Torbs: Performance Tuk Tuk Driving

Ratnagiri Travel Blog

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Many consider the humble tuk tuk to be a  poor relative of more widely supported forms of motorsport but this does a dis-service to a machine that, in the correct hands, can deliver more exhilaration than a unplanned visit to an Indian toilet. Indeed it was in underground tuk tuk racing and not karting, as is widely mis-reported, that Lewis Hamilton first came the attention of Ron Dennis.


Fortunately, a standard tuk tuk can be converted to race prepared specification with only a few minor modifications, such as removing the wing mirrors  (which only serve to distract the driver with what is going on behind), altering the stereo volume to maximum and applying the appropriate speed enhancing paint job. Like the notorious Porsche 911, the tuk ruk is a twitching rear wheel drive monster that will punish the indecisive. It requires respect, and in many ways, driving a tuk tuk is like making love to a beautiful woman. But I digress.


As with any high-performance rally car, the tuk tuk likes nothing better than to test the driver to the limits. Pulling away in first you immediately feel all 7hp as if Ganesh himself was urging you forwards. The massive torque and close ratio gearbox of the tuk tuk mean second and third are often by-passed as you slip neatly into fourth, and it is then that the tuk tuk really comes into its own. In a straight line this weasy chariot will top 65 kph and it handles corners as if glued to the road with out-of-date Pritt Stick. However ultimately, the key to performance tuk tuk driving is your passenger. And the degree to which you can scare the living daylights out of them. After all as I always say, a screaming passenger, is an excited passenger.


That's all for lesson one, but do watch out for the next session – What to do when you get out of shape through a cow chicane.

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photo by: Rickshaw