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Chennai, Aug 3 The star and experienced participants are expected to come under pressure from the new generation competitors as the MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2023 moves into a crucial phase here on Friday.
All eyes will be on the third round of the event at the Madras International Circuit with front-runners looking to consolidate their positions on the leaderboard with a clutch of challengers snapping at their heels.
The ongoing season has seen the emergence of a new generation of teenage riders who have come through the ranks and some of whom have benefitted from exposure at the Asian level. As such, the established stars are feeling the heat as these young guns are unafraid to race wheel-to-wheel with their seniors, thus scripting some thrilling and knife-edge contests.
The two premier Pro-Stock categories -– 301-400cc Open and 165cc Open –- will undoubtedly headline the card that includes Stock 165cc, Girls’ class and a support race for Novice (301-400cc) riders, besides the Petronas TVS One-Make Championship and the Honda India Talent Cup, both organised by promoter Madras Motor Sports Club which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. A total of 16 races, besides practice and qualifying sessions, are scheduled for the weekend.
MMSC President Ajit Thomas said: “Presently, it is an extremely exciting scenario where the old guard is being pushed by a new crop of talented youngsters who are fast making a mark in the championship. Further, the entries are not any more metro centric as the championship is attracting riders from smaller towns across India, and their numbers are growing.
“While MMSC has striven hard to promote and popularise the sport, kudos to the manufacturers TVS and Honda, besides our title sponsors MRF Tyres, for providing a platform for the talent to be nurtured and groomed,” he said.
As for the championship standings in various categories, not much separates the title contenders. Rajiv Sethu (RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimate) leads both premier Pro-Stock Open fields. He enjoys a 46-point cushion against Petronas TVS Racing’s recruit Sarthak Chavan, a 16-year-old from Pune, in the 301-400cc Open class, having won all four races in his debut season in this category.
Sethu also heads the 165cc Open category with a 10-point lead over Pacer Yamaha’s 2022 champion Mathana Kumar, who scored a double in the first round in Coimbatore but failed to secure any points in the next outing last month following a disqualification (technical infringement) and a non-start.
Behind this pair are Sarthak Chavan, winner of one race, and three other Petronas TVS Racing riders -– Chiranth Vishwanath, the 16-year-old from Bengaluru, KY Ahamed and multiple National champion Jagan Kumar. Just 19 points separate the top six.
In the Novice class, Hyderabad’s 19-year-old Vignesh Goud (Race’ists Motorcycle Club), winner of all four races over two rounds, has a healthy 40-point advantage over Bengaluru teenager Savion Sabu (Axor Sparks Racing) while Alpha Racing’s Ann Jennifer, a former National champion, tops the Girls category, albeit by just three points over Puducherry’s Lani Fernandez (RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimate), both having won a race apiece.
In Honda India Talent Cup (NSF 250), Chennai teenager Kavin Samaar Quintal, with three wins in four starts this season, is firmly entrenched at the top of the points table, some 19 points clear of Steel City’s Prakash Kamath with another local rider, Rakshith Dave, only 14, a further two points adrift.
Petronas TVS One-Make Championship: Two Chennai riders, Alwin Sundar (78 points) and Manoj Yesuadiyan (70) are locked in a close battle in the Open (RR 310) category. Shreyas Hareesh, a 13-year-old from Bengaluru), with four wins from as many starts, heads the Rookie (RTR 200) class, 37 points ahead of Chennai’s Nandanan. Another Bengaluru rider, Nithila Das, 13, leads Nadine Faith Balaji from Chennai, by 14 points in the Girls (RTR 200) category.