Chandigarh: Hari Singh, a five time national rally champion and Asia zone rally championship winner, will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Force Gurkha RFC India 2015 which is taking place in Goa from 24th to 31st July. The 48-year old rallyist from Chandigarh is a well-known name in rally circles in the country and has been working rigorously since the last three decades to popularize the rally culture in India and as a mentor for budding talent.
As per Mr. Ashish Gupta, who is the Founder & Director of Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd, the company that is responsible for bringing RFC to India, “We instituted the Lifetime Achievement Award last year as a first in a motorsport event in India in order to give due recognition to deserving motorsport veterans. Last year, we had felicitated Mr. Uday Bhan Singh and this year the Jury has selected another eminent motorist. I am very happy that Mr. Hari Singh is getting the Force Gurkha RFC India 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Singh, whose name is synonymous with JK Tyre and Maruti Suzuki Gypsy, started taking an interest in driving when he was 8 years old and would hear the roar of the cars participating in the Himalayan Car Rally when they zoomed past his school. Thereafter, in 1990 he entered the fray and took part in the Himalayan Car Rally in his Gypsy. The car, which started at the 78th position, finished the championship at an overall 6th position with the 4th place in Indian category. This development made the nation take note of this emerging rallying talent.
Thereafter, Hari Singh stunned the entire world when his ‘Team Thunderbolt’, which had been formed with the help of the owner of Shivalik Breweries, put a break on MRF Tyre Team’s 13 year long winning streak at the Himalyan Car Rally in 1990. Then, 1992 onwards as part of the newly constituted JK Tyre Rally Team, he continued his winning streak by winning the National Rally Championship in Group N followed by outright wins for four years in a row.
After representing India in a number of international rallying events, including the SAARC Rally from India to Indonesia and the ASEAN Rally from Bangladesh to the Andaman Islands, Mr. Singh took on a mentoring role as the Head of Operations at JK Tyre Motorsport wherein he is rigorously working towards developing the racing and rallying talent from across the country. He is also associated with Mercedes Benz India Ltd as the Chief Instructor for all their drives. His tremendous talent has also been utilized in the hair-raising car stunt scenes of several Bollywood movies and TV commercials of leading car companies. Hari Singh also heads the only stunt team that Volkswagen Polo has in India.
Though Mr. Singh is considered to be God among Indian rallyists, what many people don’t know is that he is also an avid off-roader and prefers off-roading to rallying! He has been a part of several Mahindra Great Escape events wherein he has mentored the organizing committee. Singh has dreamt for a long time about participating in the Malaysian edition of the Rainforest Challenge but work commitments have never allowed him to do so.
Reacting to the announcement about being the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at Force Gurkha RFC India 2015, Mr. Singh said, “It’s sad that I have come to that stage in my life where I have to admit to the fact that I am getting old enough to be the recipient of a lifetime achievement award! Though on a serious note, the Rainforest Challenge is a globally renowned and revered event in the off-roading space and it is an honor for me to be considered for this award by their India Chapter. I am happy to accept this award and will continue working to be worthy of the respect that the off-roading and rallying community has bestowed on me over the years.” He added that he is looking forward to seeing some amazing off-road action over the next few days in Goa where the second edition of India’s only international off-road motorsport event is currently being held. “Though all the competitors are excellent, I will be rooting for my home teams of Gerrari Offroaders and am confident that they will come back to Chandigarh having won the ultimate laurel.”