Royal Enfield has tested the endurance of man and machine time and again, and it made history once again by successfully completing the 90° South Expedition, the quest for the South Pole on the Royal Enfield Himalayan. This extraordinary endeavor is a tribute to the brand’s 120-year commitment to pure motorcycling and to the courage and resilience of countless riders and explorers who have made history on two wheels.
On December 16, 2021, two riders — Santhosh Vijay Kumar and Dean Coxson — reached the geographic South Pole in 15 days, making the ambitious attempt a reality.
The team arrived at Novo in Antarctica from Cape Town, South Africa, for four days of acclimatization, loading of supplies as well as checking equipment and the motorcycles. From Novo, the team covered an overland distance of 3,200 kilometers (1,988 miles) over the next nine days, braving extreme weather conditions with temperatures between minus 30 C to minus 25 C (minus 22 F to minus 13 F) and a wind speed of 60 km/h (37 mph), towards Ross Ice Shelf.
The Ross Ice Shelf was the designated start point for the riders; however, an unexpected blizzard forced the team to alter its course. Instead of starting the ride from 86 South, the team started the 400-kilometer (250-mile) ride from 87 degrees South. Despite a few initial roadblocks and a slight detour, the expedition team completed the quest by reaching the South Pole on Dec. 16, 2021.
For this expedition, two Royal Enfield Himalayan motorcycles were modified in-house, with functional upgrades to be able to navigate snow and ice and function under extreme conditions in Antarctica. The motorcycles were ridden on a compacted snow track from the Ross Ice Shelf 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 be quickly lost to snow drift. In line with our #LeaveEveryPlaceBetter initiative, the team is ensuring all waste, including human waste, is brought back for appropriate disposal.
The team is currently heading towards the western part of Antarctica, Union Glacier, from where it will fly out to Punta Arenas, Chile.