*KY Ahamed (33), Voropong Malahuan (46) and Rahil Pillarisetty (88) in a three-way battle (file photo)
Coimbatore, June 2: About 150 ace riders of the country will be seen in action in the Rolon round of the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Kari Motor Speedway here on Friday, with a card of 16 races besides practice and qualifying sessions spread over three days.
The weekend card includes races in the four National Championship categories – Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open and 165cc Open, Novice (Stock 165cc, Under-23) and Girls (Stock 165cc) – while Petronas TVS One-Make Championship (301-400cc Open, Rookie, Women and Media) and Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup (NSF 250R) are also part of the programme. As in the previous season, there will be one support race in the Stock 301-400cc category.
The Championship’s growing popularity can be gauged by the fact that the grid for the Novice category attracted 29 riders on the day the entries were opened. The promoters, Madras Motor Sports Club, closed the entries at 35 on a first-come-first-served basis. The number will be pruned to 30 for the Rolon round as per the maximum race grid permissible at Kari Motor Speedway circuit.
While the number of entries is on the rise, the competitors are getting younger. The Rookie category in the Petronas TVS One-Make Championship has only teenagers, the oldest being 17-year-old CS Kedarnadh from Tirupati, while 13-year-old Nithila Das from Bengaluru is participating in the Women’s class.
MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “We look forward to the 2023 season, commencing with the Rolon round at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore this weekend, with a sense of anticipation and excitement. It is a highly positive sign for two-wheeler racing that we have some 150 entries and counting, and the number seems to be growing year on year.'
As usual, the two premium Pro-Stock categories – 301-400cc Open and 165cc Open – will headline the proceedings. The two grids boast of the country’s best riders and top two-wheeler manufacturers such as TVS, Honda, Yamaha and KTM.
Individually, the spotlight would be on multiple National champion Rajini Krishnan (RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimate) who dominated the 301-400cc Open class with five wins from 10 starts last season, while Pacer Yamaha’s Mathana Kumar enjoyed a double here en route to annexing the championship in the 165cc Open category.
Competition in the other two National championship categories, Novice and Girls, has always been extremely competitive, and the trend is expected to continue this season.