The Marshals

Mr. Pasang Sherpa and Mr. Nikhil Thakuri operate Bikers Nepal, a premier establishment involved in off-road bike touring in Nepal. In fact, they are the only company doing this exciting activity in the country. “Our company was established in 2006,” informed Pasang. “Our main showroom is in Lazimpat, and currently, we have six outlets in the valley.”

In due time, Bikers Nepal also went into collaboration with Bajaj for organizing and conducting the now popular Dare Venture reality show event, which has entered its third season this year.  “Dare Venture is a unique concept, perhaps the only one of its kind in the world,” says Nikhil.

The duo, in addition to Mr. Govind Thapa, are ‘Marshals’ of the event, and involved right from start to finish of the ten-days- nine-nights-long event, in which the journey begins in Besi Sahar and carries on to Taal, Chame, and Manang, before ending at Khangsar. “This year, Season 3 was  different from the previous two seasons, primarily because of the completely off-road terrain this time, as compared to part off-road and part tarmac road previously,” revealed Pasang. “Yes,” agreed Nikhil, “this time it was what we call, an ‘extreme trail’.” According to them, the altitude was also higher, with the up-hills steeper than before.

What else was different? “Well, unlike before, for Season 3, we conducted selection of riders from some other cities besides the capital, namely, Pokhara, Butwal, Chitwan, Nepalganj, and Dharan,” revealed Pasang. In its entirety, from selection of riders to finish of the ride, it was an event that took about two months to be completed. Thus, one can imagine how much meticulous planning and organization are needed to make such a mega event a success! Also, since Season 3 was much more challenging than the ones before, the selection process was also much more stringent.

Elucidating on this, the two Marshals related how the final ten contestants were chosen from the thousands that applied: “We looked for fitness, experience, ability, and attitude, among other things. The applicants had to first undertake a fitness test conducted by the army.” The army? That must be one tough test! And, so it is quite obvious that the failure rate had to be quite high. “About 40% failed the test,” said Nikhil. “As for experience and ability, we conducted our own test in Hattiban, where we created an extreme trail comprising of all the difficulties the riders would face on the real trail. Things like muddy tracks, large potholes, rough up-hills, slippery down-hills, and so on.” So, how many passed this trying test? “About 70% failed,” smiled Pasang.

The attitude of the rider is also very important, obviously, and this test was conducted by the two designated team leaders, Robin Tamang and Sanjay Gupta, along with one Marshal, that is, Pasang, who disclosed. “Around fifty were left at the end, out of which the ten finalists were to be selected. They were selected on the basis of things like personality, smartness, confidence, ability to speak well, etc.”

In addition to their other duties, the Marshals also do recce to finalize the most suitable route. They are also responsible for ensuring that injuries are kept at a minimal, and for this they make sure that all the riders are attired properly with all the needed gear. “We have had no serious injuries so far,” said Nikhil, adding, “During the ride, we play the role of leader and sweeper. We set the ride speed, which is 30-40 kilometer per hour, on average, and we provide continual guidance throughout the journey, helping out wherever and whenever needed.”

To conclude, it must be said that Dare Venture is an event that is as challenging as it is unique, and its popularity is ever-growing with each new season. The future? “Dare Venture will become more and more challenging in the coming years,” states Pasang with a most definitive air! Listen well, future contestants, this is the Marshal speaking!