The Nazir Hoosein Memorial Drive will see the community of Himalayan Rally ex-participants, volunteers and officials come together next year to pay homage to Indian motorsport legend Nazir Hoosein in a rather special way.
- Nazir Hoosein Memorial Drive scheduled for November 7-14, 2021
- Will pay homage to Indian motorsport legend, Nazir Hoosein
- Route will retrace the 1981 Himalayan Rally
Hoosein, who passed away last year after a prolonged battle with an illness, was the founder of the fabled Himalayan Rally – which ran for a decade from 1980 to 1990 – and is considered by many to be responsible for putting Indian motorsport on the world stage. In a fitting tribute, the memorial drive will retrace the route of the 1981 Himalayan Rally, from November 7-14, 2021. Moreover, the event will be open to all those who want to experience this time capsule of nostalgia. Here’s everything you need to know:
Nazir Hoosein Memorial Drive route
The drive will take participants through the route of the 1981 Himalayan Rally, which was the second edition of event. Following a memorial dinner on November 7, the drive will be flagged off from Delhi on November 8, which will be the 40th anniversary of the 1981 rally.
The participants will then head to Nainital, followed by Ranikhet, Mussoorrie, Narkhanda and finally Manali before heading back to Delhi on November 14. The final route will be confirmed after the first route survey in May 2021. Overall, the drive will cover a total distance of around 2,000Km and take participants through three high mountain passes over 10,000 feet high.
The Himalayan Rally used to run for four to five days, but since the Nazir Hoosein Memorial Drive is a non-competition event, it will run for a total of seven days. Driving will be limited to the daytime only, with a number of activities planned at night to celebrate the legacy of Nazir Hoosein and the Himalayan Rally.
The event has been organised by Team Firefox, made up of Rajan Syal, Rajiv Rai, Harvijay Bahia, Subhash Goel and Indrojit Sircar, all of whom are former Himalayan Rally prizewinners. Furthermore, it also endorsed by the Indian Automotive Racing Club (IARC), which was founded by Hoosein himself.
Nazir Hoosein Memorial Drive registration
Those interested in participating can head to the official Nazir Hoosein Memorial Drive website to register. Entries will be limited, with 100 slots available.
The overall fee is Rs 90,000 for a two person crew, Rs 1.10 lakh for three people and Rs 1.30 lakh for four people. This will cover the cost of the hotel stay for all days, the memorial dinner and packed lunch and dinner. The advance deposit is refundable in case of withdrawal before August 1, 2021. Participants will have to bring along their own car and organisers recommend bringing an SUV or MUV.
While it’s not a competition rally, all the necessary precautions will be arranged for, including route openers, route closures, an ambulance and a technical team in case of any car trouble. “Nazir organised such wonderful, well-organised rallies. We also owe it to him that we should have a top-class event in his memory,” said event organiser Rajan Syal, who served as the longstanding Secretary-General of the FMSCI before retiring in September, this year.
The event has already received confirmed entries from all around the world, including from rally legends like Jayant Shah, Kenjiro Shinozuka and Ramesh Khoda, who was the winner of the 1981 Himalayan Rally. The organisers have also reiterated that the event is open to everyone, so people can bring their families along to experience the nostalgia of Indian motorsport at its peak.
Nazir Hoosein’s legacy
Nazir Hoosein served as the motorsport administrator and vice-president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for several years. In 1980, he founded the Himalayan Rally Association and started the Himalayan Rally. He also conceived the Great Desert Himalayan Rally, which, at 4,000km long, was a rally longer than any India had ever played host to.
Despite being a controversial figure in the Indian motorsport scene, there is no denying that he was responsible of putting India on the international motorsport map. Hoosein also played an important role on the global motorsport stage, as he was a member of the World Motor Sport Council, the chief steward in the World Rally Championship, and also one of four permanent F1 stewards for many years.
He passed away on May 12, 2019, at the age of 78 after a prolonged battle with an illness.
Legacy of the Himalayan Rally
The Himalayan Rally ran through the world’s highest mountains in north India. The grueling 4,000Km event was based on the Safari Rally format and the first edition received a record 30 foreign entries and total of 90 entries.
The Himalayan Rally played host to several big names in motorsport, including Jayant Shah, who won the event four times. It also launched the careers of the likes of Farad Bhathena, who is now the founder of racing team FB Motorsports.
It was Hoosein's dream to make the Himalayan Rally a World Rally Championship (WRC) event. Though later editions were part of the Asia Pacific Rally championship, the changing political atmosphere at the time cut short his ambitious plans.