Kids, don’t try this at home, unless you are Basith! There was a lot of excitement and ‘howling’ in the air as a lean boy of 21 did incredible tricks on his cycle. His face was brimming with confidence as he moved the cycle like it is a part of his body. BBOY krz, as his friends call him, was literally in the air. All mouths were wide open, and someone out in the crowd screamed, “Go, Basith, go”.
Mohamed Basith Ali, a BCom student at National College, Thiruvananthapuram, is the oldest member of ‘knight ryders’, which he claims as the only MTB stunt racing team in Kerala.
For Basith, the journey started when he was in Class VIII. That was when he saw a video of bike stunter Jorian Ponomareff. “I had only a basic Axn Dx cycle then. I started practising on it. My family was not supportive at all as they thought it’s a waste of time. I lied to them and went to practice sessions. Now, I have bought a new cycle, Fire Eye Shortfuse 380 using money I have saved from a part-time job,” he says.
Niyas a.k.a. Rody Krz, Sreejith a.k.a. SJ Krz, Ismail a.k.a. Ismoke Krz, Abhilash a.k.a. Abhi Krz, all students of the same college, are the other members of the team. “We have done stunts, and performed in as many as 100 shows. We have also done many college fests,” he says. “It is a risky affair. But, if you have the passion, you can achieve the skills in three years. Even my brother Khaleelulla Mohamed Ibrahim, who is 13, accompanies me to the practice sessions. It’s been eight years since I started doing cycle stunts. We practise for at least five hours a day,” he adds.
Biking is thrilling and engaging. It keeps you fit physically and mentally. But stunt is difficult. It involves long hours of sweating out on the ground. You may get hurt, but if you have the will to stand up and try again, you will win. “We should be open to new sport forms,” he believes. “Also, proper safety measures should be taken, and financial security should be ensured before venturing into it. I learnt it all by myself,” he says. “I mastered it through constant practice. But, there is still so much to learn. I am learning new tricks every day. We try varieties of stunts like wheelies, stoppies’, christ and bunny hops. But what we lack is a proper stage to show our mettle and support. In Thiruvananthapuram, people often mistake stunt riding for racing. Both are different” Basith says.
He goes on to say that MTB stunt racing is an emerging profession, but misconceptions people have about it hamper its growth. “Youngsters who are attracted to stunt riding approach us to learn it, but girls usually hesitate. This must change. More people should come forward. They all like it, but are afraid to come forward. If done properly, there is nothing to fear. We used to imitate MTB stunt riders who post their videos on Instagram and YouTube, and then analyse the tricks and practise with safety gears. People think it’s easy, but it takes days of practice or even months to get it right."
But nothing can tarnish his spirit. Basith is all motivated. “Someday, I wanna be known by this sport,” he smiles....