We Have the Blue Angels, Golden Knights and Silver Eagles, India Has Daredevils, Tornadoes and White Horses

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Armed forces around the word have demonstration teams like the US Air Force’s Blue Angels or the Marines’ Silent Drill Team. It turns out that the Indian army has a unique public relations tool, a number of motorcycle stunt teams. They ride Royal Enfield motorcycles, which have remained in production in India long after the British parent company folded. While Cars In Depth is a car culture site, the truth is that we like anything with wheels and/or motors and I personally think the Royal Enfield story is one of those charming factoids in the world of transportation. The Daredevils’ bikes are not the only thing that sets the apart from stunt riders outside of India. When I mention motorcycle stunt riding, you probably think of sportbike wheelstanders like Jason Britton, or motocross freestylers like Travis Pastrana. While Indian motorcycle stunt riders do some trick riding, literally jumping through hoops of fire, it seems that most of their stunts involve riding motorcycles with improbably numbers of people riding on one bike, or even more people riding together on multiple bikes.

I suppose that in a country where entire families will ride on a single motor scooter, it shouldn’t be surprising that military teams compete over who can put more people on a Royal Enfield. The Indian Army Signal Corps has its own motorcycle demonstration team called the Tornadoes last year set a record carrying 54 people on a single 500cc motorbike for a distance of over a kilometer. Indians are so proud of their stunt riding teams that when the commander of the Indian army, General Vijay Kumar Singh, visited Mongolia last month, he brought the army’s corps of Military Police own motorcycle stunt team, known as the Shwet Ashwa (White Horses). It’s possible that the Indian army’s affection for motorcycle stunt teams was, like the Royal Enfields they ride, inherited from the British. The British Army has it’s only motorcycle display teams, the Flying Gunners of the Royal Artillery, and the White Helmets of the Royal Signals.

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