Biker Santosh to defend Raid De Himalaya title

Shimla, Sep 16 (IANS) Leading Indian biker C.S. Santosh is back to defend his title at the 15th Maruti Suzuki Raid de Himalaya to be held Oct 4-12.

Despite suffering from two skin grafts and other injuries from his mishap at the World Cross Country Rally Championship in April and May, Santosh is all set to race against the top bikers of the country at the world's highest rally raid on a Suzuki 450.

The 29-year-old has been a multiple national autocross and motocross champion and last year ranked first in Raid Xtreme (Moto and Quads) category.

Santosh admitted that the raid is "by far the most painful, physically and mentally demanding rally in this part of the world" and yet he can't wait to be back here, from where the rally will be flagged off.

"The competitor is the Himalayas. That is the only and the biggest competitor. The rest are all factors. I can size them up. The Himalayas, you can't size up," said Santosh.

Other competitors are also gearing up. Dakar finisher and 2011 Raid De Himalaya winner Helly Frauwallner, 54, has his eyes firmly set on the crown.

Chandigarh's Mohit Verma, 24, who won the crown in Rally Xtreme (Moto and Quads) last year along with the 2013 Mughal Rally, is also set to take part.

The raid will begin from Shimla and traverse the difficult stretches of Kaza and the Monastery Necklace, Khardung La and Wari La, and the temperamental Nubra Valley and will draw to a close at Leh.

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