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10th ENFIELD RENDEZVOUS & POKER RUN: THE THUMP THAT BINDS

One of the most intriguing thing about motorcyclists is the brotherhood that binds them and this same statement is what Poker Run has always stood for. Now entering the 10th phase of becoming the biggest ride in the Himalayas. Enfield Rendezvous and Poker Run is an event dedicated to all the Royal Enfield riders around the world and creating a bond between all the motorcyclists from various backgrounds. And we must say, what Sacred Summits is doing with the Poker Run has been shaping into what can only be stated as an event to celebrate this exact bond.

With more than 200 motorcyclists thundering through the Kathmandu valley for 200 kilometers to Pokhara, Poker Run has come a long way since its inception in 2009. Enfield Rendezvous and Poker is an annual event to celebrate the Nepali New Year along with a poker game throughout the ride and share the road with fellow locals and international riders. For the ride, all the riders ride in unison as what they call a bullet train with different pitstops. All the riders registered are in for a game of poker and every one picks a card at the pitstops and the winner is decided, having the best poker hand at the end of the ride.

Let’s start off with how Poker Run has come around to be what it is right now. Poker Run was first started in 2009 by Rabi Thapa (CEO of Scared Summits Pvt. Ltd.) along with an Australian friend of his, Stewart Mclean in the memory of their friend late Binod Chhetri who was an avid Enfield rider and an adventure enthusiast. The idea of Poker Run came about when Rabi Thapa and Binod Chhetri sat down to talk about how motorcycle clubs abroad conduct such kind of event to celebrate riding and to have a fun game of poker. That is how Poker Run came to be and over the years this has been one of the most celebrated and must attend event for all the Royal Enfield riders.

Up until now, Autolife has always made sure that we are a part of the Enfield Rendezvous and Poker Run. Even this time around, Sacred Summits had invited us to be a part of the celebration, and what more of a better way to enjoy the Nepali New Year than to be a part of a massive ride and enjoy yourself at one of the best hotels in Pokhara. For the 10th edition, the Poker run took place from 13th-15th April, 2018 at Hotel Pokhara Grande. But that’s not all, to make things better, Sacred Summits were generous enough to hand us the keys to a Royal Enfield Himalayan, which would be our companion for the next three days. And to add all the excitement, all the costs for accommodation and registrations were waived off, making the overall experience to be much more worthwhile.

Just like the previous year, the event started off early on the morning of New Year’s Eve at Khula Manch. It was indeed a sight to behold, more than 200 motorcycles lined up together before the ride. The 10th Enfield Rendezvous and Poker had different sponsors as support with Khukuri Rum as title sponsor and Asahi Beer as drinks sponsor. All the participants were served with breakfast early at 8 am and was followed by a cultural program by underprivileged children.

The Guest of Honor for the day was MP Gagan Thapa who started with an inauguration speech. The speech was then followed by road safety rules and group riding rules given to the rider by our road captain, Pramod ‘Goofy’ Shrestha. After the heavy breakfast, all the riders swung their legs over their motorcycles and the convoy of 200 something motorcycles revved up so loud that it almost started to sound like a battle cry of thousands of armies.

The event was flagged off around 8:30am and the convoy was then escorted by police personnel through the roads of Kathmandu, getting all the attention focused on the bullet train. It was a breeze to get through the busy roads and traffic of Kathmandu valley with the help of the police convoy up front, ensuring a hasslefree ride till Naubise. This year’s Poker Run saw a lot of riders from all over the world, with riders from India, Japan, Australia, Japan, England and USA, and from all around the nation. For this event, the main slogan was, ‘The Thump That Binds” and it was indeed what the event stated to be.

It was indeed a sight to behold, to see all these motorcycles thundering up the highways in a single file. Our first pitstop was some 10-20kms further from Naubise for refreshments and the second poker hand was handed out at the same spot as well; the first one being at Khula Manch. After which, we headed out to our next stop, Mugling, where a big Thakali lunch awaited us. Being treated with delicious food, courtesy of Yeti Airlines, everyone got their energies back up and got back on the road to celebrate the New Year’s Eve at Hotel Pokhara Grande. Then we came to our final pitstop at Akela highway, where we were handed with a new natural energy drink Tenzing. It was almost 5 in the evening and the skies were starting to get dark. So, we rushed ourselves to avoid the rain but it seemed to be unavoidable.

The rain was not something that could stop the bullet train. The clouds were creating their thunder up in the sky and here we had 200 different Royal Enfield motorcycles creating their own thunder. Through all the turmoil due to the rain we finally reached Pokhara around 7 o’clock in the evening and thumping through the streets we finally had reached our hotel. Upon reaching there, all the motorcyclist started revving up their beasts, almost as declaring that they had finally conquered the open roads and now they can finally celebrate.

With a warm welcome from the hotel staff, we were handed the keys to the luxurious rooms of Hotel Pokhara Grande. All the riders went into their rooms for a refreshment and after which a BBQ snack and drinks were in place at the event hall. As soon as we got inside the hall, we were greeted by the sweet aroma of the BBQ that we were soon to devour and a band was setting up stage to entertain everyone. The night went on with everyone getting drunk and it was almost midnight and just like that, we were counting off to bid the year goodbye and welcome a fresh new year.

We all have heard how Pokhara’s weather can be so unpredictable. Thankfully the next day was warm and sunny, a perfect day to enjoy the serenity of the lake city. It was a free day at Pokhara for all the riders and you could see the lakeside being abuzz with all the Enfield riders. Also, Sacred Summits had organized a charity ride for underprivileged children in rural places of Pokhara. The charity ride had more than 20 Enfield riders, all excited and eager to go and donate to a local community school at the outskirts of Pokhara, near Kalika Bajar. This just shows how you get to meet some of the humblest people on a motorcycle.

We were now nearing to the end of the day, and every one had gathered in the hall once again. The closing ceremony was in place and an award distribution ceremony was also in order. All the different awards were given out and the best poker hand was won by Luja Dangol. The lights were dimmed and it was now time for the DJ to take the stage and make the place electric. It was yet another long night with everyone enjoying themselves to the beat and partying on. And finally, the day came, when we all had bid farewell to the luxuries of the hotel, get on our motorcycles and get back home.

10th Enfield Rendezvous and Poker Run was nothing short of excitement and awesomeness, bringing in all the riders together to celebrate in harmony. The event indeed proved the statement of how everyone is bound by the thump. We only hope to see this event get bigger and better each year. We bid it farewell, until the next Nepali New Year. Just like they say it, Christians wait for Christmas, Hindus for Diwali and Muslims for Id, Enfielders here in Nepal now eagerly anticipate their loudest and biggest reunion – The Enfield Poker Run.

 

 

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