2021 Dakar Rally participant in Malle Moto Class – Ashish Raorane has set the quickest recorded time from Batal to Kunzum La in Himachal Pradesh. He did it on the KTM 390 Adventure. Raorane was racing against 11-time Raid de Himalaya winner Suresh Rana, who was driving his rally-spec Championship SUV on the same stretch. The duo did some high-speed hill climbing for the crown on the Kunzum Kaiser. This is the World’s Highest Hill Climb Challenge of 12.5 km. The route is extremely treacherous and tricky.
Batal is located at a height of 4,000 metres above MSL (Mean Seal Level) and the Kunzum La is located at a height of 4,551 metres. The stretch has 20 hairpin bends and at the time of the hill climb, the outside temperature was minus 5 degrees Celcius.
Suresh Raina first hit the road to set the time on his rally-spec championship SUV. He started off at a fast pace, however, his car faced a challenge due to an engine block damage on the turn 18 of the route. He did not finish the challenge and got Did Not Finish due to the engine failure in the final result, The engine block damage in a rally-spec vehicle shows how treacherous the route can be and what it can do to the vehicles. Till turn 18, Suresh Raina set a time of highly competitive 11 minutes 49 seconds.
Ashish Rarane took the challenge next. He rode the KTM 390 Adventure and pushed it to the limits. Ashish set a time showing that he was leading in every turn or sector of the route. He even reached Kunzum La and finished the course with an outstanding timing of 13 minutes and 4 seconds. It is the quickest time set by any person in the records. Ashish was 36 seconds quicker than Raina at turn 18, which is a huge lead.
KTM 390 Adventure
The KTM 390 Adventure is an entry-level adventure bike from the Austrian manufacturer. It is based on the 390 Duke and is made in India. KTM launched the 390 Adventure in the Indian market in January 2020 and it is priced at around Rs 3 lakh, ex-showroom. The bike is inspired by the Dakar rally winning bike – KTM-450 Rally. The bike offers ECU controlled lean-angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control that allows for better traction on dirt and loose gravel as well. It offers a slew of other aids like Cornering ABS, Off-road ABS, and even a Quickshifter Plus that allows smooth clutchless upshifts and downshifts. The 390 Adventure also offers KTM MY RIDE smartphone connectivity that will connect to your smartphone and will notify you about calls, music and an optional turn-by-turn navigation system. All of the information is displayed and relayed by the full-colour TFT display.