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This story first appeared on onthrottle.co.nz - Written by Mathieu Day-Gillett
A couple of months back we brought you the news that Royal Enfield was gearing up for an expedition to take a pair of specially modified Himalayans.
The first of its kind expedition, dubbed 90° SOUTH, saw the two riders spend over two weeks on the frozen continent to reach the geographic South Pole after riding in temperatures well below freezing.
After departing Cape Town in November and arriving at Novo in Antarctica, on December 16, 2021, two riders Santhosh Vijay Kumar and Dean Coxson, reached the geographic South Pole.
The team arrived at Novo in Antarctica from Cape Town for four days of acclimatization, loading of supplies, checking equipment and the motorcycles. From Novo, the team covered an overland distance of 3200km over the next 9 days braving extreme climatic conditions with temperatures between -30 to -25 degrees and wind speed of 60kmph, towards the Ross Ice Shelf.
Located in the extreme south of the continent, Ross Ice Shelf was the designated start point for the riders. However, an unexpected blizzard forced the team to alter the course. Instead of starting the ride from 86 South, the team started the ride from 87 degrees South.
Despite a few initial roadblocks and a slight detour, the expedition team completed the quest on December 16th, 2021, thus creating history.
For this expedition, two Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycles were modified in-house, with functional upgrades to be able to navigate snow and ice to ably function under extreme conditions in Antarctica.
The motorcycles were ridden on a compacted snow track to the South Pole, to reduce motorcycle drag and limit emissions to an absolute minimum. Royal Enfield is consciously ensuring no footprint is left behind by the expedition team except wheel tracks that will quickly be lost to a snowdrift. In line with Enfield's #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter initiative, the team is ensuring all waste, including human waste, is brought back for appropriate disposal.
Currently, the team is heading towards the western part of Antarctica, Union Glacier, from where they will fly out to a much warmer Punta Arenas in Chile.
**Editor's Note: Photos depict the Royal Enfield's training for the expedition and not on the ice in Antarctica. We hope to bring you pics of the actual bikes in the Antarctic soon.