48 Bikes Roared at 14th International Jawa Yezdi Day
Mangaluru: The 2nd Sunday of every July, every year is special for vintage and classics enthusiasts because that is the day, irrespective of the date, irrespective of the place, when proud Jawa and their counterpart owners, celebrate the dawn of the marquee. Hence this year it’s the 10th July 2016! For some, it can be a worldwide ‘virtual rally’ that celebrates how important these machines are, while for others, they actually take the trouble to plan out an International Rally, that happens in different cities, on different continents. And in India? While the name Yezdi is actually more well known and there are a lot of Yezdi owners, who swear by their motorcycles, there are those lucky few who actually own and ride the predecessors of these tough bikes – the Jawas ! And what is the Jawa? Well, most lay people would say that “the Jawa is a smoky Czech motorcycle with a two-stroke engine, very poor and outdated.”
The local riders of the Mangalore Jawa and Yezdi Motorcycle Club celebrated the “14th International Jawa Yezdi Day on Sunday, 10 July 2016 at the BEM High School Ground-Car Street, Mangaluru. A total of 48 riders on their Jawa and Yezdi bikes took part in the event- Six bikers came from Udupi, while five from Mangaluru had rode to Udupi in the morning, and returned back along with the six Udupi riders. Udupi origin Richard Misquith now based in Bengaluru also rode along with his friend from the ‘Garden City’, after taking part in the Jawa Yezdi Day celebrated in Bengaluru on Saturday.
During the occasion five mechanics from Mangaluru namely Henry D’Souza, Janardhan (Janna), Donald D’Souza, Jyothi and Vasant; Sripathi from Udupi and Nithin Acharya from Karkala were felicitated by offering them official T-shirt/bikers gear and Rs 1000 each, by the chief guest MJ Kini, a Supervisor at Jawa Yezdi showroom/workshop in Mangaluru (from 196-1996). Shawn Fernandez-member of Mangalore Jawa Yezdi Club and the convener of the event welcomed the gathering, while Richard Misquith delivered the vote of thanks. There were competitions like Slow Bike Race, Push Your Bike contest, and Figure of Eight contest and the winners were awarded prizes. Following the formal function, all the bikers went on a short ride around the city.
Shawn Fernandez speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “The Mangalore chapter of the all-India club – The Mangalore Jawa and Yezdi Motorcycle Club, while still in its nascent stage, has various members from all walks of life, be it as students, professors, IT professionals, doctors, engineers, etc all have a common feeling – of loving their motorcycles, whether they were handed down from their fathers or have just developed the interest in owning one! A meet every month is a must, and while it is usually held on a lazy Sunday afternoon, the riders are content to just meet up and ride to the nearby beaches or to take to the hills to watch the meandering Gurupur and Nethravathi rivers!”
“Regarding Jawa, it’s a pity, especially for those who don’t know much about these lovely machines. Jawa was the biggest Eastern motorcycle manufacturing marquee, with a capacity of production of 100.000 motorcycles per year (to make a comparison, today the Ducati produces approximately 40.000 motorcycles per year!), and was also well-reputed in the field of the GP and Enduro competitions. And still is. How many people would know that Jawa has been very active in racing, be it speedway racing, dirt track or ice racing – and by far the most active East-European manufacturers in mechanical sports? In track racing, where 4-stroke engines were still at an advantage, the firm remained a dominant force, scoring a number of victories that’s still mostly unbeaten today. Jawa sustained a presence in the World Championship until the mid-sixties with respectable performances considering their limited budget.”, he added.
He further said, “In India, the Yezdi and Jawa Owners Club of India or YJOCI was first formed in Mumbai in the month of August 2001, by Devang Racch and Hiren Chande, with just 4 Yezdi motorcycle enthusiasts meeting up near Juhu beach. From then onwards the brotherhood started spreading around, largely due to the user friendly Internet. Since then the interest that had started brewing across the country from West to East and South to North, began to develop into a fervor, as more and more people realized the untapped affection of these sturdy and reliable work horses! It developed to a point where in June 2005, where 10 riders on 8 motorcycles, took the highway to Leh, Khardung La, and the Nubra Valley, through the Rohtang pass, without a backup vehicle, firmly placing their trust on their solid bikes. This was part of the famous Yezdi Endurance rides, that tests the best of the group’s riders and bikes!”
“Ever since then, the Yezdi and Jawa Owners Club of India, has developed into various chapters or individual clubs in different cities. The number of riders in each chapter, particularly in the metros, swells up every year. And for those in the South who would find it difficult to try out for the Himalayas due to logistics, another long distance rally was created to counter the Raid de Himalayas in a lighter vein – the Southern Raid, where various Jawa Yezdi Clubs would ride down to a common meeting town. The last year in December, the 2nd Southern Raid was held at Kodaikanal. While the final meet up with club members from all over was overwhelming, the actually ride to and fro, in the rains, up and down the ghat sections, throwing the bikes into the tight curves in pitch blackness with only the comforting roaring engines bouncing off the steep cliffs in the middle of the night, could only be described as exhilarating! In all, 48 Yezdi & Jawa motorcycles of different makes and capacities had come together, doing the 1000 odd Kms. round trip, from Chennai, Mysore, Bangalore, Trivandrum and Mangaluru!” said Fernandez.
Well whatever it is, one thing is for sure – while the Yezdi manufacturing unit in Mysore was shut down in 1996, due to various management problems, it is understood that the owners of these proud motorcycles, that have withstood time and competition, are in no way going to give them up without a fight!