ALL FOR A DAY AT THE TRACK!Posted On: January 20, 2019 By : AutoLife Team
Where limits are tested, where bonds are created, where we find out even more about ourselves is when we travel together with our close ones. So, we decided to talk to a group of four friends who made their way to Delhi and back onboard their “Superbikes”. Yes, you read that right, across the border on “Supberbikes”, not on big comfortable touring bikes but on bikes that have a very committed riding position. A ride across the border itself is quite the challenge but on these types of bikes make it an even more challenging task. We had to know how they came up with this idea and how the end experience was so we had a chat with the four riders; Awashyak Shrestha, Pranay Kazi Kansakar, Ritez Shrestha and Sandeep Hammett alongside with two crew members, Aryan Bajgain and Milan Rai.
SO HOW DID THE IDEA OF GOING TO INDIA ON SUPERBIKES COME UP?
Awashyak: It started when we were planning a road trip to the far western Region of Nepal and then to Darjeeling. Apparently, Sandeep came up with the idea of a road trip to Delhi, and I added jokingly, “Lets hit the track”. We took these words seriously and even though the plan was made by two of us, we decided to add few of our friends to this trip, who were willing to ride all the way to Delhi and back. India being the neighboring country, crossing the border on our own bikes didn’t seem so difficult. However, we didn’t know how, but we wanted to make this happen. We were not sure of how this trip would turn out, but we decided to try and were on the way to Delhi on the 29th of October. We didn’t plan such a long journey initially, but we also didn’t stop once we started.
HOW DIFFICULT WAS THE PROCESSING OF GETTING PERMISSION TO RIDE THE BIKE ACROSS THE BORDER?
Awashyak: A cross-border road trip has its own challenges and difficulties. However, the process of a motorbike road trip from Nepal- India was very straightforward. Indian embassy in Kathmandu had provided us with a list of required documents which was attainable. We got our road permit the next day. At the Indo-Nepal (Nepalgunj) border the paper works were to be submitted which took less than half an hour. The Indian police were very friendly and welcoming. That was the positive sign to the beginning of our trip.
WHAT WERE THE THINGS THAT YOU HAD TO DO TO GET READY FOR THIS RIDE?
Collective answer: First of all, we had to ensure if the Buddh International Circuit was available for us to race on our own bikes. Sandeep was constantly communicating with the concerned team inside the circuit and other riders from India who we became friends on Instagram. After we got done with the required documents, we started preparing our bikes for the road and track. Although we had basic road gear, we had to upgrade a few things. A race suit was compulsory for a track day, some of us had them and some didn’t so getting one was a priority. Similarly, for the road, we had to invest in all terrain touring gear. Likewise, a set of brand-new tyres had to be bought, the engine oil was specifically for racing, brake fluids, radiator water, front and rear brake parts, etc. After we were done with talking about the pre-ride preparations, we jumped into the riding side of things.
WHAT WERE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN THE RIDING STYLE BETWEEN INDIA AND NEPAL?
Pranay: Riding in Nepal is a hassle to be honest, we pay such huge taxes for such machines but still get stopped like we are criminals, in India the traffic appreciated our journey they appreciated our passion and encouraged us to achieve our goals, riding style wise, the Indian jams were a huge pain in the ass, and as a result of that my bike overheated twice. The traffic in Nepal is a lot more bearable compared to India, but once the traffic is cleared the roads are excellent and you can reach 120- 130 kmph in city roads itself, the highways are probably one of the best in the world too, in my opinion it challenges the western highways. One mantra that we followed in our time at the highway was put your head down and go full throttle. We all reached max limits of our bikes on the highways.
Awashyak: Both geographies have their own charm; the exhilarating twist and turns in Nepal and the breathtaking open highways of India. As soon as we crossed the border, the smooth tarmac instilled positive difference and added confidence in my riding style. I could focus less on the seating position and more on the straight stretches. At this point, I missed the twist and turns of the roads in Nepal. Riding from Nepalgunj to Lucknow came with lots of hazards on the way. For, example 16 wheeler trucks carrying goods almost the size of a 3 story house thrilled us. Tractors carrying huge lump of paddy straws, at the same time wind blowing the straws would cover the tarmac, creating hazardous the road conditions.
When we were about to enter Lucknow, the change in road conditions brought more confidence as you could feel your bike performing better. The transition from daylight to pitch dark riding brought strength and enjoyment because the development of road infrastructure of Lucknow changed my perspective on my riding. The traffic was tolerable up until Lucknow.
Lucknow to Delhi was bit frightening almost a 500 Km travel not in terms of distance but the word ‘Expressway’. It just pictured me of vehicles with limitless speed, convoy of 16 to 22 wheeler. The average speed of 190 Km/hr made me tuck my head under the windscreen. This aerodynamic track riding style had to be pursued to prevent yourself from being thrown off your seat. Maintaining this pace overtaking, pulling over to the hard shoulder lane to take a group break, most of the time competing to hit your top speed was a unique experience on its own. Co ordinative skill grew stronger, learnt other members riding style and weaknesses. The expressway experience taught us the dos and don’ts. For example, a high speed curve at 200 Km/hr is not meant to look to your friends on your mirrors, it nearly turned into a disaster for me.
This Lucknow to Delhi expressway after an hour got a bit boring, the perspective view clearly defined its distance, there were no more up shift’s passed your 6th gear, you couldn’t twist your throttle more than its cable wires length. Leaving some room just not to touch the red line on your speedometer. Time and again looking at your fuel gauge, wishing the fuel you have will give you so many kilometers. All this while you’re riding style is ‘Tucked in with you chin of your Helmet touching the tank’.
While entering Delhi, as we reached the final toll booth. The narrowing of the expressway, the light congestion of vehicle, frequent use of front braking and pulling in the clutch lever made my forearms sore, signaled for the transition to the type of riding which is experienced frequently in Nepal.
HOW WAS THE TRACK EXPERIENCE AND HOW DIFFERENT WAS IT FROM YOUR EXPECTATIONS? WHAT WERE THE ACTIVITIES INVOLVED?
Ritez: It was a new experience for all of us; we had never been to a proper track before since there are no tracks in Nepal and we only dreamed of riding is a track someday. The day of the track day was quite unbelievable all of us got up early due to the excitement and were still in shock as to whether it was a dream or a reality. When we reached the track we were briefed about the rules and regulations of the track, then we were given the details of the turns, the braking spots and the straightaways. After all this were taken for a sighting lap while following the safety car. The first time around the track was surreal as we had booked for a private session and there were over 60 staffs present for the four of us. People like track marshals, medics, engineers, safety staff, etc. it took us some time to get acquainted with the braking and accelerating points because if you got it wrong you would end up going wide and had the possibility to crash. Riding in the track was a completely different experienced from what we thought, it was a lot harder to lower timings and it taught us a lot about our weak points and how to get over them. After a couple of laps we finally started getting the hang of it and started to get better timings consistently. It was a great but tiring experience; after covering those distances, we didn’t think a short time at the track would be tiring in comparison but it took a huge toll on our bodies and we were really fatigued by the end of it.
HOW FEASIBLE WAS THIS RIDE ON A SUPER SPORTS BIKE? AND WOULD YOU GUYS BE TRAVELLING AGAIN ANYTIME SOON?
Sandeep: It was a bit taxing on the body due to the leaned over riding position and riding for those long hours did get difficult at times but our mental strength helped us all get through those troubles to achieve our main goal of riding in the track. We were in constant touch with a mechanic shop named “HEXXCODE” in Delhi. Got our bikes serviced, re-mapped our ECU’s. After our track session we headed straight to Agra city without our bikes showing any defects. A back-up car was ever present carrying fuel, tools, spare helmets day and night. So our luggage’s made it through this trip much safer and for us, weightless during this trip. Two of our friends Milan and Aryan were looking after us throughout the trip. We really appreciated them for cooperating with us during the whole trip. We had a good experience and we will be travelling in the near future as well. Next time probably for an entire week of track day with adequate amounts of rest.
Hearing their story made us want to go there and experience it for ourselves and we hope that the opportunity will come soon. You can check out their Instagram handle “life_ride_style_npl” for more on this epic journey!