Buy the ticket, take the ride...

- Hunter S. Thompson



Jul 24, 2015

India’s 1st all-women trans-continent road expedition embarks from Delhi

Three Indian women set out on on a 55-day road trip yesterday sponsored by Mahindra First Choice Wheels.


Yogesh Kumar

Starting from Delhi, they plan to drive through 14 countries to reach London, covering a distance of approximately 15000 kms.

Nidhi Tiwari, Rashi Koppar and Soumya Goyal, driven by their passion for exploration and travel, have set about on a long and ambitious trip of driving a four-wheeler from Delhi to London. This idea was the brainchild of Nidhi Tiwari who is also the lead driver of their expedition. They began planning their route in February and  had to keep in mind conditions of roads, possibility of driving on rough terrain, social structures of various countries and security.

The expedition is backed by Mahindra (an Indian multinational automobile manufacturing corporation) who sponsored the team with a Scorpio, along with a range of other sponsors. They will drive the Scorpio,  Mahindra First Choice Wheels product through several countries – Myanmar, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium and France, with its journey culminating in London.

Vehicle used in the expedition
Vehicle used in the expedition. Image ©: Women Beyond Boundaries

The team is a part of a social initiative, Women Beyond Boundaries, a unique concept that brings people with a thrill of driving together. It seeks to empower and enable a greater number of women to occupy the long distance/off road driving space. It will train, design and assist women towards this endeavor.

“It is a dream come true. It took almost 15 years for this dream to become a reality. We want women to come out of their daily boundatries and set on such a long journey which holds the capability to change lives,” said Nidhi Tiwari.

Day-wise route:

Day 1 to 7: Delhi – Kanpur – Siliguri – Guwahati – Imphal – Moreh/ Tamu border point (Myanmar) – Monywa (Distance: 2,403 km)
Day 8 to 14: Monywa – Mandalay – Lhasio – Muse – Ruili – Dali – Xichang – Chengdu (Distance: 1903 kms)
Day 15 to 21: Chengdu – Ruoergai – Xining – Jiayuguan – Hami – Turpan – Kuerle (Distance: 3,520 km)
Day 22 to 28: Kuerle – Akesu – Kashgar – Sary Tash (Kyrgyzstan) – Osh – Tashkent – Samarkhand – Bukhara (Distance: 1,964 km)
Day 29 to 35: Bukhara – Khiva – Nukus (Khazakistan) – Beyneu – Atyrau – Astrakhan (Russia) – Volvograd (Distance: 2,352 km)
Day 36 to 42: Volvograd – Kamensk – Kharkiv – Kiev (Ukraine) – Lviv – Karkow (Poland) – Prague (Czech Republic) (Distance: 2,589 km)
Day 43 to 54: Prague – Frankfurt (Germany) – Brussels (Belgium) – London (UK) (Distance: 1,269 km)

About the team:

The team is led by Ms. Nidhi Tiwari – Nidhi is an experienced outdoor educator and off-road jeeper besides being an Army wife and mother of two boys. She specializes in outdoor education, off-the-road jeeping, long distance and high altitude driving, with a volume of outdoor and jeeping experience in the Western Ghats, Indian Himalayan states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nepal, Bhutan, USA, South Africa and Kenya.

The other team member is Ms Rashmi Gururaja Koppar – Rashmi is a hotel management professor, married, mother of a young daughter. Also an adventure sports enthusiast, educator and amateur long-distance driver.

The third member in the on-road all women crew is Dr Soumya Gopinath – Soumya is a physical therapist, mother of two young boys and a passionate traveler. She also runs an outdoor biking gear company and a campsite in the Western Ghats in India.

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Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.



Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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