Three MTB Riders from Shimla all set to participate in Darling Brew Extreme 2018
A week from now, three of India’s budding MTB riders with bags of potential will make their debut at the Darling Brew Extreme, 2018, becoming the first even Indians to ride in a competitive MTB race on the African continent.
Known for its combination of single track, jeep track and farm roads in and around Darling, the Darling Brew Extreme is one of the biggest MTB races around the world.
The boys, who have won numerous accolades in races all across India will be looking forward to stamping their authority in South Africa, as they have done in races all across India.
Akshit Gaur, Ashish Sherpa and David Kumar are young guns from Shimla who will be participating in Darling Brew Extreme on 26th May.
The race in its fifth year organized on the Western Cape in the town of Darling, South Africa attracts a massive participation of over 1900 riders. The race features four participation routes according to skill and experience.
Akshit who is 18 and has recently finished his schooling from St. Edwards School, Shimla will be participating in the Bone Crusher category.
A 70km distance route through orchid farms, strenuous climbs, single track sections and steep descends with an elevation gain of 1800m.
Akshit has been riding in the Hero Action Team since the past 2 years and already has some feathers in his cap.
He is a double gold national champion winning U-19 time trial and mass start categories at the National MTB Championship earlier this season.
He is the youngest Indian to participate in an International MTB stage race at the age of 17 in Sri Lanka riding along Canadian Cory Wallace (Current 24h World Champion & Former no 18 at World Championships), Japanese Yuki Ikeda and Nepalese Ajay Pandit Chettri.
Akshit has had an early head start into the sport. His passion grew by folds when he was spotted by Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association HASTPA at a School Program supported by Hero Cycles.
Since then Akshit has bagged numerous podium finishes, winning races across the country.
“Darling Brew Extreme will be my 2nd international race after Rumble In The Jungle in Sri Lanka. Darling brew Extreme! 1900 riders in a single stage race, it's just amazing.
For me racing with some top riders across the world is just like a dream come true. Also, the feeling to be the only Indians to participate in races like these cannot be expressed in words.
I along with the team are training very hard and according to the race conditions in South Africa, just hoping I adopt the climate easily.” said Akshit Gaur
David Kumar who will also be participating in the Bone Crusher category started riding in 2016. He has won few big races in the Indian season like Hero MTB Shimla, Hell Race and MTB Arunachal organized by Sashastra Seema Bal.
David was amongst the Top 10 at 13th Hero MTB Himalaya in 2017 riding along Adrian Noguera from Spain (Team Buff Scott), Antonio Ortiz (Team BH) and Thomas Engelsgjerd - Winner of Glacier 360 and Skadi Xtreme.
David said, “This is the first time our team will be participating in a South African race. I’m delighted since this is also my first International Race. I can’t explain my excitement of riding alongside 1900 riders from across the world. I have been riding close to 40 to 50 kms everyday and about 100 kms on weekends. ”
David is also the first human to take a bike to the holy Kinnaur Kailash.
The youngest of the lot - Ashish Sherpa who is 17 has won a bronze in the U19 National championship and holds his father as an inspiration.
“I was always impressed by my father when I used to see him racing motorbikes in the Himalayan races, two wheels and racing always attracted me. When I was 15 I got to know about mountain biking as a sport and following my elder brother bought a cheap bike to and to ride. Since then I never looked back.”
Ashish was absorbed into the Hero action team in April this year. He has tweaked his training as per the race route since the past one month and will be riding the 50km Long Claw category featuring an elevation of 1000m with short climbs and single track sections. Sherpa was also the winner of Student category at 7th Hero MTB Shimla in April this year.
The trio, part of Hero Action team, which is India’s first fully sponsored MTB team will be using the flagship full carbon bike - UT ETX by Hero Cycles. The riders are supported by Hero Cycles and HASTPA that have envisioned to put India on a global map for Mountain biking attracting participation from across the world.
The organization has strategic tie-ups with Bike Transalp in Germany (World’s oldest MTB stage race), Algarve Bike Challenge in Portugal and Rumble in the Jungle in Sri Lanka where Indian riders represent the country competing neck to neck with the International riders.
HASTPA also organizes Hero MTB Himalaya (in it’s 14th Edition) and Hero MTB Shimla (in its 8th edition now) are cross country marathons attracting participation from over 25 different countries.
With strong commitment of both Hero Cycles and HASTPA towards the sport, the future certainly looks bright for emerging riders in the country!
Photo gallery for Darling Brew Extreme 2017: http://www.darlingbrew.co.za/dbx2017-gallery.html