A 17-year-old boy from Shimla is all set to enter the annals of biking history by becoming the youngest ever biker to compete in an international mountain biking event – at the adventure packed ‘Rumble in the Jungle MTB’ to be held in Sri Lanka next week.Supported by Hero Cycles in his journey, Akshit Gaur will hold the Indian flag high as the only India rider at the international biking event. His participation at the prestigious and challenging mountain biking race offers a reason to be proud of for sport lovers in India.Rumble in the Jungle is a Cross Country Marathon style 4-stage race covering a distance of close to 300 km to be covered over four days.
What makes this a really big challenge is the amount of climbing involved. Riders will climb an altitude of close to 8000 meters in four days over off road sections, mountain ranges and tea gardens of Sri Lanka. The school boy from Shimla, who has just cleared his class XII with flying colors, will be competing with some of the top international biking talent at the Sri Lanka event. Among the world’s veteran bikers participating include Canadian rider Cory Wallace, a three-time champion and former no 18 at World Championships; Japanese Yuki Ikeda; and Nepalese Ajay Pandit Chettri, among others. A graduate from St Edwards School, Shimla Akshit rides for the Hero Action Team, India’s first fully sponsored MTB team supported by Hero Cycles. At the event he will be riding his flagship UT ETX Bike – a full carbon bike weighing only 10 kgs and priced at 2.99 Lacs INR. UT Bikes is a premium bike brand from the house of Hero Cycles and is currently one of the meanest machines available in the market. Hero Cycles in association with the Himalayan Adventure Sports & Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA) runs a school program to spot and support talented and promising mountain bikers. Akshit was first spotted in the Hero HASTPA School programs in 2014 and has since then progressed into a top mountain biker, finishing as the winner in various races like Hero MTB Shimla (Winner student 2016, 2017 – 2nd and 5th overall respectively); winner MTB Nainital (student category, 3rd overall) and many other races. “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 popularizing 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,” said Akshit Gaur. “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,” says Mr. Pankaj Munjal, Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Hero Cycles.“For us the dream is to nurture a future Olympian in the sport and we are fully committed to that cause. We spotted Akshit at the first school program and have tried our best to provide him a platform with the limited resources we have. He is one of the brightest cycling talents in India and we would continue to support him and other serious aspirants. Hero Cycles has shared this vision with us and we are blessed to have a partner like them,” said Mohit Sood – President HASTPA. Akshit has competed and won against riders much older and experience. Notwithstanding his age, he promises to present a strong challenge at the international race. He has been training in the foothills of the Himalayas around Shimla and Narkanda and spends close to 2-4 hours on the bike every day. His weekly training hours exceed 25. Akshit feels an experience of training in the Himalayas, which offer a great practicing field, has strengthened him for the challenge.