The 2018 MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship is set for a thrilling finish with close battles for the titles in various categories as the fifth and final round, boasting of over 200 entries, starts at the MMRT circuit, here on Friday with 21 races, besides qualifying sessions, to be run over three days.
The card includes One-Make Championships by Honda (Talent Cup - CBR 250 Open and CBR 150 for Novice) and TVS (Apache 310 Open and Apache 200 for Novice), besides a support event, the Alisha Abdullah Inter-College Star Race (Formula LGB 1300) which will have a 11-car grid comprising college students, including 16-year old Deepika from Krishnagiri, and in a first, transgender Apsara Reddy, also a journalist, as a guest driver who will race on Sunday.
It has been a season of surprises and close races. More notably, MRF Tyres provided a huge boost to the championship by offering slick tyres for the two top categories, the Super Sport 165cc and the Pro-Stock 301-400cc. The slick tyres met with unanimous approval of the riders who were able to put in faster lap times due to the higher grip levels, especially through the corners.
Also, the initiative of Madras Motor Sports Club to unearth fresh talent has been an unqualified success with ever-increasing number of entries from first-timers competing in the Stock 165cc category. With about 50 Novice riders in the fray, MMSC introduced heats to arrive at the final grid for the point-scoring race. Hyderabad teenager Karthik Mateti of Sparks Racing and team-mate Aditya Rao from Bengaluru, exerted dominance to head the leaderboard with 86 and 70 points, respectively, winning three of the four races between them.
Similarly, Honda and TVS attracted over 20 entries apiece for in both Open and Novice categories. The TVS race for girls also proved popular with about 15 riders on the grid. Also to be run is the final round of the TVS Media championship.
While the titles in all the National Championship categories are still up for grabs, much of the attention will be on the premier Super Sport 165cc double-header. With a maximum of 50 points on offer, another bitter fight between TVS Racing and Honda Ten10 riders is on the cards. TVS Racing’s Jagan Kumar (148 points), eyeing his seventh title, enjoys a healthy lead over team-mate KY Ahamed (128). Honda Ten10 rider, Rajiv Sethu, has much work to do as he trails Ahamed by 23 points.
The two races this weekend in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc category will also be closely watched. As many as four are riders in contention for the title. Leading the pack is Hyderabad’s Satyanarayana Raju (119 points), just ahead of his Gusto Racing team-mate Amarnath Menon (118) from Kozhikode. Behind the duo are Chennai’s Prabhu Arunagiri of Team Alisha Abdullah (114) and Hyderabad’s Peddu Sriharsha (91) of Sparks Racing.
Likewise, it is a four-pronged battle for the title in the Pro-Stock 165cc category where Bengaluru-based Anish Shetty (131 points) of Honda Ten10 Racing leads, ahead of Chennai’s Kevin Kannan (115, Rockers Racing). Not far behind the two leaders are Coimbatore’s Senthil Kumar (106, Honda Ten10 Racing) and Hyderabad’s Rahil Pilarishetty (94, Sparks Racing).
The National Championship for girls has been dominated by Chennai riders Ann Jennifer (Sparks Racing) who won three of the four races for a tally of 75 points, Shruthi Nagarajan (Apex Racing Academy) with 63, and Ryhana Bee (Sparks Racing) with 55.