TVS Motor, owing to their long standing history of stunt riding in India, recently attempted an incredible feat on the Apache 200, that of breaking the record for the longest running stunt show in India.
It was a rainy Sunday in Mumbai, and sticking to the norm, my flight to Madras was delayed by over an hour, leaving me wondering how the remainder of the day would pan out. After all, the event I was heading to wasn’t just something you see on a regular basis, despite being a journalist. 15 bikers from 5 teams across India, all part of TVS’ stunt heritage, performed a variety of stunts for a whooping 5 hours non-stop and in the process, etched their name in the Indian book of Records for the longest stunt show ever performed in India.
Which is exactly why I was worried because had the forecast been half as bad as it was back home, it would surely spell a whole lot of trouble for the riders. Even a passing shower would endanger them losing their closest companion, traction. But the rain Gods were kind enough not to leave Mumbai that day, the skies being as clear as they come.
So as scheduled, the event began sharp at noon, with each team performing for 20 minutes in each round, for a total of 3 rounds. I’m not the best at Math but that is a significantly high duration of time to be performing wheelies, stoppies and everything they could pull out of their bag. More so in the sweltering mid-day heat of Chennai. But neither of the riders seemed to be troubled by the heat, performing stunts we wouldn’t think of, yet showing no signs of fatigue.
The teams participating were from Bangalore, Coimbatore, Delhi, Indore and Jaipur. As one would expect, most teams used the Apache 200 but there was also a pleasant surprise for me personally, as team Jaipur turned up with the Apache 180, adding to the excitement that had already been built up. Heading towards what a lot of folks would be curious about, the mods on each bike were extensive as well as unique, managing to keep most of the stock motorcycle parts intact. Some of them common, some I hadn’t heard of before.
The most interesting mod was the 12 o’clock bar, which is attached to the sub-frame and is supposed to scrape the ground while your front wheel is headed for the skies above. Other mods included a sub-cage, axle sliders, a significantly larger rear sprocket (61 teeth, for nerds!) to boost acceleration at the cost of top speed, a stunt cage, an after-market end-can and Engine Breather setup. Another highlight was the extra calliper attached to the rear disc and an extra lever on the left to operate it, not uncommon to the stunting aficionados but a rarely spotted and difficult mod to implement.
By the time the show was reaching its 5 hour end, I was exhausted, the heat had gotten the better of me already and its only fair to say that these riders were living on another level of hard-work, focus, and pure passion for what they do. It was later revealed by the official from India Book of Records that the riders were eligible for a 5 minute break every hour, keeping the record intact but they choose to go on non-stop. The icing on the cake though, was the 15 bike burnout to celebrate this unreal feat. Now although my stay in Chennai was extremely short-lived, it gave a huge insight into the niche sport of stunt riding in India, something which surely deserves more recognition for the sheer amount of effort put into this.