A YEAR AGO, THREE YOUNG FRIENDS FROM THE “SCOOTER KINGS PAKISTAN” CLUB ACHIEVED AN AMBITION THEY HAD BEEN DREAMING ABOUT FOR MONTHS: TO RIDE THEIR VESPA SCOOTERS TO THE WORLD’S HIGHEST PAVED INTERNATIONAL BORDER POINT, ON THE KARAKORUM HIGHWAY. ALTITUDE: 4,700 METRES.
The border on the Khunjerab Pass, the road symbol of the friendship between China-Pakistan. Photo by Wang Lie/China Daily).
The Khunjerab Pass is a mountain pass on the border between Pakistan and China. At an altitude of 4,693 metres, it is the highest paved border point in the world, and also the highest point of the Karakorum Highway, the world’s highest international road, and one of the most spectacular. A strategic point linking the north-west of China’s autonomous Xinjiang Uygur region and the region of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan.
The border checkpoint stands on the Pamir Plateau, where temperatures can fall as low as 40 degrees Celsius below zero. This legendary spot was the destination, after a five-day ride of 800 km, rising from an altitude of 1,088 metres to 4,693 metres, of three friends from Scooter King Pakistan. They started out on their vintage Vespa scooters, carefully restored for the trip, on 29 May 2015 and reached the pass on 2 June 2015, before making the return journey.
Itinerary: Manshehra-Besham (first day), Besham-Chilas (2nd); Chilas-Hunza (3rd), Hunza-Sust (4th), Sust-Khunjerabad (5th), across plains, glaciers and mountain lakes along the ancient silk road. Legendary places along the route of the courageous trio on the saddles of their Vespas: Bilal Ahmed Chaudhary on a VBIT 150 from 1975 (known as “Olaf”), Ahmed Butt on a VBB 150 from 1962 (“Syline”) and Kahif Bashir on a VBIT 150 from 1975 (“Granite”).
The adventure attracted wide media coverage, in Asia (including Pakwheels.com) and Europe (Britain’s Scootering magazine published a lengthy eight-page report by Kahif Bashir, with photos of the Vespidition Pakistan team). Kahif says: “The trip would have remained a dream, if I hadn’t had the backing of my travel companions Bilal Ahmad Chaudhary and Ahmad Butt, and of my Scooter Kings Pakistan friends Adeel Khalid (Deedee), Bilal Hussain Akhtar (Hotice), Masood Alam Khanm Yasir Qayum Khan and Mian Zahir Said: it was thanks to their unflagging moral and material support, both during the preparations and the ride itself, which was thrilling and entertaining.”