Akshit Gaur (17), from Shimla, will soon become the youngest biker ever to compete in an international event. He is set to participate in an international mountain biking event 'Rumble in the Jungle MTB', to be held in Sri Lanka soon. While Sri Lanka Airlines are the main sponsor for the event, Akshit is being supported & sponsored by Hero Cycles to participate in the race.
'Rumble in the Jungle' is a cross country marathon style four-stage race, for a distance close to 300 km to be covered in over four days. What makes this a big challenge is the amount of climbing involved. Riders will climb an altitude of close to 8,000 m in four days over off-road sections, mountain ranges, and tea gardens of Sri Lanka.
Akshit recently passed his Class XII examinations with flying colours. He is now prepared to compete with some of the top international biking talents at the event in Sri Lanka. Canadian rider Cory Wallace, a three-time champion and former number 18 at the World Championships, Japanese Yuki Ikeda and Nepalese Ajay Pandit Chettri are some of the veteran bikers participating in this event.
Akshit graduated from St. Edwards School of Shimla. He is riding the flagship UT ETX bike, which is a full carbon bike that weighs only about 10 kg and it is priced at Rs 2.99 lakh.
Speaking about the occasion, Akshit said,
For a 17-year old, it is much like a dream come true to be at the starting line of a race with riders like Cory Wallace. The prospect does make me a little nervous as this is my first international race. At the same time, I am very confident about my training. I have followed a strict training regime which has given me the right shape and stamina for this race. I am also very confident about my new bike—the UT ETX. It’s a dream bike—very fast, and great at handling. This achievement has been possible with the help of HASTPA and Hero Cycles who have given a huge boost to young bikers in India by popularising mountain biking and supporting it wholeheartedly. I am immensely thankful to my team manager Ashish Sood, Mohit Sir from HASTPA, Manish Rohtagi and Raman Awasthi from Hero Cycles, for believing in me. I will give it my all.
Pankaj Munjal, the co-chairman and managing director of Hero Cycles, said,
We are proud of young Akshit and we wish him all the best for the upcoming race. Our vision of promoting and supporting mountain biking in India is finally showing tangible results as our young riders gain experience and exposure to be able to compete with the best talent in the world. We will continue to support mountain biking and talented Indian riders through the Hero Action Team and initiatives like the Hero HASTPA School programs that aim to nurture the sport in India.
Akshit has had a track record of winning competitions against riders who are older in age and much more experienced. He spends around two to four hours every single day on the bike near the foothills of Himalayas and his weekly training hours go well more than 25. Akshit feels that an experience of training in the Himalayas, which offer a great practicing field, has strengthened him for the challenge.