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Photos | When motorcycles turn into moving works of art in Port-au-Prince


In a burst of creativity and an almost religious mastery of their movements, motorcycle enthusiasts perform acrobatics that send adrenaline soaring

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Despite the context of insecurity, every weekend, bikers defy the dangers to offer shows that attract hundreds of people to the streets of Port-au-Prince, according to AyiboPost. However, participants fear that the control of certain areas by armed gangs risks diminishing interest. 

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These motorcycle shows fall into the category of motorsports, a type of activity that requires the use of motorized vehicles. Participants can engage in races, and practice drifting or aerial stunts. Competitors are scored by a panel of judges.

In Delmas, Turgeau, Bourdon, Canapé-vert, Lalue, Pétion-ville…, every weekend, riders who gather in different teams organize exhibition sessions to demonstrate their talents to an ecstatic audience.

With a burst of creativity and an almost religious mastery of their movements, these motorcycle enthusiasts perform acrobatics that send adrenaline soaring.

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« It’s so exciting that it even suppresses the appetite. You feel like you are somewhere else, in another world, » says Jean-François, who has been participating in these street showcases for almost a year as part of several teams.

Every Sunday, very early, he receives information about the time, location, and the circuit involved. He puts on his protective gear (helmet, gloves, airbag), then mounts his motorcycle and joins his team, ready for new adventures.

For the 27-year-old man who has been attending motorcycle shows for nearly ten years in the streets of Port-au-Prince and various places around the country, these showcases represent an excellent way for him to meet people and practice his burning passion for motorcycles.

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« You meet everyone. People from affluent classes, professionals of all ages… everyone comes together, » says François to AyiboPost.

For Walson Pierre, who never misses an opportunity to attend showcases by the True Riders team, it’s always an immense pleasure to admire these men in almost perfect harmony with their motorcycles.

« One might think they can communicate with the motorcycles during the acrobatics, » declares the young man.

« Between the fear of seeing them fall and the joy of seeing them suddenly recover, you don’t even know what you’re feeling, » he says.

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Although these exercises arouse a great deal of pleasure, they also come with a lot of risks, according to Jean-François. Indeed, the risk of accidents is high.

« One day, one of my friends broke his leg. But we helped him as best as we could, » he recounts.

Carl C. Napoléon, a member of the True Riders, fears that these activities are now threatened by gang activity.

« It is true that many young people in Port-au-Prince or in different provincial cities still express the desire to continue riding motorcycles, but it must be said that there are more and more constraints arising, especially in the capital, » he says.

Motorcyclists put on a show on the Delmas Road in July 2023. | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

The ongoing insecurity situation in Port-au-Prince and the control of certain neighborhoods by armed groups are pushing organizers to modify their circuits.

« The gradual takeover of various places in the metropolitan area by armed bandits limits our activities, » laments Napoléon, a former motorcycle champion.

« Furthermore, at one point, it became dangerous for us to venture into Thomassin, for example, because members of the gang led by Ti-Makak were riding motocross bikes. They even had equipment similar to ours, which was not prudent in case we were to encounter the police, » he explains.

Motorized two-wheelers participating in the show on Delmas Road in July 2023. | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

Long-distance road rally competitions, conducted on extended circuits as they were done in the past, no longer take place today due to the increasing risks associated with riding motorcycles in areas like Croix-des-Bouquets, Cité-Soleil, Pétion-Ville, or Thomassin.

« I believe that in the long run, all of this could decrease the interest, » Napoléon concedes.

On the road from Jacquet to Pétion-Ville, the breathtaking showcase is also enlivened by roller skaters, notes AyiboPost. With uncanny mastery, these roller skating experts leave the crowd speechless.


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By Jean Feguens Regala

David Lorens Mentor participated in this report.

English translation by Sarah Jean.

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Photojournaliste freelance à AyiboPost depuis mars 2023.