T.W.O. Throttle Wide Open
Venue: KARI Motor Speedway
Dates : Dec 5th/6th 2009
Cost : INR3900/rider
Includes : Two full days of track time, Instruction by experienced racers, Learn Theory and get a chance to put that learning on the track, Medical, Marshals and a chance to hang out with your crowd!
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Caman the RAID!!
It is true ...Dreams do come true. Or at least they will!!! .... in a weeks time. My wish to take part in motor sports and my dream to ride in the mighty Himalayas are going to be fulfilled during the 10th international RAID DE HIMALAYA.
Hailed as the third toughest rally in the world under extreme weather conditions, the Raid is sure going to be an experience like no other.
Much effort has gone into this project over the past year - from collecting the bike, choosing the riding gear to deciding on the spare parts to be carried. So vested was I in getting necessary changes done to the bike and procuring the required equipment that the last six months have been lost in isolation from the rest of the world.
As Murphy’s law would dictate, my work load at office nearly doubled with added responsibilities right when I was needed the most at the mech’s workshop. All the wake hours were spent either hunting for spare parts / getting the bike modifications done or having a telephone receiver glued to the ear on a con-call with the client discussing when the next release to the production system is likely to happen. Who ever said Sap Consultancy is easy...and everybody says Raid is tough.
Considering it has been a while since I last updated this space, here are a list of events that missed the log books
- Club rides with the boy to nearby places.
- Photography trips with people who like to shoot small things with large things from far off distances
- A very thrilling and confidence boosting track day at the Sriperambuddur race track in Chennai (finished 6th overall with a best lap time of 1:25 on the short loop)
- Had a clumsy but nasty fall in my office parking lot while doing 30kmph and managed to loose skin form most of my left knee. The first time I dropped a bike. Damn those MRF Zappers.
- Took part in a very exiting two day Rally De Bengaluru – which included my first ever dirt event under lights in a super special stage.
One of my best mates Rohan, who was leading in his class, had a bad fall at one of the slippery jumps and suffered a head injury. He is out of danger now and recovering fast – get well soon bruv!!
ProSports JK Tyre King of the Hills – Chamundi Hills
oday while one talks of R15’s and Ninja250’s, where the lap timings are getting shorter and when reliability is an assumed must - of all the Indian made machines Royal Enfield ceases to be a choice for high speed sport.
In spite of outstanding achievements by a few stalwarts like Sachin, Prashi, Nitin and the likes, on RE machines and all the “electrical gadgetry” that the new RE’s sport, the average RE enthusiast is still weary of competing at professional events other than an occasional track day. After all, at the core, the RE is still a machine from the 50’s which is as unpredictable as a bull on steroids.
In continuation to the effort to revive the Royal Enfield motorcycles in the Indian motor sports, a few of us, especially Rohan convinced the authorities and succeeded in participating in what could be a foray for RE in the modern day motorcycle racing.
PROSPORTS JK TYRE – KING OF THE HILLS
The organizers ProSports were kind enough to entertain our request and include RE as a separate class for this hill climb event. The event was later accredited with a sponsorship by JK tyre - a much needed publicity. The event though was faced with challenges was only delayed by a couple of weeks and finally took off on the 16th Feb 2008.
Not all who registered were able to take part, but 6 Bullets headed to Chamundi Hills that morning – some to win, some just happy to take part.
Kalkat and I were the first to reach the venue to find the arrangements well in progress. A trial run down the track confirmed my fears – debris strewn across the path at every corner. Those monster four-wheelers were let loose the day before for practice runs and the boys did their best to unearth every rock and stone on the way.
We were soon joined by Sachin, Rohan, Mamada, Dipesh, Monica and Snigda. Dipesh’s Endeavor was soon converted into a make shift paddock and the first to go were the Royal Enfield’s.
The sprint is an uphill climb of 2.8Km with jagged rock hill on the left and the concrete rampart on the right. The crowd had gathered all along the course on either side as they would in a rally.
Though we were given a practice run, all of us queued at the start line with the thought of having to go at our flat out best on a relatively unfamiliar turf.
Sachin was the first to go followed by Rohan. The wait had my pulse going but as I lined up all the noise and scuffling around muffled itself into silence. As they say - when the clutch drops, the bullshit stops! Had a good start and rode to the best of my abilities only to have my chain guard snap at one of the sweeping lefthanders. The unsettling experience had me straighten and slow down to cross the finish line rattling like a string of tin cans on a Bellandur tractor.
I was soon joined at the finish line by Muthu, Anand and finally by Kalkat.
pic by Dipesh
The timings are as follows
Sachin --- LB 500 --- 2.08
Rohan --- LB 500 --- 2.11
Kalkat --- LB 500 --- 2.19.85
Aditya --- CI 500 --- 2.27
Anand --- LB 500 --- 2.29.22
Muthu --- LB 500 --- 2.29.85
The winners were presented with ice hockey style towering trophies by the much respected rally guru Mr. C K Chinnappa
(The trophies are worth the win if not for any thing else :-) as Ukridge would say “by Scott they are huge!! a sure thing to impress them ladies”)
It was unanimously decided to celebrate the victory in Gudalore near Ooty. What followed was a beautiful ride through the Bandipur/Mudumalai forest range and a happy banter with friends on top of a hill among tea plantations.
More pictures - courtsey Dipesh
YOU CAN FORGET WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING WHEN YOUR KNEES ARE IN THE BREEZE – a wise guy
Labels: aditya, bulladi, chamundi hill, hill climb, king of the hill, motorcycle, PROSPORTS, race, rally, Royal Enfield
Alipnestars GP PLUS GLOVE: RACING – ROAD
The GP Plus gloves are from the A’stars premier collection shelf, suitable for track and serious road use. Aesthetically the gloves look very sharp with their generous use of carbon fiber over knuckle and fingers, the stylish gauntlet and the eye catching logo design. The double line stitching is done on the out side in a contrasting color reassuring the sturdiness of the build. The outside stitching also leaves a seamless finish which avoids the painful welts, from the otherwise bunched up leather that jams the already restricted fingers, from the inside.
The first thing I noticed when I tired one on was the comfort and the ergonomic ease with which it molded over my hand. The pre-curved fingers adhere to the natural posture forcing a relaxed claw. The gloves feel natural while gripping the handle bar – the small double strap on the inside of the wrist ensures a snug fit. The fact that this strap is hooded by a small protruding flap of leather can only be attributed to the aerodynamics of the gloves.
But unlike the claims, this glove too needs breaking in. The knuckle on my right hand little finger was sore for days after a seven-hour stint in these gloves.
My bone structure was definitely not to blame as, I soon after came to know that, Alpinestars have modified this problem in their later versions - “The carbon pieces on the pinky and ring finger were removed to reduce the discomfort and stiffness created by the carbon pieces positioned in a small area – Aplinestars”
Well, mine does have that little piece of carbon fiber on the last two fingers and am eagerly waiting for the leather around to adapt for the torture to end.
Also worth writing about is the patented concept of Alpinestars that unite the ring finger and the small finger by a piece of leather. This makes the two fingers inseparable, which apparently helps one in counting to ten after a crash. Strangely though, this restriction is not so much of a bother as it would seem. Surprisingly, I noticed, I use the last two fingers together or not at all.
The appeal of the glove is the soft yet sturdy kangaroo leather that gives a protective feel to the glove. The gauntlet, also of the same material, wraps its self sleekly over the wrist and forearm with Velcro. It is however, due to this tight fit, worth noting that many (like me) would find it difficult to wear it over the cuff of a riding jacket. I content my self by sliding my jacket sleeve over covering the gauntlet.
Thought the glove does not have any vents, the sweat absorbing material on the inside of the palm keeps the glove dry. In hot conditions however, it is advisable to leave the sodden leather to dry itself before the next use.
This is one of the best gloves in the market, worth for their brand value as much as for the excellent quality – at a steep price though.Manufacturers Specifications
Carbon fiber knuckle and finger protection
Patented “Finger Bridge” for maximum 3rd and 4th finger protection
External seams on palm and lateral side provide a seamless feel on the sensitive areas of the hand
Palm protected with KEVLAR (brand fiber) and second layer of leather
Pre-curved fingers provide secure and relaxed grip
Dual wrist closures for personalized fit and greater protection
Internal SCHOELLER KEPROTEC lining
Reflective appliqué logos for increased visibility
The Cloud Valley - Coorg district
Second ride with the RTMC boys to the Cloud valley on the 12th and 13th.
750km round trip
Amazing ghats, lush forests, beautiful roads, comfortable accommodation, delicious food, meticulous planning, new places, and unfortunate accidents - overall a learning experience.
Made a rain drenched pilgrimage ride to Talacauvery and "Triveni Sangam" in Bhagamandala.Pictures
Labels: ride, Royal Enfield, RTMC
MBMC 5a @Elagiri
MadrasBulls are five years old and growing. The club has done some good rides this year and has seen some admirable new affiliates. Be it the England ride, Rider Mania or the solo Kerala rides – the members have a lot to celebrate with our fellow riders from the southern squadron. There could not have been a better place to celebrate this year than at our Bala's Foghorn Adventures in Elagiri.
Riding with a worn out clutch might not be the safest thing to do and it is definitely risky if the problem list includes a dysfunctional front brake, loose con-rod and a worn out swing armbush. So decided to ride as the bike's condition demanded – I may aswell go on to say that the bike took me through the ride safely and saw me home with no complications. I have loved my bike since the day I bought it but my respect and affection towards it grows after every such display of resilience.
Bangalore weather finally caught up with me and I was running the customary change-in-location fever. Not wanting to miss the ride,had decided to tuck in early, but the absence of electricity and drytaps forced me go knocking at my friends apartment to spend the night. Finally managed to crash at 1AM with a Crocin.
Rode to the Domlour flyover to meet Prateek who guided through thecity roads to the Shell bunk on the Hosur highway. DeadDog and Sonali joined us soon afterwards. Stopped at the HP bunk after crossing the stare border for some breakfast and cheaper petrol. Now joined by Salai and his wife we made steady progress @60kph. Prateek likes to ride slow, Sonali doesn't want to ride fast and I cannot ride fast – DeadDog was bound by the obligation of tailing me :-) and Salai was itching to break free. The temperature was rising and much to Salai's relief the first of the hotrods overtook us – Sam and Dutta on their superior BMWs. Theywere soon followed buy the patraaaan junta – Rohan, Mahendra,Poo....it is always a pleasure being overtaken by faster machines. Sam and Dutta - thanks to their frequent ciggi breaks were a treat many a times.
Owing to my limping slow machine, I could not afford to stop longerwith the gang on our breaks, I would continue riding treating myselfto another of their flybys. Finally reached the foot hills where the boys had stopped for yet another of their breaks. Not wanting to hold anyone back and being a part of the welcoming committee, I continued up the ghats after getting directions from Mahindra.
As always, climbing the ghats is feeling like no other and Elagiri uphill climb is a treat with frequent hairpins and long `s' bends. Temporarily forgot the problems that I had with the bike, openingthe throttle probably more than I should have. But the bike behaved beautifully with a healthy beat (the hilly climate sure agreed with the bike).
Reached the venue to be greeted by fellow MadBulls. Was pr-registered with a room already allotted, so could take off to the "site" immediately where my services were urgently required. Naren wanted help in lugging some furniture and music system to the camp site on the notorious 207 TATA mobile. It was one rollercoaster ride on the back of that pickup truck holding on to the tables and the rolling water cans through the Elagiri bends.Bala was architecting the dirt track around the site. He had us decorate it with gravel, sand and granite chips to discomfort the rider leaving no grip and unpredictable slides. Planted the beer cans around the track and helped Dosai set up the moozik.
Sim offered a ride back to the dorms to escort the rest. Sitting on a steel carrier that he has for a rear seat was my dumb idea, but ripping through the sand littered bends and flying (literally) over the humps was his idea of scaring the big J outta me...my bum stillhurts....thanks bro...
its An?l’s turn
The events started with the beer picking competition (ended with it being the only event really....). With Dosai demonstrating the artof picking stuff from ground...few of us managed to snag the cans and the rest were content with riding around the track as fast asthey could.
Post lunch, a quick drizzle settled the dust and the wet ground and the sudden fall in temperature were a pleasant contrast to the scorching heat we had through the day.
After every one had left for their afternoon siesta, few of us stayed back to pack. There were Ajith, Arul, Dosai, Vijay, Bra,Balaji and Aravindan – a bright young local lad who can speak immaculate English and had good GK. It was a privilege to have met this kid in such a remote place studying in a local convent to articulate himself so well. I truly hope that he goes places and does well for himself. Spent jolly good hour laughing at Vijay's antics and Ajiths funny retorts.
Negotiating the track on Bala’s bike
On a challenge we all had another go at the track. The ride back was another exhilarating rush – particularly at one of the crests where the road suddenly drops low – where almost every one was airborne.
After a short rest the party had started in the evening with DJDosai "belting" out crappy dinchak rave muzik...taking DJing a bit too far m'mon....he soon came back to senses and did what he does thebest - selecting some praaapor tamil numbers mixed with heavy metalrock – we are like that wonlee!!
Heavy drinking, cake cutting/smearing, brilliant presentation byDeadDawg, mindless pelvic thrusts, mob dancing, head banging,screaming, dinner "sapad"ing, dancing around the bon-fire, some more headbanging later...the crowd started to dissipate.
Late into the night Muthu took over the DJ console churning some classic rock while the rest gathered around the hot ambers. Few of us were up till early hours of the morning -Manish, Simmi, Arul, Tabby, David, Bra, Aditi_2 (Muthu's colleague),Sylvia, VKA, Dosai, Deepa and Soup.
Pic courtsey - Tushtang
At about three in the morning, Mr.Souperman develops a craving for `chai' and infects others with a need for one. He went about waking up the irate cook – our in-house-at-your-service-chef who rudely refused the request. While Dosai, Aditi_2 and self were playing sentinel outside, Soup and Deepa broke into the kitchen and ransacked the place for some sugar,tea powder and a pot. Brewed the tea on hot ambers and the guys enjoyed their charcoal flavored, ash speckled tea – I don't drinktea :-)
The group retired about 7 in the morning. I take this opportunity towelcome the new joiners Manish, Bra, Tabby and Aditi_2 to the lastman standing club :-) what say Dosai?
Woke up late to find most of the bike missing. Geared up quickly to join the last batch leaving.
The Ninja turtles
Dosai had managed to burn all his petrol trying to pick beer (rather teaching others how to pick) and was towed down the hill by Ajith.
Had delicious biryani at Vaniambadi and went shoe shopping in Ambur (picked up a nice pair of riding boots). Bid adios to my Chennai buds and headed back to join DD andSonali. Sonali had a mild heat stroke and was nursing on a bottle of electrol. The ride back to B'lore was quick and uneventful.
Special thanks to DD for sticking in my rearview mirror through outthe ride. Thanks bro...I guess we are even now :-)
Some more pictures
Riding into the New Horizon
With just three free days between jobs, my endless list of errands,packing a whole house was an exhausting experience...the amount ofstuff that I had for a single guy is appalling...and the decision topack it all by myself was certainly stupid (the packers were askingfor too much....or so I thought).
With all this halaboo I never quiet realized, until Arul put up hisnostalgic post, that I would be "shifting" out of Chennai soon.
Met with the boys at the beach for a three hour Cozee banter (forone last time) and then the gang headed for dinner to the localSubway (for one last time). Arul decided that we go for one of ourmid-night-rides on the ECR (for one last time). Solo, Arul, Dosai,Ajith, Vijay, Ravi and self rode to the Casuarina chai shop . It isalways a thrill to ride on the ECR at night...the road and therider...cool breeze from the ocean ...the thump from the machineinfront.....just peaceful(for one last time). Had jolly good timewith Vijay, Dosai, Ajith and Arul tripping on one another. ..laughedmad till late hours...for one last time.
Went to my mechanic to get a few kirrukkus fixed to find morelurking inside. In total the following were diagnosed.
1.The front disc pads are completely worn out and there arestriations on the rotor.
2.The clutch plates are completely worn out (knew this but not howbad)
3.con-rod noise...apparently there is some lateral movement (oh!! @#$% thisone is a blimer)
4.the swing arm bush is worn out (and I thought the rim was bent)
Splendid...I am to ride the next day with a full load on a slowlimping horse.The ride had been least of my troubles but with the current shape ofmy bike and DeadDawg backing out from riding along, I had a seriousproblem.
After some gyan from Master Solo and Jedi Arul...decided to stick tothe plan and go easy on the bike.
On the day...all I was left with was my bike and my personal things stuffed into borrowed cramsters (my other possessions having alreadybeen transported).
Left my empty apartment and started loading the crammers and thebags onto the bike – a process which surprisingly took nearly anhour. Reached the shell bunk to find Arul, Dosai, Ajith, David,Vijay, Bra, Bhrath, Raj, ArulMohan and Santosh already waiting forme. Being late on my own ride when the boys were already at the flagoff waiting for me was bad enough, but it was really humbling to seethat every one of them were riding 100Km till Kanchipuram to see meoff.
Started the ride with Dosai leading on a borrowed LB500. Pulled overat the Relaince A1 plaza ....10K before Kanchi for breakfast. Haltedfor more than an hour eating and waiting for the hot rods (Ajith,Arul and Dave) to return from their over shot.
The sun had been up for awhile and it had started to get hot, sofinally decided to leave. The boys formed a circle and sprung upwith a farewell gift – a hard cover on Classic Motorcycles. Loved itguys..thanks. And David presented me a madbull tee on behalf of theclub, which I must say was a very apt and a well thought of gift (asmuch as I hate that tee) thanks bro...
I am writing this to express my sincere appreciation and gratitudeto all those who were involved in planning this.To ride out of that A1 plaza with all of you waving me off was avery sentimentally satisfying feeling.Thank you guys. Till we meet again.
PS: stopped only once enroute for a drink and reached B'lore in 6.5hours flat.
PPS: thanks to Dosai & Karthik for the directions...bang on target.Did not have to ask anyone.