This doctor knows the pulse of off-roading well

Dr Mohammed Fahed is in a profession where the smallest of errors could cause serious harm. The paediatrician employs the same set of skills and precision called for in examining kids while navigating the treacherous off-roading tracks when he is behind the wheels. A frontline COVID-19 warrior, Dr Fahed was among the winners in several off-roading challenges held recently in Kerala.

Auto enthusiast

Malappuram's love for football is well-known. It is not much different in Perinthalmanna, the native place of Dr Fahed. However, Fahed was interested in motorsports from a very young age. He learned driving in the Jeep at their home and his trips in the vehicle laid a strong foundation for his later-day passion for off-roading.

The Mahindra Thar was the first vehicle that he bought. Initially, he was just a bystander at off-roading events. Meanwhile, Dr Shibu Varghese, who was his teacher and who had encouraged his passion for off-roading very early, asked his former ward to organise an off-roading event at Bhoothathankettu during the 2015 Onam. When he said yes, he also got a chance to take part in his first offroading challenge.

Since 2016, Dr Fahed has been taking part in off-road events regularly. Though he participated in several events across Kerala, he could lay hands only on a trophy each in 2016 and 2017. Even those came to him because several others could not complete the race. Later, during several events he could not finish the challenge, which forced him to do a rethink.

He then tried to better understand the vehicle and its traits. His Thar was heavy due to the modifications done on the vehicle. He had to proportionately increase power in order to take part in offroad challenges. That is when he understood that lighter is better when it comes to off-roading and additional weight could affect the capabilities of the vehicle.

The Colossus

A 1994 model CJ 500 Jeep replaced his Thar. After the necessary modifications for off-roading, it was named Colossus and became his favourite vehicle. Through the Colossus he also found the right power-to-weight ratio ideal for off-roading. Since then, in almost all challenges he took part in 2019 and 2020, Dr Fahed had podium finishes.

Dr Fahed was the runner up in the Kattappana Off-Road Challenge - diesel class, runner-up in the R&T Summer Challenge - diesel class, winner in the Wayanad Jeepers Summer Challenge - Extreme Class, the best driver in the Kozhikode Fly Wheel Auto Off-Road Challenge, runner-up in the Trikkur Wings of Help Off-Road Challenge - diesel category, runner-up in the Kottakkal Cheruvadi Off-Road Club's Mud War - diesel class, runner-up in the Thirur MOAC's Auto Cross, runner-up in the Kattappana Mud Challenge - diesel class, winner in the Vagamon Mahindra Great Escape - Modified Class, winner in the Munnar KASC Kerala Adventure Trophy - diesel category, a member of the Wayanad Jeepers team that won the Bengaluru Mahindra Club Challenge, runner-up in the Kakkanad V12 - diesel class, a winner in the first LON at Vagamon in diesel class and had the best timing in all categories in the latter race.

Credit to co-driver, rebuilders

He shares credit with his co-driver Rajeev Lal for all the victories. He believes that in every victory the driver and the co-driver contribute 40% each and the vehicle the remaining 20%. A native of Kozhikode, auto enthusiast Rajeev Lal works as a health inspector.

After an event, the Colossus met with an accident on its way to a workshop. Later, during lockdown, Vipin Varghese and Saifuddin of Wayanad Jeepers rebuilt the Colossus. The new-look Colossus also got fiddle brake and locking differential. Since then, Fahed emerged either as the winner or as the best driver in three of the four off-road challenges. In one event he was the runner-up.

Dr Fahed credits Vipin and Saifuddin too for this achievement post the makeover. Fahed says that his friends at the Wayanad Jeepers were already using fiddle brakes when he had just started thinking about it.

RFC dream

Like any other off-road driver, Dr Fahed's dream is to take part in the RFC (Rain Forest Challenge). The V12 challenge at Ettumanoor last September opened doors for him to an RFC sponsor. Dr Fahed and Rajeev Lal had borrowed Shemi Mustafa's Jeep that had taken part in RFC. The Mohammed Fahed-Rajeev Lal team zipped through the twisties with the help of fiddle brake and achieved great timing.

This performance helped them win the sponsorship of Shemi Mustafa's Gulf First. For the RFC in 2021, Dr Fahed will get a custom-built Jeep, including a Fortuner engine and gearbox. He will participate in the diesel class.

Sarbloh Motors of Punjab, a well-known name in building off-road vehicles in India, is making this special vehicle. Mohammed Fahed and Rajeev Lal expect the vehicle to be ready for the Offroad Jamboree at Perinthalmanna from January 9 to 10. Similar to the RFC, the challenge has been organised in several phases here.

Profession vs passion

An Ayurvedic paediatrician, Dr Fahed is working at the Malappuram District Ayurveda Hospital since 2016. Initially, his passion for off-roading did not get the support of his family. Injury fear was the main reason for the family's objection. With compulsory roll cage, five-point seat belt and helmet, nothing happens to those inside off-roading vehicles even in case of a rollover. He showed his own videos to convince his family members to assuage their fears.

Married to Dr Nesnin K J, who has own practice based at their own house, they have two children. Dr Fahed is also a member of motorsports clubs like KTM Jeepers and KL10 Offroad Club.

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