28 February 2023
The iconic SJOBA rally is back again. The 36th edition of SJOBA rally 2023, the flagship motorsports event of St. John’s Old Boys Association (SJOBA) – the alumni association of St John’s High School, Chandigarh having over 4500 registered members, will be held from March 3 to 5, with the ceremonial flag off taking place on Mar 2.
This rally is being conducted with the affiliation of Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and will attract the professionals and budding rallyists from the Chandigarh capital region, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and other parts of India.
The details of North India’s longest running sports event ‘SJOBA rally 2023’ were shared by the association’s senior office bearers and rally officials at a press meet held at St John’s High School, Sector 26, here.
“The SJOBA rally is known for its challenging routes and scenic landscapes. It is set to become even more exciting this year as it spans over two nights and three days for the first time ever. This mega event would kick off on 2nd March with the process of scrutiny of the vehicles and ceremonial flag off from St John’s High School, Chandigarh,” said Nipun Mehan, President, SJOBA.
The scrutiny of participants will be done on March 2 (Thursday) from 8 am onwards; while the ceremonial flag off will be done at 4 pm from St John’s High School. The rally will conclude on 5th March at 4:30 pm at St John’s High School, and will be followed by the prize distribution at CGA Golf range, Chandigarh from 7.30 pm onwards.
According to Shivam Garg, Secretary, SJOBA, participants – 25 four wheelers and 55 two wheelers – are likely to face five competitive sections on each day, which will challenge the driver’s concentration abilities, physical endurance and driving skills. Seventeen entries have been received in the Time , Speed , Distance(TSD) version of the rally. For the four wheelers, there will be a night stage.
Shivam revealed that the area covered during 3 exhilarating days of SJOBA Rally are Ropar, Garhshankar, Mansowal and Hoshiarpur. The total prize money for the 2023 version of the rally is around Rs 6 lakh and trophies and there are other awards for the participants and winners.
Nipun added that the ‘Challenge Rally’ (Extreme) would be open to Jeeps, Cars and Bikes and would be spread over a period of three days (3rd to 5th March) with the participants being required to cover approximately 200 kms per day.
“The route will be a challenging and an adventurous one covering ‘axle-breaking’ riverbeds – both dry and wet, fast tarmacs with winding hair pins, unmetalled surfaces and exhilarating hilly terrain in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The competitive stretches would be evenly spaced and followed by the transport sections,” added SPS Ghai, Clerk Of Course (COC) SJOBA.
Nagendra Singh, Deputy Clerk of Course (DCOC) SJOBA highlighted that SJOBA has played an instrumental role in the region for motorsports promotion. The first SJOBA Motorcycle Rally was held in March 1981 and graduated to the SJOBA Open Rally in 1982 where, for the first time, amateurs in the region were exposed to motorsports in a professional way.
Danish Mangat, Competitors’ Relation Officer (CRO) SJOBA, revealed that the idea of motor sport came into being when SJOBA decided to do something for the region. Ideas were thrown about and SJOBA decided that motor sports would be its forte.
Dr Vivek Kapoor, CMO, underlined that the rally has become a nursery for motor sports in North India and many rallyists from this region and different states have honed their skills and proved their mettle in the annual SJOBA Rally. Talking about safety standards, Navkiran Singh, Chief Safety Officer added there are FIVs (First Intervention Vehicles) and ambulances at each competitive stage with SJOBA marshals.
SJOBA Rally 2023’s main supporters are Hero, Verka, Punjab Tourism, Servo, Fortis and NewsX.