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ROARING INTO THE SUNSET

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cruising down open roads is only part of the biker dream. The other involves meeting like-minded bikers and sharing experiences. To that effect, Anindra Siqueira talks with Martin DCosta, festival director of India Bike Week, and tells you what to expect at the fifth edition that takes place in Goa next weekend

India Bike Week (IBW) is almost upon us and the two-day festival will rock the state of Goa once again. This year will see Leslie Porterfield, the fastest woman on two wheels, Freddie Spencer, a biking legend and the only man to win back-to-back championships in two classes (250cc and 500cc), and Melissa Pierson, American author and biker, among others. And then there’s a host of other events and activities to excite you, from the bike build-off to the Burn Out and Loudest Bike competitions, and even a chance to race a purpose-built Harley-Davidson around a track. We don’t think there is anything more exciting!

We caught up with IBW’s Martin DCosta for the inside line on the festival this year. He tells us that IBW is the sexiest biker rave in India, perhaps even Asia, and that 20,000 bikers are set to roar down to Vagator from all over India to meet and party. Here are excerpts from the interview.

What can attendees expect from this year’s India Bike Week?
Experience the world’s fastest woman on two wheels, a totally revamped biker shopping zone, India’s best custom bike builders, multiple music stages, the Big Trip Cinema Zone with India’s greatest travellers hosting their films and telling us how to ride from India to Moscow and elsewhere. India’s bike manufacturers will be there in force, along with riders from over 200 biker clubs from across India. We’ve brought in some of India’s best caterers for the food zones, created the IBW ‘Beerbulance’, and staffed the ‘Howling Dog Bar’ with a Coyote Ugly bar crew. It’ll be two days of pretty serious mayhem in Vagator this year.

Tell us about the new additions.
IBW is much bigger than when we started in 2013. And we’ve made it much, much sexier. More stages, more music, more great food, a much larger biker gear shopping area, and more bike manufacturers involved and excited by the festival. We’re proudest, though, of the links between IBW and the riding clubs. They’ve really taken the festival as their own, and we’ve basically handed it to them as their own event. There’s a huge biker club zone where all sorts of crazy and wonderful things happen. You have to come in and see it for yourselves.

The other major change is that we’ve decided to democratize the festival by dropping the entry prices by well over 50%. Partly to give a little back to the biking community in our fifth year, but also to allow more, and younger, bikers and travellers into the mix. It should be a lot of fun.

What are you looking forward to most this year?
I’m looking forward to two things mainly. The first is meeting the thousands and thousands of like-minded, independent travellers, seekers, bikers who will be riding to IBW this year. And secondly, I’m looking forward to the glory that is throwing a leg over your motorbike on a Thursday morning and roaring out of Mumbai to experience the beauty, vibrancy and India on two wheels. I can’t recommend it enough. Fun will be had. Lessons will be learned.

There’s something about live music that just clicks with freedom-loving bikers. How, according to you, do stand-up comedy and film screening gel with bikers? Was there an instant connect?
There is an absolute connect. That’s why we pioneered the ‘IBW Big Trip Cinema’ at India Bike Week back in 2014. With India’s greatest travellers hosting their films and telling us how best to organise our biking trips.

One of the most interesting events is the Harley-Davidson flat track lap time event. Tell us a little about it.
Harley-Davidson has commissioned Rajputana Customs to build a Harley-Davidson Street 750 Flat Track racing version for IBW2017. You can try your hand at a lap on this bike at our IBW Flat Track. The fastest person at IBW on the track will receive a cash prize to the tune of Rs 25,000.

What’s your favourite aspect of Eat Street? What are you dying to try?
One of the best parts of IBW is the food. And it’s not just the food that we have there; but it’s the serious amount of food that’s consumed! Bikers are serious eaters, and they only want the best.

We’ve got some old IBW favourites returning. House of Lloyds and his infamous barbecue will be serving up pork chops and all sorts of amazing grills. Of course, you can’t be in Goa without Goan food. Steve’s food truck and Noronha’s will be serving local delicacies with a twist.

There are paratha walas, ice cream guys, bubble waffles and even a stall by IBW stalwarts who have decided to serve up crazy sandwiches for their buddies. We’ve got some interesting food coming in from other parts of the country too. The Bohri Kitchen from Mumbai, all sorts of eggs by Ghotala from Surat, shawarma from Breakfast Cafe and biryani from Marrakesh in Pune, and a few more that we’re going to keep a secret for our festival visitors. Basically, if you want the food, you need to come eat it!

IBW is known for ‘Indian Bike Build Off’. What can attendees expect from this year’s event?
Wheel Vedas’ Jalraj Shetty from Mumbai:
Based out of a workshop at Navi Mumbai, Jalraj has been customising motorcycles for over six years. One of the finalists of the MOD bike category in IBW 2016, he is looking to up his game and chase the acclaimed IBW Bike Build Off Trophy. His bike is one-of-a-kind and involves customised parts that he will be fabricating from scratch.

36 Moto’s Mohit Chawda from Hyderabad: From rejecting an MNC job to taking up his passion for building motorcycles as a full-time career, Mohit has had his workshop in Hyderabad for over five years. He, too, is one of the finalists of the IBW 2016 MOD bike competition and is now looking to get into the league with the big boys. He will be building a custom Yamaha RD350 like no other.

Nutheads Motoland’s Abhishek Vishal Singh and Mohammed Tahawarsi from Ranchi: These youngsters with their degree in engineering have been running their custom house in Ranchi for over a year. Their design was so out-of-the-box, so extremely unique, that it lead to them getting selected as one of the finalists for the build-off in spite of their new and raw talent. They are building a custom Royal Enfield 500 chopper.

There are also slated to be new bike and engine launches at this year’s IBW. Can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect?
I can’t say too much, but there will be several reveals from Avantura Choppers, Maximus Pro, Indian and Triumph.

BOOK YOUR SPOT
The fifth edition of India Bike Week is set for November 24 and 25 at Little Vagator Hills in Goa. Tickets are priced at Rs 1,750 for the two days of the festival and are available at www.indiabikeweek.in.

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