Wānaka Sun       

Motorcycle club traverses one of the world’s highest roads

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 29 Aug, 2019 | By Allison McLean journalist@thewanakasun.co.nz

A group of Wanaka men can now boast they have (nearly) ridden to the top of the world.

A total of 16 people from Wanaka Motorcycle Club (WMC) and from Christchurch returned to New Zealand on August 18 after touring the Himalayas by motorcycle. The club rode for 11 days, covering more than 1700 kilometres of land and 5600 metres in elevation along one of the highest motorable roads in the world reaching the Khardung La mountain pass. The group members spent the majority of their time in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, an area that has suffered decades of violence.

Mark Dick of WMC wrote to the Wanaka Sun during the group's journey, “We have successfully made it to the top of the world on the Kardung La...we have had very good weather until the last day where we had rain across the Rohtang Pass. With the fine weather brought a lot of glacier melt which made river crossings difficult; we've had a few minor offs but no injuries. As we were in Kashmir, there was a lot of army movement on the roads with trucks and tanks at a very uncertain time in that region. Most of us handled the altitude with minor effect, but we were not running any races as breathing became more difficult.”

Dick and Peter Cleveland, the trip's organiser, said they learned a few lessons along the way. “Our back roads here aren't so bad after all; the higher we got the worse their roads got with rivers running through some of them.”

The group's journey was guided by Ladakh Moto Tours India. “One of the Indian crew members got sick and needed oxygen and he's travelled the route regularly, but we Kiwis got through it without sickness; just a bit short on energy," said Dick. "Thank you to Lalit Prakash and his awesome crew for the most unforgettable and amazing adventure one could only imagine in the Himalayas."

Despite their memorable experience, the WMC members said they were happy to return home to their loved ones and NZ cuisine.


WMC has approximately 55 members in the Wanaka-Hawea region, including racers, roadies and adventure riders as well as the dirt bike contingent.


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