Coimbatore - With 64 entries in the Championship category and a further 212 riders in the three single-make series, the 2012 MMSC-Sidvin National Motorcycle Racing Championship here this weekend boasts of being one of the biggest while the competition is expected to be as close as it was last year.
Though the glamour Group A Superbike (600cc) class has just six riders led by National champion Krishnan Rajini on his Yamaha R16 of 2008 vintage, the other four categories have attracted a fair number of entries that suggest the growing popularity of two-wheeler racing.
Also on the grid for the first time are TVS Racing who have joined two other leading manufacturers Honda and Yamaha, in running their own single-make series, showcasing their Apache RTR 180 machine.
The five championship classes are likely to again witness fierce competition as in the previous years with all 2011 winners in the mix while the focus on the Superbikes besides the 165cc Group B and C Open whose grids have some established riders.
Among the closely watched class would be the Group B that has a clutch of quality riders led by 2011 champion Deepak Ravikumar and the two TVS Racing riders K. Jagan and Harry Sylvester, who had finished second and third in the championship last year.
However, missing from the Group B grid is Sarath Kumar, who last year became the first Indian to ride in the Moto GP championship in Ten10 Racing colours last year and now in the Italian series representing Team Mahindra.
The introduction of a championship for manufacturers based on the points their riders garner is bound to heighten the competition.
In all, the weekend will see a total of 23 races, with nine to be run Saturday while Friday was reserved for practice sessions that were relatively incident free barring a couple of minor crashes from which riders walked away with a few bruises.