A fearless offroader, Yanren Jamio from Nagaland is Northeast’s first & only RFC competitor
“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go”
Adventure Sports — A macho, thrilling, dangerous and expensive sporting activity that only a few can venture, sustain and carry on the legacy.
Offroading: Many people consider this sport as one of the deadliest and dangerous adventure sports of all time,but this young man from Nagaland is taking Off-roading to a whole new level. A passionate and dedicated offroader, this highly-spirited Naga youth is conquering new heights leaving no muddy terrains unconquered. His sheer determination to never give up can be seen through his fearless spirit to pursue his love for the sport.
In a conversation with TNT-The NortheastToday, Yanren Jamio from Nagaland speaks about his journey as an offroader, the bond he shares with his mean machines (off-road vehicles), his passion for the muddy and treacherous terrains and so on…..
TNT : Tell us something about yourself
My name is Yanren Jamio, I’m an adventure junkie, outdoor activities is my calling. Some friends call me 4×4 (4by4). I have many avatars; I work at Nagaland Tool Room and Training center, as Automobile Coordinator, molding young minds with the basics of automobile and training them to be the future workforce in automobile industry, and rest of the time I spend modifying Jeeps and Gypsy’s for me and my clients. I’m also a part of an Offroad club “Association of Offroaders Nagaland (AON)” formed by me and my friends who share the same passion for Offroading.
My early years, I grew up in Dimapur Nagaland, I’ve been in love with automobiles ever since I can remember and hence after my schooling, I chose to pursue mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Engineering Mysore. After my formal education, I came back to Dimapur and pursued my love and passion, started my own garage and met friends who had similar passion for exploring the wilds in mean machines.
TNT: What made you take up this sport?
My love for automobiles got me into it. Our family owned a Jeep ever since I can remember, we used to go to our farms in it and as a kid, the ride was pretty thrilling. After coming back home in 2011, as I pursued my passion, Offroading came to me as second nature. I saw it as an escapade from the normal mundane Monday to Friday life. It is a sport which one can enjoy and experience anytime unlike other motorsports which needs to be in controlled environment like autocross, rallies and so on. And the fact that we are blessed with a beautiful yet treacherous terrain only boosted my interest in this sport.
TNT: They say Off roading is an expensive sport, how do you manage?
Well, the fact that I have my own establishment to modify the offroad rigs helps a lot in cutting cost to some extent. I have a small venture by the name 4×4 Attitude, which deals in offroad accessories alone and specializes in modifying Jeeps and Gypsy’s specific for the purpose.
Last year we’ve built the rescue trucks for State Disaster Response Force (SDRF). Till date, we’ve built offroad rigs for clients from Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam and also Arunachal Pradesh. At the moment we have a couple of builds in progress, a couple of Gypsy’s with coil springs, upgraded engines and gearboxes, which would probably participate in RFC 2018, a 1952 CJ2A Willys Jeep restoration, and some other regular offroad rigs. A large part of my earnings from this goes into the sport as you can see.
TNT: For how many years have you been in this sport?
I learned how to drive a jeep, maybe we can say that’s the beginning of it. Till 2010 I was away pursuing my formal education. After coming back, me and my friends started going out for OTR (off the road) trips almost every weekend. We started meeting new friends with the same passion for offroad.
In 2014 when RFC India started, Mr. Vijay Kumar owner of Swastik fabs, a mentor and a good friend invited me to be part of their team as Advenutre tourer in RFC. And in the subsequent years I partnered with friends from Bangalore and competed in RFC 2015, 2016, 2017. In 2016 my partner Siddarth and I came 3rd in 1600cc Petrol class in RFC with overall 6th position.
TNT: Since you are a professional, how do you see adventure sports coming up in northeast?
Like I said before, we are blessed with a beautiful yet treacherous terrain and the fact that the land ownership policies differ from those in other parts of India, it helps a lot in developing this sport. Yes, we are still lagging behind when it comes to offroad competitions, for example, if you compare south India, they have offroad competitions almost every week somewhere or the other, where as in NE there is just a handful offroad competition in a year. AON has hosted Offroad maestro since 2014 and before this if I recall correctly, there weren’t any offroad competition that was open to all. But then again offroad doesn’t only mean competition; it can be a leisure drive, overlanding with family and friends, camping in places where others can’t reach.
TNT: Tell us about adventure sports in Nagaland.
Adventure sports in Nagaland over the last few years have been growing, though not exponentially like in other parts of the country but still it’s a positive growth. People are also getting into expeditions on 2 wheeler’s, Mountain biking, hiking, and mountaineering.Due to the lack of support, infrastructure and also the cost of such a sport is holding back many people. I have come across many people who love 4×4 and offroading but can’t indulge in it due to responsibilities as well as finances involved. There are a few offroad groups that have come up in the past few years who go on regular OTR’s. May be in the next few years we will be at par with others.
TNT : Do you think the Northeast is already blessed with the required terrain to organize competition like this?
Definitely YES, we have the prerequisite for such a competition. The scenic beauties of our competition sites are breathtaking. We host an annual Event in Offroad Maestro in Nagaland at Shalom Resort in the foothills of Mt. Pauna. The beauty of the place is therapeutic. Also, like the recently concluded competition in Meghalaya, there is an offroad competition in Dambuk, Arunachal. The terrain, its challenges and beauty is something we can be proud of.We should definitely use these as a means to promote tourism in the region. Our people’s hospitality, culture and customs can be showcased through these events. At the moment most of the organizers are lacking financial support/sponsorship from the corporate or government sector which happens to be a big hindrance to the development and growth of the sport. Hopefully in the years to come, we would have more support.
TNT: Tell us about RFC (Rain Forest Challenge)
RFC India is part of the RFC Global Series that include events in Italy, Russia, The Balkans, Poland, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Tunisia, China & Australia. It is a test of how well Indian off-roaders are able to stand the unpredictable jungles amid perpetually wet conditions without losing their cool and positive frame of mind and live up to the standards that have been set by RFC champions globally.
RFC is the pinnacle of offroad competition in India; RFC is ranked as among the top ten toughest motorsport competitions in the world. RFC India took offroading in India to a whole new level. In the last 4 years of RFC, it has transformed Indian offroad scene from level 2 to may be 9.The type of offroad rigs you see there are of international levels. The stages are set to test your mettle; it pushes man and machine to the limit.
The event spreads over 10 days in Goa set in the forest of Western Ghats. In RFC India we have 26 Special Stages; each special stage is different from the other in every aspect. Though the stages looks tough and impossible, yet with proper technique its always possible to conquer it. Safety is of maximum concern in this event. Most of the penalties are on safety. Also as wrongly perceived by many that offroad damages environment, RFC strictly follows an environment charter wherein no standing tree is damaged, campsites are kept clean, vehicle emission is within controlled limit. RFC coming to India is a big boost to the offroad scene in the country.
TNT :Your message to fellow Offroaders
Well, firstly I would like to request my fellow offroaders of NE to practice safe Offroading. As this sport is gaining popularity and also as many people perceive it as a dangerous sport, I would like to request my fellow offroaders to adhere to highest level of safety practice for our own good and also not to throw a bad light to the sport.
Safety is our first primary concern, it’s always rewarding at the end of the day. We see many events in which the co-drivers aren’t belted in or jumping out of moving vehicle which is very unsafe. It doesn’t require much to cause an accident and at the same time it doesn’t require much to prevent it. Let’s equip our offroad rigs with at least the bare basic safety equipments to start with. Offroad isn’t about outright speed; there is a certain finesse to tackle an obstacle.
Secondly, I’ve always wanted to emphasize on how we offroaders can be an asset to our society, our government. Our 4×4 vehicles are built to tackle any terrain and we are skilled to pilot them to places where other vehicles wouldn’t dare to go, thus us offroaders being the perfect first responder when natural calamities/disaster strikes our land. We should be in sync with our local administration and enforcing agencies so that we can give back and help our society in whatever little ways we could, when called for. Let me give you a small example, in the recent incident in which a bridge collapsed in dimapur and a few vehicles were stuck, my club members and I coordinated with Disaster management team SDRF to recover those vehicle, we reached the spot with our winch equipped vehicles and aided in recovering the fallen vehicles. Also during the recent floods in July end, we volunteered with the SDRF to keep our vehicles which were equipped for water wading rescue purpose. We as offroaders have the responsibility to offer our assistance in such situations.
Have a great time offroading. May the 4’s be with you all