The story of our Iron Rider – Abrar Bin Ayub
Raid de Himalaya has always been on the watch list of true motorsport lovers in India. This year, however, at Rynox, we had one more reason to give it some special attention from us.
Abrar Bin Ayub rode the Raid this year, the first Kashmiri to do so in the 17 years of the Raid’s history, and boy was we thrilled!
Abrar came to our attention about half a year ago, when he humbly wrote to us seeing our Iron Rider sponsorship. He was so modest that we almost missed the list of commendable achievements he’d racked up at the tender age of 23. What came through clearly in his entry though, was his passion for motorsport, and his vision for himself as a player in the game. He was out to win! At 23, and still studying in SRM College in Chennai, Abrar had already participated in various motorsport events (car, bike and ATV), and had won a few SEA BAJA events by then. He qualified for the VW Vento Cup (2015) and The Toyota EMR Cup (2015) as well, but was forced to pull out due to lack of sponsorship. It was this last bit that really convinced us that given the right support, Abrar could shine.
Abrar had always been clear that completing the Raid was his mission for the year. It was just the ways and means of achieving his target which he was working out. We decided that if anything, Abrar deserved to be an Iron Rider (check out the details of our Iron Rider program here), and we would become his Safety Apparel Partner. For a rally like the Raid though, Abrar needed more than the normal amount of protection, and so it was back to the drawing board with us!
We finally outfitted Abrar with our Tornado Pro Jacket (with Knox Armour and Dupont Cordura) and our Inferno Pro Gloves. We were also immensely excited to give him our Rynox Pant (a prototype), which, being lightweight and providing exceptional impact protection, were perfect for the rally. Though the pants that we gave him were a prototype, there was no compromise on the functionality and the protection that the pants offered. At that time, we were working on developing a truly universal pair of riding pants for our customers, and what better way to see how they performed than the Raid, by far the toughest rally Raid in Asia.
As Abrar began practicing for the Raid, we were all sucked into the excitement. We watched on tenterhooks while he had some falls and gave himself multiple bruises during this period. Mostly though, we were glad to see that our gear stood the test and that it was more than adequate for Raid, especially the pants! Rynox was ready for Raid with Abrar!
Abrar says “The prototype of Rynox Pants was very protective throughout the journey and saved me in all 3 crashes. In one of the crashes when my leg got stuck under the motorcycle, it resulted in a small hole in the pants fabric but the armour on the knees was amazing and saved me all the while.”
We spent the two days before the Raid completely in communication with Abrar. He seemed calm and impervious to the mounting tension, and had made friends on the course. The morning of the scrutiny came and went, and Abrar had made it. His bike, gear and himself were certified as ready to race. He was ready to Raid.
“All day I sat there looking at different people coming up with their machines and each one of them reflecting a hope and hunger to finish raid. That night I couldn’t sleep for a minute. It wasn’t fear of this suicidal race but the excitement to be on that finish line” says Abrar.
Day I – Shimla to Manali
The day didn’t go so well for Abrar, though of course, to say so is relative. Within moments of the start of the race, Abrar’s dear friend and a mentor of sorts – Mohit Verma met with a terrible accident that halted his race prematurely. Abrar says when he got to know of the accident, it was a big psychological blow to his own attempt since Mohit’s experience and presence at the race was comforting. Abrar nevertheless continued on his mission – just like Mohit would’ve wanted him to do! He completed this leg with 2 falls and no injuries. He finally finished 13th out of 37 bikers in the Alpine Category despite having stopped for another co-rider, which was heartening. All through, he says his gear kept him from serious harm. He loved the pants, “In early morning cold starts the warmers gave me much required warmth. The pockets were highly useful at times. The elastic at the lower back made sure that pants sat at the right place while standing as well as bending. My feedback has been used to make the final product even more fantastic and flawless.”
Day II – Manali to Dalhousie
Abrar made up for lost time and pulled into a triumphant 7th place at the end of day II. The realization that being in the Top 3 was a tall order, but NOT an impossibility, was beginning to sink into him. He was hopeful for the next day.
Day III – Dalhousie to Srinagar
“The cruelty of Raid finally came to me” laments Abrar on his Facebook page. We were shocked and saddened, but waited for the details. It turned out that after he had pulled into 5th place, a stone knocked a hole into his engine’s casing – something no one could have predicted or prevented. Abrar was picked up by the rescue team, and his bike ported back, 60 Kms from the finish line of the world’s toughest endurance rally.
We spoke to Abrar the same evening and we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that he had taken the loss into his stride. Full of sporting spirit, he was fixing his bike, and filled with more resolution than ever to finish the Raid some day in the future. It is clear that for Abrar, the journey hasn’t ended, it’s only begun. It is people like Abrar who will put India on the map of motorsport, and he deserves our support. At Rynox , we will do our best to stand by him all the way!