Ukhrul: Professionally skilled riders from different parts of the state took part in the 3rd edition of the MTB Downhill, a mountain biking event, organised as part of the ongoing Shirui Lily Festival Ukhrul district of Manipur on Friday.
Organised by Chiko Adventures in collaboration with Attitude X, altogether 17 riders, including 11 for ‘hardtail’ and six others for ‘full suspension’ categories, participated at the championship held at Jorcheng, a 30-minute drive from the hill district’s headquarters.
While Chiko Adventures, one of the first adventure start-ups in the hill district, looked after the race, Attitude X, an Imphal-based agency, managed the tracks for the riders.
Riders representing different states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland braved the gnarliest trails and steepest terrains of Jorcheng, giving some great moments of awe to the spectators.
The nature of MTB sports or mountain biking features highest speeds and biggest risks since racers are ought to race down on a steep and rough terrain, which often requires them to jump and drop despite obstacles and risk elements. Thereby, such adventure sports activity requires good stamina, proper strategy and above all require them to be well trained.
The racing mania, not only among the riders’ group but also the people, including tourists in the hill district were visibly seen as adrenaline of the spectators was high while cheering for the participants.
Ukhrul, which is one of the highest and picturesque hill districts of Manipur, has huge potential in promoting adventure sports as the region is abundantly blessed with scenic nature of majestic mountains and peaks.
“Since day one of the festival, it was a day for our riders to come and experience the track. And the feedback that we have gotten, including the national riders who are part of event and pioneers of this sport, is one of the best tracks. Of course, we have a lot of improvement to be made but overall, it was a good race and they are having a very good experience in out track,” informed Shangcham, one of the team members of Chiko Adventures.
Calvin, an MTB rider from Imphal West, who was also the champion of 2017 edition, added: “After seeing the trails, I was little confused initially. However, after practising [a] couple of times, I am now accustomed to the trails. The view, indeed, is really good. And I’ll be participating for ‘hardtail’ category.”
Riders who have come for the championship were charmed by the beauty of the hill district, especially the venue of the battlefield being situated at the foothills of Phangrei peak, a flat hill range popular for picnics for local and often frequented by tourists.
Nicolas Serte, a MTB participant from Meghalaya, said, “I am coming here for the first time in Ukhrul and also the Shirui Lily Festival. And I am totally in love with the place. Also, the MTB competition was quite competitive because of the presence of many good riders from different parts of the country. But overall, the ride was good and I have made many friends from here.”
According to the organisers, the final run will be held on Saturday, which is also the closing day of the four-day long Shirui Lily Festival.
Meanwhile, the winner will take home a cash prize of Rs 45,000 for ‘full-suspension’ category and Rs 35,000 and Rs 15,000 for the 1st and 2nd runners-up, respectively. For hardtail category, the cash prize for the first position carries Rs 35,000 and Rs 25,000 and Rs 20,000 for the 1st and 2nd positions, respectively.