STATE TIMES NEWS Leh: The 8th Edition of the North Quest Challenge, India’s highest accredited Mountain Biking (MTB) Cross Country Marathon, is all set to take place on the September 21, 2019, in Leh. The previous edition, which took place in 2018, was attended by over 450 cyclists including 27 elite athletes and proved itself to be a major boon to the rapidly rising sport of mountain biking in India. Founder and promoter of North Quest Challenge and Wisdom Eventosports, Stany Wangchuk said this at a press conference held in Leh on Thursday. He added that this year, two elite international cyclists, Jason English and Corey Wallace are all set to compete for the top prize. They are both multiple time MTB champions at a global stage. “This is my ancestral land. I have grown up here and my business and life is here. And when it was time to give back to my homeland there is nothing better than promoting tourism, eco friendly travel and scouting and developing the best home-grown talent. Hence I started North Quest Challenge and haven’t looked back since. It will only get bigger and we are taking it international in the next few editions,” Wangchuk added. The race, which offers cyclists the unique opportunity to ride at an astounding height of 3700m above sea level, is open to both professionals as well as amateurs, with timed as well as non-timed categories available. The total prize money fund is a whopping Rs 5,00,000. The most prestigious category is the Elite Series. The other categories include; Adventure Series and Extreme Series. An initiative branded ‘Trailblazers’ a 25km race for the children of the region has been introduced. The event is being organised by Wisdom Eventosports, under the aegis of the CH and is co-promoted by Meraki Sport & Entertainment. The title sponsor is Air India and Powered By sponsor is Scott. The other sponsors are LAHDC Leh, ALTOA, The Grand Dragon, The Abduz, Thongsal, Spic n Span, Shanti Nest, Passion Street, Bullet Café, Freerider Magazine and Summer Holiday. “MTB at such an altitude and challenging terrain is very tempting for fitness freaks and pro riders at the same time. Leh is blessed with a natural beauty that adds finest charm to entire event. Not only winning but completing this race is itself a very big achievement,” said Rohit Sharma, MTB National Elite commissure (CFI). “l am thoroughly excited to be associated with the North Quest Challenge. Cycling across the picturesque enigma that Ladakhis, along with a host of talented riders is certain to be a truly unique experience”, said actor Rajkummar Rao, an ambassador for the event. Wisdom Eventosports organiser Harkirat Singh said that there are few sports that can provide the level of euphoria that Mountain Biking can evoke. “SCOTT Sports has always looked to partner with events that help propel the sport to a higher standard and we believe North Quest Challenge, the world’s highest MTB XCM, does just that. The level of competition and athletes here will help mountain biking grow in India and that ties with SCOTTs vision to grow cycling as a sport in India”, Jaymin Shah, Country Manager, SCOTT Sports India told the media. MD and co-founder of Meraki Sport & Entertainment, Mumbai, Alit Ravindran also spoke on the occasion.
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