & Entertainment.
The title sponsor is Air India and Powered By sponsor is Scott. The other sponsors includes LAHDC Leh, ALTOA, The Grand Dragon, The Abduz, Thongsal, Spic-n-Span, Shanti Nest, Passion Street, Bullet Café, Freerider Magazine and Summer Holiday.
Addressing a press conference organiser Stany Wangchuk said that the race, which offers cyclists the unique opportunity to ride at an astounding height of 3700m above sea level, is open to both professionals as well as amateurs, with timed as well as non-timed categories available. The total prize money fund is a whopping Rs 500000.
The most prestigious category is the Elite Series (90km, timed) which will feature only cyclists who have been invited by the CA. The other categories include Adventure Series (50k, non-timed) and Extreme Series (75km, timed).
The previous edition, which occurred in 2018, was attended by over 450 cyclists including 27 Elite athletes and proved itself to be a major boon to the rapidly rising sport of mountain biking in India. This year, two elite international cyclists, Jason English and Corey Wallace are all set to compete for the top prize. They are both multiple time MTB champions at a global stage.
“MTB at such an altitude and challenging terrain is very tempting for fitness freaks and pro riders at the same time. Leh is blessed with a natural beauty that adds finest charm to entire event. Not only winning but completing this race is itself a very big achievement”, says Rohit Sharma, MTB National Elite commissure (CFI)
In addition to the aforementioned, an initiative branded “Trailblazers” has been introduced, a 25km race for the children of the region, which validates the premise of the event: to develop the sport of mountain biking at the grassroots level by providing a platform for talented riders. The winners get the opportunity to train at the UCI WCC satellite facility in New Delhi, furthering their chances of turning into professional cyclists.
“l am thoroughly excited to be associated with the North Quest Challenge. Cycling across the picturesque enigma that is Ladakh, along with a host of talented riders is certain to be a truly unique experience”, said actor Rajkummar Rao, an ambassador for the event. “This is my ancestral land. I have grown up here and my business and life is here. And when it was time to give back to my homeland there is nothing better than promoting tourism, eco friendly travel and scouting and developing the best home-grown talent. Hence I started North Quest Challenge and haven’t looked back since. It will only get bigger and we are taking it international in the next few editions,”says Stany Wangchuk founder and promoter of North Quest Challenge and wisdom Eventosports.
Speaking about the event, organiser Harkirat Singh of Wisdom Event and sports said that there are few sports that can provide the level of euphoria that Mountain Biking can evoke.
“SCOTT Sports has always looked to partner with events that help propel the sport to a higher standard and we believe North Quest Challenge, the world’s highest MTB XCM, does just that. The level of competition and athletes here will help mountain biking grow in India and that ties in with SCOTTs vision to grow cycling as a sport in India.” Jaymin Shah, Country Manager, SCOTT Sports India. “The sport of mountain biking has come a long way since it’s initial stages, and we look forward to a successful challenge in Ladakh and believe brands will see more value with each editon. From 450+ last year we are expecting 500+ this year and I would like to thank all our partners for making this event possible”, says Alit Ravindran, MD and co-founder of Meraki Sport & Entertainment, a sports management company based in Mumbai and the co-promoters of the event.
Excelsior Sports Correspondent