Along Aier of Nagaland has won the 3,000 km Raid De Himalaya rally, which was marred by the death of three competitors. Along, who was driving a gypsy came ahead of Rahul Khanna of Sikand Rallying.
Shimla was the starting point for the third Raid De Himalaya, where 28 cars and 34 motorcycles lined up for the flag off, but the raid, billed as one of the worldaÂÂs toughest motorsport events, quickly put a handful of the competitors out of contention in the first stage itself.
Day one of the raid saw one of the favourites, Manik Raikhy driving an Esteem as the leader. Raikhy held on to his lead in the second stage of the raid from Gramphoo to Kaza, which knocked out a few more competitors, including another favourite Sanjay Sikand of Sikand Rallying.
Raikhy was comfortably in the lead till the fourth stage from Darcha to Sarchu on the third day when his caraÂÂs axle broke and that's when Aier in a gypsy overtook him.
The fourth day was marred with tragedy when British rider John Mark James died after crashing his Bullet 500 at the mass start at Morey plains.
When the organisers decided to continue the raid the next day from Leh to Kargil, Raikhy was back in form and gave Along a run for his money at the Lamayuru loops.
The return to Manali saw one of the stages after Sarchu cancelled because of bad weather - Along still retaining the lead.
Towards the end of the raid disaster struck again when N L Choudhury and Jaswinder Pal died after their Gypsy plunged into a deep gorge barely 30 km from the finish.
Despite all the danger, Along nursed his gypsy to a first place finish with Rahul Khanna settling for second place for the second time.
Surhid Sharma on a TVS Suzuki Shogun finished first among the bikers while Dijay Sahi also on a shogun came in second.