The oldest motorcycle manufacturer in the world; Royal Enfield has once again proved its worth. This time the rugged and reliable machine has conquered the South Pole. For its 120th Anniversary celebration, Royal Enfield didn’t just come up with special edition bikes but had planned to set out on a quest to the South Pole. The legendary bike maker called it the ’90° South – Quest to the Pole’. Two men, on the Royal Enfield Himalayan, had to scale across a part of Antarctica to reach their dream destination. Today, Royal Enfield has successfully completed the 90° South Expedition. This extraordinary endeavor is a tribute to the brand’s commitment to motorcycling, and to the courage and resilience of innumerable riders and explorers who have made history with their motorcycling journeys.
How did it happen?
On December 16, 2021, two riders Santhosh Vijay Kumar and Dean Coxson, reached the geographic South Pole in 15 days, making this expedition a reality. The team arrived at Novo in Antarctica from Cape Town for four days of acclimatization, loading of supplies, checking equipment, and the motorcycles. From Novo, the team covered an overland distance of 3200 km over the next 9 days, combating extreme climatic conditions with temperatures between -30 to -25 degrees and wind speed of 60kmph, towards Ross Ice Shelf. The team was supposed to start the ride from 86 South. But owing to an unexpected blizzard, the team was forced to alter their route, and thus, the team started the ride from 87-degree South. Despite all the odds, including a few initial roadblocks and a slight detour, the expedition team completed the quest on December 16, 2021, and etched their names in history.
For this expedition, two Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycles were modified in-house, with functional upgrades to be able to navigate snow and ice to function under extreme conditions in Antarctica. One major modification included the main drive sprocket of the bikes to be changed from a 15-teeth unit to a 13-teeth unit, to provide more torque to the wheels. The motorcycles were ridden on a compacted snow track to the South Pole, to reduce motorcycle drag and limit emissions to an absolute minimum. The brand also insured that no footprint is left behind by the expedition team except wheel tracks that will quickly be lost in the snowdrift. All waste including human waste was being brought back for appropriate disposal. Currently, the team is heading towards Union Glacier, the western part of Antarctica, from where they will fly out to Punta Arenas, Chile.
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