Well well well, what an experience! This trip was a perfect example of sheer determination, passion, hard work, patience and team work.
Me and Huzaifa left for Cholistan on the night of tuesday with some our friends (who were supposed to assist with media team) in two vehicles. We exited M2 at Faisalabad and took the route to Jhang. We were expecting to reach Bahawalpur at 6 in the morning. Unfortunately, at 2 am, we had an accident and our other vehicle (BJ60) had a collision with a mini-truck full of bricks. ALHAMDULILLAH everyone in that vehicle was saved by ALMIGHTY with some bruises here and there. It was a sad night and a cumbersome one. We had to make arrangements for our friends to get back to safety and for the vehicle recovery as well. We started our journey to Cholistan again at 6 am when our friends started their journey to Faisalabad, with heavy hearts. We reached Bahawalpur at 9:30 am and slept until 1:00 pm and then Mustaghees Sb joined us. We had a lunch at Taj and then left for Cholistan. We witnessed the most beautiful scenery while entering Cholistan as the sun was going down in the background.
When we reached Cholistan, on Wednesday, it was a relief to see the compound Shabab had arranged for IJC. We must appreciate him because that compound (washroom, in particular) served its purpose very well throughout our stay. Shabab was already coming back from the track, as we arrived, and Zuhaib was already back in Bahawalpur. He had already done recce and found out that the exhaust ground clearance was not enough. I must say the amount of hard work, dedication, commitment and motivation Shabab, Ali, Zuhaib and Fahad has shown is really impressive and must be appreciated. They spent good 12 hours alone on Thursday for recce and fine tune their vehicles.
Bilal Bhai and Zeb Bhai we are grateful for your hospitality during our stay. If it wasnt for you guys we wouldnt have had those spicy meals and witty chats and warm teas in cold nights.
Zeb Bhai, i am really sorry for not bringing the cake on your birthday. Rizwan Bhai, Salman, Bilal Bhai asked me to bring cake, but i couldnt find any bakery. I am really sorry and i will try to make it up to you.
Rizwan Bhai, Salman and Saeed Bhai we must appreciate your cooperation throughout the trip but specially at the mid point. We wouldnt have accomplished, what we have, without your support and expert opinion and advice. I remember the night before race day, the only thing that i was concerned about was how to manage the fuel and required people and vehicles and equipment that was meant to be delivered at mid point next very early morning. I dont know about Huzaifa, but i was scared ........... because i was not sure if we would be able to change Asad Bhai's shocks in 20 minutes. But it was done!! All in 20 minutes plus we changed the battery as well. It was a perfect example of coordination, and team work. Thank you everyone, i am sure we couldnt have done it without all the resources at our hand.
Media Team! Bilal Bhai, Muhammad and Ehsan Kiani, you guys are just awesome. Standing in the scorching heat to capture that one moment that will make the Driver's and Navigator's day. I know for a fact that Ehsan walked 4 or 4.5 km into the desert on the track to capture and give DJI Phantom and the Mid Point crew the heads up for the upcoming vehicle. And they didnt have anything to drink or eat while they were doing us a favor.
Shahab-ud-Din and Abdul Wasay were also quite handy at the mid point. Refueling, Tea and water for drivers and navigators and for us as well. Small errands here and there, it was a pleasure to work with them.
At the end i would like to thank TORC team as well. As they provided us with the tea kettle and helped us changing the Pajeros' battery.
Please pardon me, if i have forgotten any names that i failed to mention.
It was an awesome experience that i am sure i will never forget. Thank you all! Looking forward to our next endeavor!