They came, performed and conquered. If there was an award for the best display category at the Combined Display events at the officers Training Academy on Friday, the Tornadoes would have won them hands down.
But this award would be negligible among the dozens of national and world records they hold. In their Guinness Record performance in November 2015, a total of 32 soldiers on three motorcycles formed a human pyramid and completed a distance of 1 km in record 56.23 seconds, followed by another fast-moving human pyramid of 12 men on two motorcycles, who covered the same distance in 48.72 seconds.
The team wearing their yellow and blue overalls, which have logos of Guinness World Records and Limca Book of Records on them, mesmerised audiences at the OTA event. There were also other displays such as the equestrian, parasailing, continuity drills and military band. However, the Tornadoes scripted a perfect finis. From pyramid formations on a single bike to breaking through tubelights, they made it all seem simple. But what goes behind their valiant display is hours of practice apart from their regular infantry duties.
“We practice from 9 am to 1 pm on most days and double up with practice sessions in the evening when we are informed about a performance. Usually, we are informed well in advance,” said Lt Col K K Nair who led the team said.
According to a soldier, this bike stunt team doesn’t get any incentive for their performances, but they’re directed to perform at various places across the country. “We all do it because of our own interest and the adrenalin rush we get from it. And it takes more than five years to master the stunts,” a soldier said. The Tornadoes were formed in 1982 with the guidance of Col C N Rao and were initially known as the Thunderbolts. They are now set to perform in Kashmir.