February 2018

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Truly a Sight to Behold

LAST MONTH I WAS IN LIMA, PERU, FOR THE DAKAR RALLY. This was my first visit to South America and the perception I had about South America being a backward Third World country ruled by drug barons and goons turned out to be totally wrong. In fact, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The roads over there are far better than what we have over here and the most important thing is that people obey traffic rules.

The first motorcycle I saw at two o’clock in the morning was a Bajaj Pulsar 135. Bajaj is the most popular brand of motorcycles in Peru. They also have Bajaj auto-rickshaws with fibreglass body and doors. Our guide said that law and order in South America had improved over the last 10 to 15 years.

Two Indian manufacturers, TVS and Hero MotoCorp, are taking part in Dakar, the toughest motorcycle rally in the world. I spoke to Aravind KP and CS Santosh after the first special stage and both of them looked confident and in excellent physical shape. The bikes, at the speeds they were getting up to on the flat parts of the desert, were a sight to behold as they raced across the desert. Riding a motorcycle off road for anything between 300 and 500 kilometres a day requires a lot of fitness and both the India boys looked extremely fit..

Aspi Bhathena

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