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Baz Luhrmann & Vincent Fantauzzo's mad Indian motorcycle diary
When this conspicuously outfitted pair of Australians rode their Royal Enfields through Rajasthan, painting village walls along the way, the local kids went bananas
Indian bike brand Royal Enfield hosted Austrailian film director Baz Luhrmann on his 10-day personal peace mission to India following attacks on foreign, including Indian, students in Australia. Accompanied by his painter pal Vincent Fantauzzo, Luhrmann was treated to a maniacal road trip round the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Rider-in-chief and part of the Royal Enfield tour team, Kanwardeep Singh Dhaliwal, blogged about their incredible journey on the Royal Enfield website. Here are the highlights.
Baz exclaimed that this was like a video game where every time you get used to the adventure, a new levels starts. "You have now reached level 10!"
On the 29th of January while I was waiting at the airport I had no idea what I was getting myself into. When Baz landed, he told me that he had never ridden a bike before and had only received his driving license three days ago. I had one hour to get him on a gorgeous green Royal Enfield Classic 500 and onto the road.Baz got on the bike, learned to shift through the gears and brake well enough in the empty parking lot at the airport. Though a bit shaky and slow at first (Indian city traffic had its share to contribute) he gained his composure as we reached the highway and were soon cruising down the smooth road to Bikaner. By the time we reached Sikar his confidence was soaring. Vincent has been riding super bikes and motocross back in Australia so he adapted very well to the Classic.
At Sikar we had a renewed lease of confidence as we prepared to leave the traffic behind and hit the smooth country roads of Rajasthan. Vincent was eager to test the bike's capabilities. He was pulling wheelies on the first day itself and soon learned that a Royal Enfield was more than just a highway cruiser. The duo also learned that speed breakers could be fun too. As we reached Dundlod by sundown, Thakur Randeep Shekhawat had a warm welcome for us at his fort. Vincent started trying to drift here in the hard sand.
Painting the village red and Vincent's bike trick show for kids
The next day, during our morning ride through Mandawa, we took plenty of pictures of the old painted havelis and temples. But the highlight was their interaction wth the kids. One of the reasons they were in India was charity work for deaf kids. We took excellent pics of the local children and our bikes. Vincent even did some drifting in the dirt to their amusement. Soon we had to ride out of there. We then went for a small ride over broken, sandy terrain, on true blue Royal Enfield style offroads, through the back yards of Mandawa. We rode back to Dundlod by sunset. Baz and Vincent had a plan to paint one of the walls of the fort. I'm sure Thakur Randeep will cherish that painting for ever.
Next morning Baz and Vincent wanted to paint a village wall as well. Initially the villagers couldn't figure out what they were up to and passed smirks, but by the time the picture started to appear they were all silent and in awe. The next plan was to ride to Jaipur and catch the evening flight to Delhi. But they were having so much fun on their bikes that they wanted to ride straight to Delhi, and so we did!
Baz and Vincent star in their own road racing video game, Dundlod to Delhi
This was now a real ride with a distance of 260 kms and half a day to cover it along a route that was unplanned. Most of the route turned out to be excellent and worth riding on again. We rode through some sand, tight village gullies, broken roads, along bright yellow sunflower fields, and great highways. This was now looking more like a Royal Enfield ride. More riding, less stops, less pics and total fun! Baz was getting better and proving to be a decent rider, while Vincent was going all out with drifting at corners, good speed offroading, jumps, wheelies, burnouts and donuts, while the route stayed beautiful and totally enjoyable.
Then as we caught the highway 90 kms to Delhi, it got really cold, extremely dusty and traffic seemed to be getting worse with overtaking getting difficult and traffic jamming the highways. Yet we rode on with a smile on our dirty faces and with durt in our eyes. Baz exclaimed that this was like a video game where every time you get used to the adventure, a new levels starts. "You have now reached level 10!". But this beats video games.
At the Delhi press conference Siddhartha Lal, managing director, Eicher Motors Limited, gifted Baz and Vincent a Royal Enfield Classic 500 each with their names on the tanks. Baz called it, "the most gorgeous looking bike I have seen" while Vincent adjudged it "the most fun bike I have ever ridden."