Mahabaleshwar, 16 Sep 2006

Went for a small ride to Mahabi on Saturday. Nothing much to write about the ride, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking ;-)

Started around 9ish in morning. I had CBZ for the company. Right after I start the ride, CBZ odo hit 33,333.3


Tyre check, right after practicing cornering at Khambatki Ghat. Front is 2.75×18 Zapper FV and rear is 100/90×18 Zapper ‘Q’.


Right after I climbed the ghat from Wai to Panchgani, went off towards a table top land. A view from there of the valley and hills.

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Food: Pizza at Mapro


Some view between Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani.

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On NH4, riding into “heavy” rains.

On NH4 On NH4 Shades of clouds

Few meters before I enter into a rain zone of such magnitude, I have never ridden in my whole life on NH4. Rain was so strong that due to poor visiblity even cars had pulled over.

Rain zone Rain zone

On the way back, got a chance to ride thru the newely constructed but yet to “officially” open Katraj tunnel.

Distance covered = ~220km
Mileage = 31.74km/lt

[F1] [MotoGP] Champions fighting

Thanks to lots of work load, was not able to complete this writeup.

2006, possibly one of the best season of both F1 and MotoGP racing in recent times. For once there are more than one racers in the hunt of championship with only a handful races left in season. Where in F1 Alonso is being chased down closely by Schumacher, in MotoGP Hayden is hunted down to the finish line by Pedrosa, Rossi, Melandri and Capirossi (though the points gap from Melandri and Capirossi to Hayden is too big but not big enough to write them off completely).

10th Sep 2006 There are both F1 (Italian) and MotoGP (Malaysian) race on this weekend. In F1 Alonso is leading Schumi by 12 points, more than the race, people are looking forward to this weekend as Schumi will be making announcement about his F1 future at the end of the race. Dramas started as early as qualifying when Alonso was penalised for “blocking” Massa in his Ferrari during the timed lap of later. As a result Alonso was pushed to 10th from his qualifying position of 5th. Kimi driving Mclaren-Mercedes snatched pole away from Schumi.

As expected at the race start, Alonso make a good start from 10th position to jump into 6th. Kimi made a good start but Schumi made sure he follows Kimi all the way. With not much to choose between the pace of cars, it was once again left to pitstop time when Schumi comes ahead of Kimi. In the mean time Robert Kubica in his Sauber-BMW, leads the race (in his 3rd F1 race). Alonso is making steady progress on track and during pit stops and looking good for a podium finish. by lap 43 when all the leading cars have made their final stops, Alonso has confirmed his podium finish (passing Kubica and Massa), with Schumi and Kimi too far ahead of him to catch them.

On Lap 45, Alonso’s Renault suffers a very race engine failure, putting him out of race and throwing championship wide open. With Kubica and Massa right behind Alonso, Kubica avoids himself from the oil off Alonso’s car but Massa fails and damages his tyres, forcing him to make a pit stop, spoilling his chance of a point finish. The race ended with Schumi taking the win from Kim and Kubica stepping onto the podium in his 3rd F1 race.

As expected in the post race interview, Schumi announced his retirement from F1 at the end of season. It was later confirmed that Kimi will be moving from Mclaren to Ferrari at the end of season. The last three races are a “must watch” as the gap between Alonso (108) and Schumi (106) is just 2 points. For the first time in season, now Ferrari (168) overtakes Renault (165) in constructors championship.

In MotoGP, the start of weekend was not good for Pedrosa as he had a big accident on Friday, damaging his right knee badly. The race was amazingly fought between Rossi and Capirossi with Pedrosa defying all odds to outclass his team mate Hayden. It was not a good race for Hayden as, while his competitors were making a steady progress at the head of field, he was moving backwards. The final few laps were one of the best in long time, with Rossi and Capirossi passing each other few times in one corner. Though injured Pedrosa was able to stay with these two, he was too far behind to add spice to the fight. With Capirossi leading Rossi into the last few turns, Rossi made his move and passed Capirossi and during the move they both touched. Now Rossi was leading Capirossi going into the last corner, knowing that Capirossi will surely try to pass him, Rossi took the inside line, forcing Capirossi to pass him from outside, doing which Capirossi ran wide blowing up his chances of a well deserved victory (in which case it would have been unlucky for Rossi).

Finally on the podium it were three well deserving guys, Rossi and Capirossi for their amazingly fought race and Pedrosa for finishing a very brave race. With Hayden finishing well down the order, Rossi and Pedrosa are able to close the gap to him in championship.

17th Sep 2006 While its a three week break in F1, its back to back races in MotoGP (Australian). Hayden has qualified on Pole for the first time in season, giving a boost to his championship lead. Rossi is on the other side of front row with injured Pedrosa way down the grid. As the riders went on warm up lap, it started to rain on the other side of the track, forcing the race to be delayed and later declared as wet race. Still all riders start on slick tyres. At the race start while both Rossi and Hayden make a very poor start (droping down to 10th and 16th respectively), Pedrosa once again made a very brave start and at one time was upto 3rd position. Mean while Nakano was leading the race and after a poor start Rossi was making up places at a lightning pace. In few laps he was up into 2nd place fighting with Sete, when it started to rain heavily, forcing everyone to pit and swap bikes.

This was the first time, since the flag to flag race rule was introduced at start of 2005, that riders were changing bikes in the middle of a race. While everyone was pitting for changing bike, Nakano decided to stay out for one more lap, trying to gain some more time over others. After all riders switched to bikes setup for wet wether, Sete found himself leading the race, chased by Chris Vermeulen on his Suzuki (probably the rain master in MotoGP). Rossi once again dropped back right next to Hayden, who gained a lot during the pit stops. The biggest looser in this was Pedrosa who dropped back to 15th place, probably inexperience of riding in rain on MotoGP bikes and the injury being the reason.

Soon Vermeulen passed Sete to take the race lead, while Rossi and Hayden started to move up the order. Malandri once again showing his excellent skills started to close down on Sete. As rain eased and riders getting used to the track conditions, Milandri passes Sete and started to close down on Vermeulen, finally passing him. So much is the pace of the leading group that Milandri puts the injured Pedrosa a lap down. With laps two laps remaining, Rossi has moved up to 4th place with Stoner between him and Hayden. Rossi is quickly closing down to Sete. On the last lap, seeing the group lead by Rossi catching him fast, Pedrosa let them go by. With one last corner left in the race, Hayden is right behind Rossi who has now caught up with Sete.

In the last corner Rossi makes a move on Sete and manages to pass him to take the final podium position. With Rossi finishing ahead or Hayden and Pedrosa getting only a single point. Rossi (204) moves into second position in championship, behind Hayden (225) and ahead of Melandri (193), Pedrosa (193) and Capirossi (180).

With now just three races left in both F1 and MotoGP, the season finale could not have been any better.

[F1] Will he continue?

Michael Schumacher – Seven times World Champion (More Championships than anyone else in the history of F1 racing). 89 Times climbed onto the top spot on podium (More Wins than anyone else in the history of F1 racing), 153 times stepped onto podium, 246 GP Starts, 68 Pole Positions, Currently the oldest man racing in F1. These are just a few achievements of one of the greatest F1 driver ever.

With the 2006 season of F1 just 4 races away from conclusion and Michael 12 points behind Alonso in the race for another World Championship crown. Talks are doing the rounds about the future of multi times World Champion. will he quit racing at the end of season or will be carry on for another year or two?

There are talks going around saying that if Michael wins this year he should retire immediately. Though considering that he will be 38 by the time 2007 season will be about to start. It is difficult to expect him still racing but no matter what happens in the championship this year, I would like him to race for one more year, especially when Kimi Raikkonen has happened to sign a contract with Ferrari for next season.

Still remember the days when Michael in Ferrari used to fight with Mika Hakkinen in McLaren Mercedes for Championship and many people used to wonder if it is the car or the driver, why one is winning? There were suggestions that both the drivers should race in the same car but it was not possible then.

Now there is one chance in front of Michael to pit himself against a good young driver. There is no denying that in Ferrari every teammate of Michael is given No 2 status but for one year Michael can ask team to give equal support to both drivers, so that both (Michael and Kimi) can race on equal grounds. This way Michael can find out if the young drivers in F1 are good enough or not. Since Michael has said in past, he will quit racing when there are young drivers faster than him, this is one chance for him to really show the world that he still has what it takes to fight with the best F1 drivers of the next generation.

Another reason why I want Michael to race for one more season is that, there is a chance for him to become the first ever F1 driver to win 100 races, which I doubt anyone in future will be able to come close, forget beating. Not that his current records will be easy to beat.

Keeping my fingers crossed till the end of Itallian GP, when Ferrari is going to announce their next year driver line up.

Bidding adieu to rains

Rains are almost gone after creating havoc (exposing how much money to build roads, went into pockets of our politicians) in and around Pune city. So, we at BikeNomads decided to have a intercity meet (Bombay and Pune) at Tamahini Ghat. Nomads from Bombay took NH17 till Kolad before turning towards Tamahini Ghat whereas we Pune Nomads took the amazing road towards Mulshi from ChandaniChowk before heading towards Tamahini Ghat.

Looking at the condition of road to Mulshi from Chandani Chowk, which was build before rains, one is left wondering why do Pune roads are in such a bad condition whereas almost nothing has hapenned to Mulshi road. Specially when it rains much more in Mulshi area, as compared to Pune.

We were 5 Nomads from Pune on three bikes (Captain Nandu and his wife on Red Avenger, Me and Arpan on Black CBZ and Biswa on Red Pulsar 180 DTSi ‘Black’ edition). We started from Chandani Chowk at around 08:40am. Keeping the speed to around 60 for most of time, we enjoyed the greenery which will soon be gone. Our first stop was just before descending Pirangut Ghat, where Biswa and Nandu filled up their machines. Road were almost perfect and hardly wet due to no rains. So the twisties and straights were enjoyed by all the riders.

As we approached Mulshi gate the road got bad, still better than many of Pune roads. While passing the Mulshi gate, we stopped to take a view of the valley (sadly I lost all my pics clicked here due to a corrupted memory card). Next item on our agenda was to have breakfast. This time we decided to give our regular breakfast place a pass and stop ahead at Quick Bite. The place is much more cleaner and food is also tasty (looks like this will be our new halting point during future rides).

After breakfast we continued our ride, the road got bumpy and not in best of condition at many places. Potholes, gravel, stones (from landslides) were more frequent now, as we moved more and more away from civilization.

Nearing Tamahini, clouds started to gather and soon it started to drizzle which didn’t take too long to turn into rain, forcing us to take shelter. Time for another round of tea with which we enjoyed rain and clouds, which were all around us. (Again all the pics I clicked here are gone due to a corrupted memory card). As rain stopped we headed towards Tamahini, the road at the start of ghat was good but as we start the descend, potholes started to appear. Stopping everynow and then to admire and try to capture the beauty in our cameras, we headed towards the bottom of Tamahini ghat.

Reaching Ville we stopped there for Bombay guys to join us. It was all sunny with some dark clouds visible at horizon. It didn’t took long for those clouds to come closer and shower water all over the place.

After waiting for sometime, Bombay group consisting of One Gladiator, Two yezdi’s and a Fiero, arrived. Round of introduction with some discussion over tea followed. It was time for the combined group to ride up Tamahini ghat towards Quick Bite for lunch. Climbing up, while clicking some pictures, my camera’s memory card got corrupted, so I formatted it and lost all the good pictures I have clicked so far). Here are some pictures which I clicked after formatting the card.

Water fall at Tamahini Ghat Water fall at Tamahini Ghat
From top of Tamahini Ghat From top of Tamahini Ghat

The progress of group towards lunch destination was a bit slow but with not many stops, lead group stopping for the backmarkers (me and arpan being at the end of group) to catch up. Arpan now decided to take more roles than being just a pillion. So he started to count how many times the rear suspension of CBZ bottomed out going over the bumpy roads and also shared some of his photographic skills.

Towards Mulshi Valley of Clouds

Like always, the lead group has once again stopped just before the turnoff towards Lonawala for us to catch up. Here I decided to venture out on the route towards Lonawala to click a valley I got to know about on my office discussion forum. Arpan was not too keen to ride as pillion looking at the road condition but Biswa was interested to come. So Arpan and Biswa swapped positions. Praveen also followed us with his wife on Gladiator, while the rest of group headed towards lunch destination.

The road was bumpy and the climb was steep at many places that CBZ needed to be pulled in 1st or 2nd gear with pillion. With the road being wet and broken at many places, bike could loose momentum at crucial places. Finally after a couple of km’s ride we reached the destination. We parked the bikes on road side and started to walk towards valley. The route was slippery enough that one mistake and one would spend his whole life at the bottom of valley living like Tarzan (in case he survived the fall).

Amazing Valley enroute to Lonawala Golf course?

After spending a few minutes near the valley we headed to meet up with the rest of group over lunch.

Mulshi Lake

As we reach Quick Bite, the rest of group has already ordered lunch, making it easy for me to decide which is the best dish to order. As it turned out the “combo” meal was the most favourite amongst us. During lunch I got to know about one Nomad (Ronaldo) who has walked all over from Pune to Bombay. It was really nice meeting up with so many people for the first time. After lunch, it was time for a group snap.

(L to R) Nandu's Wife, Captain Nandu, Arpan, Partha, Praveen and his wife, Duke, Roaldo (person who has walked from Pune to Bombay)

Bombay group has decided to return via Lonawala and for that they will take the road from Mulshi. Like always me and Arpan were right behind everyone and while trying to shoot this picture we missed the opportunity to see off Bombay group.


Ride now was going to be borin as we were heading back to city limits which means, traffic, pollution, bad roads and what not. Around 05:00pm we reached Chandani Chowk, covering around 170km round trip (Bike gave an average of just over 34km/lt during the ride). After a small chat we all dispersed towards our destinations.