Though he got his official motorcycle license at the age of 18, Bikram Thapa says he has been riding ever since he was six years old. And after being a part of the Asia Cup of Road Racing 2014 in Motegi, Japan, he is considered Nepal’s first professional motorcycle racer to take part in an international racing tournament.
“Although motorbikes are one of the most common means of transportation for Nepalis, they are not really involved in motor racing in a global scale or even in the local level to be honest. So, this idea struck and led me to give it a shot. I also wanted to experience racing in the international field,” he says.
Thapa says, in hindsight, it was his childhood experiences as a whole that acted as an inspiration for him to become a rider in the future. When he was growing up, his father used to take him on bike and car rides quite frequently. Besides that, there would always be a new bike related discussion whenever his siblings and cousins got together. Their talks were fun and acted as catalysts to make him dream of taking motorcycle racing in Nepal to a different level.
He kick started his official racing journey in 2013 through Racemandu which is a first-ever open category closed-circuit annual racing championship initiated in Nepal under the affiliation of Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the global governing body of motorcycle racing. A year later, he was able to win the title of first runner-up in Racemandu II 2014. “Racemandu was the first step to my journey. When I won the title, it felt like I had cleared the first level of my journey,” he recalls.
Following Racemandu, Thapa registered himself for Sincere Citizen Motor Rally organized by Nepal Auto Mobile Sports Association in the same year and secured third position in the competition. After he had had gained enough experiences in local races within Nepal, he then applied for his first international race, Motegi Championship. He didn’t win at the tournament but he didn’t give up and continued participating in other international tournaments. In the FIM Asia Cup in 2014, he came in 22nd, and in the Asia Road Racing Championship’s Suzuki Asian Challenge in Thailand, he made it to the top eight. Recently in 2017, he was also honored as class 5th expert in TK Rental Bike Championship in Japan.
Currently though he is resting because he was recently injured but he is also preparing for upcoming races scheduled to take place in Saitama, Japan. He shares that a bigger bike project is also on the horizon. “All the riders I race with have very strong racing backgrounds whereas I’m from a country where there are no professional race tracks and I’ve never had opportunities that they have had. Due to this, I have had to go through many technical difficulties and practice aboard as well. But it's not necessarily a bad thing because I now know the difference and have learnt a lot. In fact, I’m thankful for what I’ve had to go through,” he says.
Here he adds, lately, race events like Racemandu, Crossmandu, stunt battles, and racing groups have had positive impacts in the present motor scene in Nepal. This has also changed the way people view riding as a career in Nepal. Thapa thinks that Nepal definitely needs improvement and upgrades where motorbike racing is concerned but the good thing is that at least it’s got a start now.
Thapa, for whom Valentino Rossi is a role model, considers racing as his therapy in this crazy world. For him, it is an experience like no other and something that simply makes him happy. Each and every race he took part in has been amazing and unique. So, with the lessons he learned from his journey, he further wants to inspire the young generation and support them to pursue riding not only as a hobby but a career as well.
“I have always wanted to see myself mentoring young riders to make sure they learn in a professional and technical background that I, myself, had to go a long way to receive,” he concludes.