Updated: Oct 12, 2020
NOW SHOWING: Made Like a Gun
Make sure you catch this awesome film in our online cinema from 9th October 2020. You’ll explore the incredible Himalayas by riding some of the most challenging and highest roads in the world!
Don’t miss out – this film is only showing until 16th October 2020.
It's important to stress that Made Like a Gun is a film not just for motorcycle enthusiasts, but for all kinds of adventurers who appreciate the unknown: the challenge of diverse terrains, taking in new and breath-taking scenery, tackling unusual challenges on the fly, and achieving something truly incredible.
In the film, we ride with an ex-champion motorcycle racer Shane McLachlan and his son Max on a real Himalayan odyssey. They travel the world’s highest navigable roads on two Royal Enfield Bullets – a classic and hardy motorbike known for its rugged reliability.
When watching the film, it’s clear that this journey was unbelievably gruelling, both physically and emotionally – yet utterly worth it.
We caught up with Shane to find out more about this ambitious father-and-son expedition.
How long did it take you to prepare for the trip?
The preparation for this trip started probably five years before we set off on the journey.
There was quite a lot of research to be done on where we wanted to go in the Himalayas, the altitude, the Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles, how we would be able to carry all our film equipment on the bikes, and the political unrest in Kashmir.
What kind of climates did you have to endure?
We chose to go in late September which, according to my research, was after the wet season and before the roads would close due to snow.
The Ladakh region of Northern India is renowned for its climatic extremes. We experienced a range of cool to warm riding conditions, some days up to 16°C, with the temperature dropping to below freezing overnight!
What aspects did you find most challenging?
For Max and I, the most challenging aspect was staying focused on the conditions and the road ahead; there is such overwhelming size and beauty up in the Himalayas!
And as Max is quoted in the film: "...if you don't respect these mountains, the roads, the landscape, you risk having everything taken away from you."
Altitude sickness is also a dangerous ingredient in a road trip like this, especially for people like the two of us who are used to living at sea level back in Australia. We had a daily routine of traversing mountain passes up to 5,000 metres, a possible recipe for disaster.
The whole trip was obviously spectacular, but what stand-out moments did you have?
There were so many stand-out moments, but for me, one of the best was the local people we met as we traversed the mountains. We got invited to attend a traditional Tibetan wedding that was happening by the road at one of our Chai stops... that was special.
How did the bikes perform with the altitude increase?
The Royal Enfield Bullet was the bike we chose because of its strong history in India going back to the fifties – and if any two-wheeler was going to perform, then hopefully this was the one…
How long did you spend riding the highest roads in the world?
Max and I spent two weeks in Delhi prepping and doing some preliminary interviews, then spent the next two weeks on the road from Manali to Srinagar in Kashmir.
There is so much monstrous, barren, beautiful landscape up there in the Ladakh region of India, and every high mountain pass we crossed, I felt so small – but so empowered by being there.
What was the best part of the whole experience?
The best part of the whole experience was sharing it with my son. We are both adventurers, filmmakers and motorcycle enthusiasts – and to share this experience was so special.
So - what’s next?
Since we came back, both Max and I have returned to our respective filmmaking.
Australia experienced one of the worst bushfire seasons on record this year, and as a result, I've been producing and shooting a documentary on the devastating effects of these on our precious wildlife and ecosystems.
Max has been furthering his career as a steadi-cam operator and had hoped to move to LA for entry into the Hollywood feature film industry... but COVID-19 has put the brakes on that for now.
More about Shane, Max, and Adventure Biking
Why would someone want to take this route via motorbike? The most basic answer is passion. Motorcycling has its own famed endurance challenges, long-distance rallies, navigation records, and a full-blown adventure community. While it can be dangerous, it provides incredible tasks to achieve and celebrate.
Shane’s passion for motorcycles and adventure started at an early age. At 18, he started competing off-road in the Australian national Enduro competition, winning state titles in various classes over a 10-year period. In 1975, he was successful in breaking the solo ‘Around Australia Record’ on a 350cc Honda covering 16,500 km in 14 days. In 1976, as part of a team at Sydney’s Oran Park raceway, he smashed the ‘World Motorcycle Endurance Record’ non-stop for 114 hours on a Kawasaki 900.
After retiring from motorcycle racing in 1986, he entered the 7,000 km ‘Wynn’s Safari’, a Dakar-style Sydney to Darwin off-road event in a Toyota Landcruiser, finishing 6th outright and first non-factory entry across the line.
Shane’s son Max would follow in his footsteps, showing an interest in motorbikes from age 12. Out of concern, Shane told him if he didn’t get a motorbike when he turned 18, the two of them would go on a motorbike adventure. And although Max did get a motorbike at age 18, he didn’t let him forget the idea of a father-son adventure - and that’s how Made Like a Gun was born.