Endurance is the price you pay for victory. Souvig Sarkar is a guy who has paid that price and reaped sweeter gains for it.
On March 7th 2016, Souvig set off on his KTM Duke 390 with a vision to measure the width of the country. After five gruelling days of riding from Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh to Koteshwar in Gujarat and covering 4,116 Kms, Souvig successfully completed his challenging biking feat. Not just that, he also ended up setting a new East-West Land speed Record for India by finishing his journey in a record breaking time of 107.15 hrs (The previous record being 115 hrs).
This accomplishment has earned Souvig a spot in the Limca Record Books which chronicles his achievement for being the fastest rider to create the East-West Land speed Record.
When the stakes are high and the time is limited, it takes a lot of endurance, strength and determination to reach your goal. In a conversation with us, Souvig reveals what it took for him to reach his goal.
1. A man who created a new East-West Land Speed record in India is obviously a passionate biker. We want to know how and when did you first get introduced to your passion?
Being born in a family where two wheelers specially Yamaha RDs & REs are preferred over four wheelers, it wasn’t difficult for me to find my passion for bikes. Early in life I not only realized that I had a passion for riding but was also inclined towards understanding mechanics, motors and engines. At an age when kids like to read Twinkle and Archies, I would save pocket money to buy Automobile magazines.
2. How does it feel to be given a place in the Limca Book of Records?
Being considered as one of the fastest riders in India, feels good. It was always a dream that has ultimately come true.
3. What prompted you to set off on this record-breaking journey?
Nothing as such was a prime inspiration to make this record. But I would generally take up inter-city and interstate journeys without any intention of making records. Later, I thought I could make some rides more memorable and adventurous if it could be recorded. This is one of the records that I wanted to break, there are many more to come.
4. Why did you select KTM Duke 390 for this particular trip?
I had selected KTM DUKE 390 for the Fastest East West Two Wheeler Expedition for many reasons:
• Best power to weight ratio in its class
• Light and easy to handle
• Availability of service centres throughout India
• Availability of spare parts
• Being a naked bike it’s always easy to add utilities to it. E.g. : Auxiliary lights , other mounts for GPS, camera etc.
5. Did you modify your bike for this ride? If yes, how?
Technically the bike was a stock bike , but it was fitted with
• RTG GPS Tracker.
• 4 Auxiliary lights for night riding.
• Headlight was fitted with an HID with a projector.
• Mobile charging port was added near the speedometer for easy access.
• Radiator guard was specially designed to protect it from small flying stones on highways.
• Higher grade of coolant was used to keep the engine cool so it can be cruised for nonstop 38 hrs.
6. How did you ensure your safety?
To ensure my safety I used the following gears :
• Cramster jacket
• Rynox Gloves
• SOL Helmet
• Mad Boy knee Guard
For the riding part, I tried to cover maximum kms before sunset and enjoy the ride at a fair cruising speed after the sunset. It was strictly no risk taking after the sunset as the visibility reduces a lot. So I had to be patient till next sunrise to unleash the beast again.
The bike was installed with RTG tracker and all my friends and family could track my location. The helmet was fitted with Bluetooth communication system to receive continuous weather forecast, hotel and restaurant availability, traffic updates and nearby petrol stations. There would be a person who would monitor me continuously. Slots were divided among my friends for tracking. Indeed kudos to the selfless help that my friends rendered during this journey.
7. How did you prepare for this challenging journey?
For developing physical endurance, I started working out two months prior to the long ride. I used to workout 6 days a week. It was a mix of cardio (for endurance), weight training & kickboxing (strength and flexibility).
8. Can you briefly tell us about the five days of your journey?
It was a Journey of 107.15 hrs. I reached Tezu 12 hours before starting my biking journey and started my journey from the Tezu Police Station (Arunachal Pradesh). After 5 days of riding, and 4116 Kms of distance, I finally reached the finishing point of my journey, Koteshwar (Narayan Sarovar, Gujarat).
Here’s a brief and statistical overview of the entire journey:
9. Did you experience any shock moment?
I experienced my shock moment On Day 1 of my journey itself. At around 8 pm, about 10 kms away from Domohani (Jalpaiguri, West Bengal), I broke my rear rim because of frequently entering a series of potholes. From this point I had to drag my bike on flat wheels to the fuel station, where I got a tube fit in the wheel that enabled me to reach the nearest KTM Service Centre, about 180 Kms away. After getting the tube fit, my average speed was only about 40-50 kmph, because the fitted tube was a 110/R17 instead of 150/R17. But thankfully, by the time I reached Siliguri at midnight, the owner of the KTM Service Centre had already arranged the rear rim. But I had to still wait the entire night for the puncture repair shop to open. So, there was a lot of time that was lost on my first day itself.
10. Were there any other moments when your bike broke down? Or you experienced any unexpected occurrences?
There were many incidences when my ride broke down. Technical breakdowns are bound to happen when you are on a journey across states setting a new record. But my understanding towards the engine was a huge advantage. I would mostly diagnose the fault in the machine well early before there was a complete breakdown and inform the nearest KTM service centre to keep the parts ready. Such breakdowns cost reduction in my night sleep.
11. Being on the go for five tiresome days, what was your diet like? How did you make sure your body consumed what it needed to sustain?
I made sure that i don’t over or under eat. I would avoid fatty food and had chocolates and dry fruits for instant energy. I would consume at least 4 liters of water for the day.
12. How supportive was your family in your pursuit?
My family and my friends were very supportive. It took a while to convince my mother but thanks to my father for helping me convince her.
13. What do you think about the current scenario of biking in India? Do you think it has gotten better over years?
The current scenario of biking in India has improved a lot over the years, rules are getting better, eg: ABS is now made mandatory over 200cc.
Riders are now leaning to bikes which are more technically advanced (Eg: Bikes with ABS, traction control etc.) rather than the thump only factor.
14. Do you have any idols in this field who inspire you?
Mr. Santanu Chakraborty (Guinness record holder) more often referred as Dada has not only inspired me but has also guided me to become a more disciplined rider.
15. What are your plans for the future?
My next aim is The Golden Quadrilateral Expedition, 6000kms. The Current record time is 89 hrs.
16. Any message for the biking community?
I would like to tell them that riders should ride for passion. Riding and travelling to different places and meeting different people around the whole of India is a very nourishing experience. You get more acquainted to life and realities when you meet different people from different strata of society and culture. Moreover you should ensure safety at all times.
This was Souvig Sarkar and his story. Write to us if you have any questions for him. Also, don’t forget to share his journey with your friends.