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30th Mar 2009 7:00 am
Ooty played host to the sixth edition of Rider Mania. With over 650 Bullets a strewn
Ooty played host to the sixth edition of Rider Mania. With over 650 Bullets a strewn, it was a veritable feast for ardent Bullet lovers.
Being the largest gathering of its sort from across the country, it comes as no surprise that almost every Bullet rider looks forward to Rider Mania. This year though there were some changes. Bangalore-based club Royal Thunder Motorcycle Club (RTMC) took the hosting reigns from Royal Enfield this year.
The purpose of Rider Mania is to remove all bikers’ barriers and encourage a sense of camaraderie among Bulleteers. Throw in over 600 loud, brash burly bikers and 450 cases of subsidised brew, and the sense of camaraderie is bound to be monolithic. It’s a varied community – there are journalists (you’ll be surprised as to how many of us ride Bullets), doctors, IT professionals, mechanics, global CEOs and throw in the occasional odd farmer or two. This time’s edition even witnessed participation from over 60 women riders, an increased turnout from previous years.
Set in Ooty, Rider Mania kicked off with various clubs making their entrance, each in their own unusual manner. Some toyed with the throttle more or less in unison, while others tooted their horns and rode in formation. Then there were the Bullets. Fat Bullets and thin Bullets, fast Bullets and slow Bullets, old Bullets and new Bullets, Bullets with bullet holes, Bullets with rust holes, Bullets with sissy bars, sissys on Bullets. It was absolute mayhem, yet extremely fun to watch each club trying to outdo the other. Also exciting were the various stunts that Bulleteers carried out – from wheelies to endos to donuts, while burnouts were pretty darned common.
The second, sadly the concluding day, of the event saw more action in the form of various competitions. Contests for the best technical, cosmetic and classic bikes were those that were most eagerly awaited. It was a tie for the best technical modification, one prize-winning Bullet being a Supercharged 535 and the other an AVL 650cc. The mastermind behind the 650cc is none other than OA Anthony, renowned Bullet mech from Mumbai. The Supercharged 535 was built by Hari, hailing from the Madras Bulls Motorcycle Club. So intense was this competition that Subhash Chandra Bose or ‘Bullet Bose’ as he is also known was requested to judge. This soft-spoken man is quite the connoisseur when it comes to Bullets. His achievements are pretty well known and his opinion greatly respected. He holds a total of 350 race wins and has raced everything from a TVS 50XL moped to his more recent endeavours on a 350cc Enfield.
The winner of the classic bike competition was given the minute it rode into sight — a 1947 Model J owned by Satish. Painted a brilliant purple, the bike looked like it had just rolled out of the factory. A joint winner was awarded in this category as well – a 1961 model G2 owned by Karna (We all worked solely on a first name basis; the camaraderie firmly established).
The day concluded with an award ceremony for the prize winners and a party that was quite unlike anything the town of Ooty had ever seen before. All in all, the Rider Mania ended on a resounding note. There were a few teething problems, but this is expected when a group organises an event of this magnitude, particularly when the expected turnout of 500 is exceeded by a good 150.
All said and done, if you ride a Bullet and have been looking for a great biker outing/function, then Rider Mania is right up your alley. Be sure to get your bike fixed up and ride to wherever the event will be held next.