It’s not uncommon to find Saturday nights noisy in Goa. What with the night markets and pubs pumping up the volume as DJ’s play everything from house to reggae and techno. But on February 2, there was a different kind of sound that engulfed North Goa—the roaring of engines that drowned everything in its wake. Over 6,000 bikers scattered themselves around town after the first day of the India Bike Week came to a close with The Gentleman’s Dub Club from UK delivering a thumping performance that kept the audience on the feet, with their fists pumping the air.
It started with groups of bikers from various clubs around the country making their way into the seven acre venue that was dotted with bars, food stalls, display and activity areas and a central stage that would see 28 bands performing in two days. The HOG (Harley Owners Group) were among the last to arrive, but they sure made an entrance as a group of around 500 roaring machines poured in. After the dust had settled, it was time for photography as participants wandered around, posing with their favourites among the almost 2,000 bikes (though there were bikes of every make and size, including our very own Royal Enfield, it was the Harleys that dominated) parked in the venue. From beers to whiskeys, anything but water was doing the rounds, and the crowd formed groups around the stunt zone (where wheelies, somersaults and smoking rubber was the order of the day), the bike expo (where performance upgrades and riding gear were on sale), and of course the vintage and custom bike display areas. The Convoy Control Club from Jaipur had brought down six vintage bikes with them, one of which was a 1933 Corgi Paratrooper. Its 60-something owner, Birju Singh, was happy to show people how the four foot high bike could be folded and slung onto one’s shoulder. The bike gets its name from being dropped by parachute during wars, to support troops. But the moment everyone was waiting for during the first day, was the show stopper—something that was being talked about as “a once in a lifetime opportunity”—the firing up of the Y2K, MTT Turbine Superbike. There was frenzy as people ‘wowed’ and scurried to get as close to it as possible. But once, Corey Blakesley, head technician for MTT Turbine, pushed the start button, the only thing you could hear was the steady rising suction of the turbine that produces 320hp and a top speed of over 250 mph.
Day two had an equal amount of action with the FCC (Full Contact Championship) from Mumbai making its way to Goa for the IBW. The scene was something from out of a Gladiator movie, as the crowd gathered around the ring to watch 16 fighters battling it off in different classes. Another awaited moment was the results of the country’s first Biker Build Off between Jaipur-based Rajputana Customs, Transfigure Custom House from Mumbai and Dream Riders from Delhi. While Manu from Dream Riders created a bike that could be started with an app on your mobile phone, Adil Dumasia of Transfigure went for a classic chopper styling. But it was Vijay Singh from Rajputana Customs who walked away as the winner for his racer cum retro themed bike that he named ‘Gulail’ or ‘Slingshot’.
Post this, was the performance by Parikrama and another main event—the stunt show by Mattie Griffin, BMW Motorrad sponsored stunt rider. Though Griffin himself admitted later that space limited him from exhibiting some of the bigger stunts he had in mind, the crowd was nonetheless awestruck as the Irishman pulled off his gravity defying moves with an ease that only a professional could deliver. What remained a constant attraction through both the days, was the bike wash zone where bikers got their beauties cleaned up by three pretty young ladies in mini skirts. And the spirit was certainly festive and sporty, with the crowds joining the Coyote Waitresses as they got onto the stage to show off their dance moves. What did not seem to catch on however, was the EDM tent, where despite the DJ’s giving their best at the turntables, the turnout was just a handful. But all said and done, both the festival goers and the organisers, are certain that the IBW will be an annual event. When asked about plans for next year, Martin Da Costa, CEO of 70 EMG, co-organiser replied, “To be honest, we started making plans for next year, a month ago!” And while that was all he was willing to share about his plan, he did say with a great deal of certainty that “it will be Goa again next year”.