out. The event had invited two freestyle riders, as freestyle
is still a huge wow factor in India.
As the event was gearing up, there were live bands to
keep the spectators entertained as they walked through
the pits and enjoyed the freestyle show.
The first rider to hit the track on press day was local
hero and TVS factory rider Aravind K P, who rode a TVS
300 four-stroke. Aravind will be riding the 2018 Dakar
Rally this year as well. I was scheduled to ride on press
day, but there was a fuel-pump issue with my bike, so I
missed this part of the event. I was able to help Justin,
Brian and the rest of the South African and German boys
get going on our 2013 KTM 350SXFs. I was also able to
help Eeshan with some last-minute track changes at the
end of the day. You might ask why we were riding old-
er-model bikes. Well, the Indian import duty is 100 percent
on foreign motorcycles, so a dirt bike can cost upwards
of $22,000. We were lucky; I’ve raced in countries where
you ride some clapped-out bike that they borrowed from
a local trail rider, so the five-year-old 350s were almost as
good as it gets.
When traveling to foreign races, I get the biggest kick
out of watching the local scooter class, because the riders
are often on bikes that they ride to work and are heavily
modified for racing. These bikes are low-budget machines,
but the riders are super enthusiastic about the races. They
are excited to meet the American racers and are eager to
listen to any tips we have to give.