Mumbai Xpress challenge: an amazing race for the clinically insane

13 Aug 2009


One of the most visible symbols of Mumbai, indeed most small towns, the humble, sputtering and smoke-spewing auto-rickshaw that ferries us quickly day and night to our destinations, has donned a new look and sped for a challenge - in the Mumbai Xpress challenge that will reach the finishing line in Mumbai today.

The 14-day Chennai-Mumbai rickshaw challenge, covering over 1,900km, organised by the Chennai Event Management Service, saw 12 teams from around the world compete in what the organisers call ''an amazing race for the clinically insane''. You could be considered one if you ever thought the three-wheeled auto-rickshaw could take you across four states passing through mud-filled roads and bring you home safely.

The invite from the organisers challenged participants to journey into the heart of India, where they were to  traverse every possible micro climate; from metropolis, tropical jungle, arid desert, ancient valleys and the epic coastline of Kerala.

Now completing their final leg from Pune to Mumbai, the auto-rickshaws, as expected, have been spruced up in style – with bright colours and wild names names like Tuk Tuk Wallah and Chai Rollah -  in what the organisers call ''pimped out'' auto-rickshaws.

As for training, three wheels with a big rear (of the vehicle, not the participant's) requires some, and the organisers provide a crash course, and stress on the word 'crash' – not surprising considering India's ok-tata-bye-bye traffic.

Till the Pune leg, the teams have driven through the city to visit a school under construction by Round Table India, a charitable organisation for the education of underprivileged children.

The first rickshaw challenge race was held in 2006, and has now grown into four yearly events: Mumbai Xpress, Classic Run, Tech Raid and the Malabar Rampage.

Equipped with paper maps and GPS coordinates, support vehicles and follow up event organisers, the participants haven't left charity behind. Their adopt-a-village programme will see participants provide medicines, toys, school supplies, children's clothing and other items to their chosen villages.

The auto-rickshaws too can be donated for worthy causes. Their used rickshaws are sold at around Rs54,000 while new ones retail for around Rs164,000.

Chennai Event Management Services (CEMS) is an award-winning international event planning and production company specialising in staging high-profile functions throughout the world, ranging from Las Vegas seminars to expedition-level motor sport rallies in places as diverse as India, Africa, Eastern and Western Europe and America's west coast. CEMS has a well-rounded team that includes first class business consulting for the full life cycle of business development, website building and team management operations. It currently has offices in Chennai, India and Budapest, Hungary.

It recently organised the Bus Number 7 project that saw the iconic commuter bus of Budapest transformed into a fully functional hostel on wheels traveling 16,000km into the heart of Africa and back in order to further cultural exchanges and charity efforts.

Next in line are the Caucasian Challenge, an epic motor tour from Budapest, Hungary to Yerevan in Armenia, the Rainbow Rampage, a 7-day motor rally from Brighton to Budapest and from Seattle to San Francisco.

CEMS will soon launch a website,, where one can get complete auto services allowing anyone to purchase, customise or sell vehicles from anywhere in theworld.

Mumbai Xpress 2009

Chennai, Vellore, Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Bhatkal, Panaji, Ratnagiri, Mahabaleshwar, Pune, Alibag, Mumbai

Twelve teams from countries around the world: UK, Australia, Hungary, Canada.

Online coverage
Website, Facebook, Youtube, blog

Events coming up

Tech Raid 2009: October 16-22, 2009
Route: Chennai-Hyderabad

Classic Run 2010: December 29, 2009-January 8, 2010

Malabar Rampage 2010: April 2-20, 2010
Starts and ends in Chennai

Business History Videos

History of hovercraft Part 3...

Today I shall talk a bit more about the military plans for ...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of hovercraft Part 2...

In this episode of our history of hovercraft, we shall exam...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of Hovercraft Part 1...

If you’ve been a James Bond movie fan, you may recall seein...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of Trams in India | ...

The video I am presenting to you is based on a script writt...

By Aniket Gupta | Presenter: Sheetal Gaikwad

view more