ECS Media’s Vatvatey Reunion 2017 was a thundering success! On view—to touch, to feel, and to ride—was an exciting display of the most enticing bikes available today, along with some pretty intriguing customized exhibits.
Lady Rider Tyson”—the tattoo was emblazoned proudly on her forearm. “I am the only female stunt rider in Nepal,” declared the lady in question, Aarju Singh Thakuri, a twenty-something who took up biking just a couple of years ago, and now believes she can fly on her bike. At least that’s what she said on stage to Prabhat Rimal, the sarcastically genial emcee, in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic bikers of Kathmandu at the first ever “Vatvatey Reunion 2017” held at Park Village Resort in Budanilkantha on June 17, 2017.
Well, all you bikers out there, mark this date on your calendars—all you who love biking. So successful was this grand event organized by ECS Media Pvt. Ltd. that the unanimous opinion of all those present was, “You got to do this every year,“ followed by, “Next time, do this on a bigger scale, at a bigger site!”
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Vatvatey Reunion 2017 will be one of the most eagerly awaited biking events from now on, and we at ECS Media are really proud of having set a new benchmark. All those young, and even many those a bit up the graph, such as Chhedup Bomjon, leader of a pack of some twenty avid Enfielders under the banner of Kathmandu Standards, who declared, “This is a pretty cool event,” a beer in his hand, the drinking, careful, what with his great goatee and all! When asked to say a few words, Subekcha Khadka, the other equally adept emcee, whose glamor balanced thedown-to-earth demeanor of her partner emcee, he said, “I’ve been riding since I was fifteen, and now I am forty-nine. My advice is that all bikers should be safety-conscious at all times.”
Safety was also what Abdul Wahib of India, a champion biker with a couple of big wins under his belt, emphasized. He has participated in quite a few rallies in India as well as abroad, including the grueling 14-day Dakar rally. A word prominently highlighted by TVS, whose slogan at their stall shouted out, “First Indian Manufacturer in Dakar!” On display was, naturally, the bike that made this historical achievement—Apache RTR 200 4V—distributed in Nepal by Jagdamba Motors Pvt. Ltd. Abdul had some great things to say about the biking scene in Nepal: “I think there are some really good bikers here. They should take part in international events. And, to all bikers, when on the road, ride safe at all times. Try out your more defined skills only at events.”
Mean, and not so mean,machines
Syakar Trading Company’s Honda Nepal was also there, of course, with some of its stunning models, including the sleek XR 150L, claimed to be the ‘Highest Selling Dirt Slinger in Nepal’, the handy Navi, the CG 500f, and the macho CBR 650F that seemed to be in motion even when at rest (Feel the Rush! says its tagline). A racing bike, no less! And, ‘Racing’ was certainly the most touted word to describe all the bikes on display at this fantastic event that promised to bring bike lovers up-close with some of the best bikes in town, which it certainly did!
While TVS Apache RTR 200 4V’s byline read, ‘Racing DNA unleashed’, D-Lifestyle’s stall showcased its latest offering, Aprilia SR 150 Race, the byline of which read: ‘Designed for Racers, Built for Riders’, and, ‘Nepal, It’s Race Day. #bearacer.’ This strikingly good looking scooter attracted a lot of attention, as did the legendary Vespa SXL 150cc and VXL 150cc from Piaggio, which made exceptional company for Aprilia alongside. D-Lifestyles’ head of department Sneh Koirala remarked that Vatvatey Reunion 2017 was an excellent opportunity to showcase their outstanding models, and added, “I also think that the crowd, too, is a pretty decent one.”
Kathmandu International Trading’s stall vaunted the famous Benelli range of beautifully crafted bikes, the TNT 135, TNT 300, the TNT 600, and the 302R. Anju Shrestha, the company’s sales representative, said with some satisfaction that the brand is a runaway success in Nepal, and that “we are always out of stock!” Well, then, let’s hope they rectify this soon, because looking at the crowd hankering for a feel of the bikes on display, looks like this particular event could have gained them many more admirers! And, why not? With unofficial but passionate brand ambassadors like hunk Sanjay Shakya (dressed to kill in loose denim cargo pants, riding boots, leather jacket, et al), standing up tall for his precious baby, the Benelli TNT 300, which he declared had given him a great ride as far up as to Upper Mustang.
This was his heated response to the claim by a Royal Enfielder who declared, on stage, that Enfield was the only bike to have made it to that part of Nepal. And, could Bajaj Pulsar, one of the most popular brands in the country, resist the challenge? One such rider from the Bikaholics club was quick on the draw, and immediately onstage to declare that he, too, had made it to Upper Mustang without much of a problem in his sturdy Bajaj Pulsar. So, too was the case with a KTM Duke 200 rider. All this, of course, a far from unpleasant exchange; all those at the event in much too good a mood to harbor any grudges against fellow bikers’ good-natured braggadocios.
Harmony, fun, and camaraderie
Harmony. That was what was prevalent throughout the grand event, which began with a parade of bikes from Grande International Hospital in Tokha to Park Village. The rally was given a warm welcome by others already present at the venue, many of whom already had put on the specially designed T-shirts with the Vatvatey Reunion 2017 logo on front, which came free with the registration ticket. Also included in the ticket was a can of either Budweiser, Sherpa, or Carlsberg beer, chilled of course! And, so, with the wonderful weather playing its part, it was an afternoon of lively fun under the sun—plenty of beer, a food stall, music, and a delightful spirit of camaraderie.
Which was further enlivened by some creative bike games. ‘Carry your soul’, in which a team of four had to carry their bike from one end to another, the first team to do so being the winners; ‘Slowest biker race’ (you can’t put a foot on the ground, even when riding at slower-than-snail’s pace), and ‘Musical bikes’ (as in musical chairs), where bikers go around a ring of bikes, and when the music stops, have to clamber on one. Bikers are eliminated one by one, since there’s one bike less than the contestants.
Well, yes, everybody, but everybody, said they had a good time.
More Marvelous Machines
But, as anyone knows, in the case of bikers it’s not just about beer, food, games, and such. It’s mostly about the machines, the love of their lives. And, so, KTM, like all the other brands at the event, surely played a substantial part, as well. One of the fastest growing brands in Nepal, you could say that KTM Duke has stirred up quite a storm. Just ask die-hard fans like David Bhujel and Diwesh Nakarmi, who find their KTM 390 to be powerful, yet smooth. Lady Rider Tyson, too, rides one, and she should be a good judge of bikes, having been the ‘Stunt Battle Winner’ in a contest held in Satdobato last year, besides having competed on a race track in Thailand.
KTM’s byline is “Ready to Race”, and just looking at the awesome beasts on display at Vatvatey Reunion 2017, one cannot but agree about its aptness. Here’s what were on exhibit: KTM RC 200, KTM RC 390, Duke 200, Duke 250, and Duke 390, all proudly sporting KTM’s signature orange color. KTM Business Head Amit Raj Chalise looked as pleased as could be, beaming from ear to ear, on seeing the hordes thronging their stall, with many having their snaps taken atop one of the ‘beasts’. Bajaj, whose Pulsar has a fantastic following among college goers and other youngsters, had a simple slogan, “Ready, Set, Dominate’ for its hot new introduction, the Dominar 400. KTM and Bajaj are distributed by the same firm, Hansraj Hulas chand and Co., so it was all about domination for them at the event.
Cool Crowd, Cool Clubs
Now, come the first signs of the evening, the special bike issue of ECS Media’s premium lifestyle magazine, Living, was unveiled with some fanfare by a trio of distinguished guests of the biking world, pioneer biker Rabi Thapa, Honda Nepal boss Saurabh Jyoti, and Jagdamba Motor’s ………………. This was then followed by an entertaining medley of songs by the Jung Trio, an appetizer for what was to follow, a rousing performance by Robin and the New Revolution, which set feet tapping, and soon enough, a proper dance party was on. Oh yes, before I forget, the famous Goofy (Pramod Shrestha), president of Himalayan Enfielders, was also on stage for some time during the day-time proceedings, where he revealed that he would be embarking on his Bullet on a 24-hour M (Mechi) to M (Mahakali) ride on June 21, 2017.
As is evident from his name itself, he is one cool customer, and one cannot stress enough about how cool was the entire crowd, with many decked up in biking gear, and also, many wearing their club t-shirts and jackets. Among them were a dozen or so members of the Royal Rollers, a macho group if ever there was one, led by Prakash Tulachan, who told me that theirs was a five-year-old club of some thirty Enfielders, and that the Poker Run was their main annual event, in which (ahem), he had been judged ‘Best Biker’ last year in the customized Enfield division. Smoking Joe, too, was there, a half-dozen of them, one of whom, Aman B. Shrestha, was clicking non-stop. “I’ll be posting all the snaps on our website,” he said. A Thamel-based club, it’s into vintage bikes, with some thirty Enfield classics, a BMW, a Harley Davison, and a priceless Matchless in its collection.
Shrawan Thapa is the president of Bikaholics, a four-month-old club with already about one hundred members, mostly Pulsar owners, and so, mostly, youthful. Which was pretty evident during Vatvatey Reunion 2017. Their large crowd at gave real meaning to the phrase, “having a whale of a time”! Enthusiastic as only the young can be, and particularly those with daredevilry and adventure in their veins. This energetic club plans to open a biking shop in Jhamsikhel soon, a showroom cum customizing establishment, with a café, to boot. Their customized Enfield, named Nepheez, was on display at the customized bikes section at the event, which also included a genuine double-engine Harley, a Honda CBR 650 with an 18-liter tank, a weird-looking Enfield with a thin tank and oversize handles, a venerable BMW, and some others.
Actually, although Enfield didn’t have a stall, Enfielders were most conspicuous on the day, with various clubs, including NASA Bullet Club, whose president, Prakash M.M. Limbu, and his program coordinator Keshab Royal (yes, Royal) unfortunately came to know a bit late about this one-of-a-kind event (that’s what they said). “We have around 6,500 members,” said Prakash. “Wish we had known sooner!”
Dipesh Shrestha and his stunt riding Riders Unified were there, as were Ryderz of Bhaktapur, a representative of whom was the silken haired Barsha Basnet, whose excitement was all too evident, and which was further heightened on coming together with fellow riders as passionate as herself,particularly the likes of Sapana Gurung (top 5 of Dare Venture), Dikshya Shrestha (winner of Race Nari 2016), and Lady Rider Tyson. These ladies sure are in the limelight of the Nepali biking scene today. (Interesting info: Barsha has a Duke 200, a Cross 250, and a Honda Dio 109—wow! what passion!).
Finally all that’s left to say is that Vatvatey Reunion 2017 was a runaway success, the success largely due to the eager participation of hundreds and hundreds of fervent bikers. What drives this passion? Many things, no doubt, but here’s a statement from dedicated Bullet rider Saroj Karki that shed some light: “Riding a Bullet, you feel like a king!” The same feeling is certainly one that all riders experience when riding their own bikes, no matter what the brand! Of course, for some it’s all about the proud legend behind the bike, for others, it’s the pulsating power in the throbbing engine, while for others, it may be all about the fantastically great looks—no matter what the preference, one thing is for sure—the passion is for real! And, Vatvatey Reunion is where we celebrate it.