Dirt pump track championship in Mumbai

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Sixth most densely populated city in the world, Mumbai had something different for the dirt enthusiasts this time. Located in an unexplored location within the vicinity of Barvi Lake reservoir in Taluka Murbad District Thane which is just two hours drive from Mumbai City Centre, GHV Endeavor organised its first Dirt Pump Track Championship in Mumbai.


This featured elevated launcher connecting 8 lanes with 12 berms, table tops, rollers, dirt jumps, and bowl with over 50 mountain bikers and BMXers from all around India.

Rider Slade Gomes who won in elite category took home 15,000/- and trophy

We caught up with the organisers to know inside stories of how it went all along to organise something which is commonly not available in the region especially in a chaotic city like Mumbai.


We also had our moment talking to free-ride mountain biking idol Vinay Menon from Pune, Sayali Milind Maharo who was the only woman on the starting line from Maharashtra, Hamza Khan who came all the way from Hyderabad and the legendary BMX rider of India Rahul Milani to know what it was like for them.


Speaking to organisers, Mohammed Memon said, “Unavailability of the pump track in Mumbai region made us think on this line. So, we thought, we discussed, we worked and we made it happen.”

He continued, “After getting it ready the next question that popped up in our mind was how to launch it? It is a new and unique concept, so the idea of Mumbai’s First Dirty Pump Track Championship knocked in our head.”

“Thinking of sports which are not available in the region, fulfilling and arranging the nuts and bolts of that sport and doing an event which never ever happened in the region made us different. Fingers Crossed.”


“Getting the best and the legend MTB champs and BMX riders under one roof was satisfying. We crossed the bar of 50 participants in our first championship and at the same time it motivates us to do better in the future.”

Aerial view of pumptrack

Vinay Menon at 35 years, he's a mountain biker, alternative-sports filmmaker and an entrepreneur. He says, “I have been riding mountain bikes since the late 1990s, when I was a teen. And then slowly the love for bicycles evolved into profession. I’m currently involved with online mountain bike news portal ‘Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine’, which shares tales about mountain biking, and Psynyde Bikes, that makes performance bicycles designed in India, by riders, for riders.”

Rider: Vinay Menon

How was the competition?

Riders as young as 9 to nearly 50 years of age raced the clock to see who was the fastest for the weekend. Legendary BMX riders of India, Rahul Mulani, Nilay Parikh along with the new brigade of mountain bikers/BMXers like Slade Gomes, Gautam Taode, Hasmukh Parmar, Rahul Mishra added zest to the Sunday. The only girl on the start line competing with the boys was Sayali Maharao.


Racers were fighting over hundredth of a second for the lead! Tight competition, funny bails, beautiful riding by expert riders, great hospitality by the organising team made it a great weekend. A 4th place finish for me in finals.

Where’s your favourite place to ride your bike?

Pune is where it started for me and after riding a few of the best places on the planet, I feel home trails are the best for a laid back weekday spin followed by some good desi meal. Surely love Spiti, Leh and the Mustang region of Nepal. Supreme zones of Kamloops, Squamish and the rest of British Columbia in Canada..

What do you look up to as a rider, living in India?

Riding a bike or practising any sport for that matter develops from pure passion for it. Be it in India, or anywhere in the world. Sports are sometimes disregarded in India.


Additionally, “alternative-sports”, even slimmer. The sport I’ve chosen, only requires a mountain, a bicycle and a rider. India has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. As a rider, peacefully riding a bike in the mountains, progressing my riding level and inspiring new folks to try mountain biking, makes up the core.


Seeing India’s name on the international mountain biking map for riding locations and leading global athletes would be an awesome sight!


Do you think these kind of events help riders in anyways?

For sure, the younger riders get to meet and observe the experts in action. Alternative-sports inculcate discipline and focus into the follower. Athletes get to test themselves through such events, they can exchange ideas, learn, earn medals and even money these days as a pat on their back for their competition performance.


To bring legitimacy to a certain sport, awareness among the masses and young kids is essential. Quality competitions and exciting demos aid faster growth. With the sport’s growth, athletes have more opportunities to shine and have sufficient coins to dine!


Sayali Milind Maharao who is a long distance cyclist says, “I always look out for something which challenges my strength and motivation. I was in awe to imagine that I will get to see and meet other women riders. But after getting a final call, I got to know that I was the only one.”


How was the competition?

Generally we see that participation of girls in pump track and off road race is next to no. In my first and second qualifying round I ranked somewhere in the middle, but in the finals I did complete my race with one minute time. It was an awesome experience for me. People were very supportive. I did enjoy my time with all the riders.

Sayali Miling Maharao in the middle with Vinay Menon.

What do you look forward to as a rider, living in India?

In India, people give a lot of respect to riders, I mean wherever we go people welcome us with their open heart. I hope for the same in the coming days.


Where’s your favourite place to ride your bike?

For me it's western ghats, forests of Darjeeling, Punjab, Rajasthan. Rajasthan is quite challenging and an exciting place to ride your bicycle.


Do you think these kind of events help riders to grow?

Yes! always.

Rahul Mulani in his early days

Rahul Mulani, an ageing BMXer and have been riding since 1987, at the time when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of the country and Goa was elevated as India's twenty-fifth state. He also started India’s only BMX specific shop in 2008 and still running it. He says, frankly any contest is fun as it brings riders together and gives a boost to the sport. Participants were enthusiastic and we had a good time. It was just hot as hell, and better facilities would be appreciated - lot more water stations etc.

Rahul Mulani then and now.

Where’s your favourite place to BMX around?

Where ever I can ride.


What do you look up to as a BMXer, living in India?

Meet anybody who rides a BMX.


Do you think these kind of event help athletes in anyways?  

Yes, they help riders to focus and train and achieve goals.

Hamza Khan BMxing in wallride park

Hamza Khan, 26 years old from Hyderabad says, “I have been riding BMX for almost 4 years, I own and operate WallRide Park Hyderabad, which is India's first Asphalt pump-track and Hyderabad’s only skate park.”


How was the competition and the participants?

The participant turn out was great, both MTB and BMX riders came down. As said, there is always a chance for improvemnet but overall it was a fun track and a step towards the right direction, the owner was very hospitable and understanding and has agreed to make changes to the track. So all in all it was a fun race for all!


Where’s your favourite place to BMX around?

Well, I don't think there's one favourite and if there is I'm a little biased to WallRide Park (laughs) but otherwise so many new skate parks have been popping up around the country and they all look incredible. I haven't gotten a chance to ride in a lot of them but I recently rode the bowl being made in Navi Mumbai, it's absolutely beautiful! The Chennai skate park Madras Wheelers is also a lot of fun.


What do you look up to as a BMXer, living in India?

I look forward to riding my bike! Be it streets, skate park, pump track, competitions, I look forward to them all. Just more opportunities to ride my bike in new and different set ups.


Do you think these kind of event help athletes in anyways?   First and foremost it gives them a platform to express their skills and talents. At every event we meet, someone new is exposed to this kind of bike experience. It broadens our horizons and provides a valuable service of bringing the community together. And of course, these events reward the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears these athletes put into the sport.

Rider: Rahul Mishra

Winners?

Elite Category Winners prize handover by Mohammad Memon – Managing Director

1 st Prize Slade Gomes awarded with INR. 15,000/- & Trophy

2 nd Prize Gautam Taode awarded with INR.6,000/- & Trophy

3 rd Prize Varun Dutt awarded with Trophy


Amateur Category Winners prize handover by Satish Dwivedi – Director GHV Endeavor Trail

1 st Prize Jaspal Malhi awarded with INR. 5,000/- & Trophy

2 nd Prize Mehul Charaniya awarded Trophy & FREE One Year Pump Track Entry

3 rd Prize Saurabh Kajale awarded with Trophy FREE Six Months Pump Track Entry


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