Since the advent of the term motorsport, we have seen a number of competitive parameters such as lap times, top speed, acceleration and more which roughly are produced to depict how swift, cutting edged and potent are those drivers and the machines they turn the needle in.
This in turn has translated into records, proving how much a man and machine can integrate efforts to rewrite history. Everyone is well aware of the different kinds of motorsports which happen on the global level. A gradual, though significant recognition is being achieved by the nascent term, ‘Sportbike Freestyle Riding’. This is a sport where an extreme athlete tries to perform a certain acrobatic and non-acrobatic feats on a bike but not in order to exploit the neck breaking acceleration or top speeds but to attain a balanced predefined trick. One can easily visualize and understand a part of all this by some terms like ‘wheelie’, ‘stoppie’ and ‘burnout’.
Today though, we are raising a toast to Rohitesh Upadhyay, TVS Racing factory Sportbike Freestyle Riding Athlete who hails from Udaipur, Rajasthan. The evening of 20th August 2017 at Express Avenue Mall, Chennai staged the longest ever Bike Stunt Show (Sportbike Freestyle Riding Show) to be done by anyone in India. We managed to get some time with Rohitesh and had a quick rundown with him where he tried explaining his experience.
Q: What was the wholesome objective of the show?
A: The show had two objectives, first the TVS trying to market itself as a brand and the second was an official one of a kind record being set by selected individuals in this genre in India. This particular feat does show how good TVS Apache 200 RTR bikes are plus that even Indian riders like me have the mettle to set milestones in this field. The format of the show was that five official TVS teams had to perform back to back on the record date in the same arena. Every team had a run of 20 minutes in rotation displaying different tricks (commonly misquoted as stunts).
Q: How long finally was the show conducted to be registered in India Book of Records?
A: The show started at 12 noon and extended up till 5pm in the evening on the official clock. The 5 hours lengthy tenure was finally completed with us completely drained.
Q: How extensively tough were the conditions for you on the day?
A: People don’t really realize this around the loud music and excitement but the truth of the matter is much more intense than what seems to be. The outside temperatures and troubling humidity was a catalyst to my encapsulated body in that rider gear. The gear I wear is designed with intentions to keep us aloof any injuries in case of a crash, which translates to padding all around on the torso, a helmet, knee guards and the set of those gloves. Inspite of the 3-5 kg weight of the gear itself, it does not have much ventilation which causes a lot of sweating to occur apart from the addition perspiration due to calorie burning throughout while performing tricks.
Q: Did you prepare the vehicle or tune it especially in any way for this gig?
A: The vehicle generally is factory prepared and tuned, apart from the safety implications and a free flow exhaust system, there were no tunes. The whole idea infact of the show is to display the qualities of the product that TVS produces for the general masses. Hence, no extensive bike modifications.
Q: What was the hardest time for you throughout the attempt?
A: The humidity from Chennai was pretty different a condition than the home one. Infact the first run itself was an eye opener demanding a need to keep myself in check so that I don’t succumb to dehydration. I had to take chocolates which worked to offer antioxidants, glucose and coffee for the caffeine supply at certain points in time. This all was done during the rest times when the other riders were performing.
Q: How did it feel to set the record and what more can we expect in future now?
A: It was great an experience that we got to successfully bag an event in this sport under the umbrella of TVS. Typically there have been many companies in the past who have been associated with the activity but it is pretty scarce to find a support to achieve a milestone. It was a moment of proud when the local newspaper featured me giving the credibility of being the ‘small town boy with big dreams’.
Q: What are your personal thoughts about the record?
A: Personally, I was honored to be a part of such an esteemed setup. The laurel does prove a lot to the world in a certified way. The only disappointment is that I did not have such chances earlier which largely express the potent of people like me. I really hope this does change people and their perspective for the good and they try to at least identify me as a different person, an extreme athlete from those notorious entities who just for idiotic fun do stunts on roads without even proper safety, entailing danger to the lives of all around them.
Q: Do you have any personal thoughts about the sport on large?
A: My first wish is that people acknowledge this as a proper motorsport, both on the field and off it. The companies are still using this motorsport as only a marketing exercise and not realizing that it is much more. Like me, there are riders who are still associated with the sport even inspite injuries or problems in a different form. If people can understand cricket, basketball, football, even Formula 1 or MotoGP to be sport, why cannot they understand that what I do is Sportbike Freestyle Riding? All I wish to do is make my city, my country proud just like a cricketer, wrestler or kabbadi player wants to but on a bike wearing all the safety gear and trying to do some tricks. What is wrong with that?
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