The Throttlerz are all about free-style riding and motorbike stunts. SRUTHI. R. MALLYA & SHWETHA VAIDYANATHAN report on the 40-member team that thrives on
Roaring engines and burning tyres... vroommm. The Throttlerz send the audience into a screaming frenzy. The riders build the rhythm, starting with basic wheeling before they progress into their much-loved stunts. One of the members balances himself using the back wheel, grips the handle bars and stays suspended in the air — a stunt called Captain America.
This stunt motorbike rider group was started by B. Biju, A. Sathyaraj and P. Prasanth two years ago. They saved pocket money and depended on their parents to finance their dream. Broken bones and sprained muscles were setbacks but their enthusiasm kept them going.
The Throttlerz comprises 40 members — five professional free-style riders, 13 trainee riders and technicians. They perform freestyle stunts (in the air), stopies (rear wheel up), semi-podium (left leg on the tank, right leg on the mud guard, right hand in the air and the left hand holding the handle bar) and highchairs (front wheel up).
Don’t they experience any fear while indulging in these stunts? Biju, whom every Throttler looks up to as anna, says: “Our talent is performing stunts. Why should we be scared of doing what we are good at?”
Biju used to be a motorbike racer who did wheeling to entertain the audience. One day, he and his friends came up with the idea of taking up stunt riding as a career. His mother helped him realise his dream with the income from her novelty shop. “My mother has always been a great support. Despite the dangers of this sport, she has always been encouraging,” he says.
Sathyaraj admits they are self-taught and learnt by watching videos of stunt performances. “We understand the difficulties faced by amateurs, and so we started training those who are passionate about this sport,” he says.
As for Prasanth, he joined Throttlerz after watching a video of Biju, Sathyaraj and two friends performing stunts. “Initially, there was no family support because I sustained injuries while learning the stunts. It took me almost a year to convince them,” he says.
E. Logesh, one of the trainees, was also inspired by Biju’s performance. “I persuaded anna to teach me. I helped out my father in his business to earn pocket money. I was determined to be a part of the team,” he says. Today, he’s one of the top performers of Throttlerz.
‘Pep’ Vinodh, another trainee, was inspired by French stunt rider Jorian Ponomareff, famous for his daring performances. He started off doing stunts on a Scooty Pep during his school days. His family objected, but today, he’s a star performer.
“Being a professional rider is not easy. We practise for six to seven hours every day. Our mantra is the more you burn tyres, the better,” he says.
People often assume that stunt riders are not serious about safety, but the Throttlerz use their safety gear even during practice sessions. With the support of the Tamil Nadu police, they have also done shows to promote the use of helmets.
At present, Biju, Sathyaraj and Prasanth are gearing up for the October auditions of XDL Sport Bike Freestyle Championship 2013. Winning this event can provide a possible break in the International circuit.
But for now, they crave recognition. In European countries, motorbike stunt is considered a sport and bikers get to take part in regular championships. It is not like that here. There’s also the question of finance. Every biker spends nearly Rs. 600 every day just on petrol. “But, we don’t mind it. The satisfaction we experience when the audience cheers us makes us feel the hardships are worthwhile,” says Biju.