Chennai, September 23: Rajiv Sethu successfully led a Honda assault on TVS Racing’s supremacy to score a brilliant victory over defending champion Jagan Kumar in the premier Super Sport Indian 165cc class as the fourth round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship concluded at the MMRT, here on Sunday.
The victory notwithstanding, Jagan, the TVS Racing team’s spearhead, garnered crucial 18 points for his second-place finish today that consolidated his position at the top of the championship table with a tally of 148 ahead of team-mate KY Ahamed (128), winner of the first race yesterday and who finished fourth behind Honda Ten10 Racing’s Mathana Kumar in the second outing today.
The other highlight of the day was the grand double by Prabhu Arunagiri (Team Alisha Abdullah) in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc category which is set for a grandstand finish in the final round in December. Only five points separate the top three – Satyanarayana Raju of Gusto Racing (119), team-mate Amarnath Menon (118) and Arunagiri (114).
Hyderabad’s 19-year old collegian Karthik Mateti (Sparks Racing) chalked up a dominating win in the Novice (Stock 165cc) race to take a 16-point lead in the championship. Another rider from Hyderabad, 20-year old Rahil Pillari Shetty, also from Sparks Racing, followed suit with a season’s maiden win in the highly competitive Pro-Stock 165cc category where Bengaluru-based techie Anish Shetty (Honda Ten10 Racing), who finished second today, continues to head the leaderboard with 131 points to Kevin Kannan’s (Rockers Racing) 115.
The focus today was on the Super Sport race which turned out to be Hitchcockian thriller with pole-sitter Sethu and Jagan playing the lead roles. Sethu lost his track position early in the first lap with gearing problem which allowed Jagan to move into the front. However, Sethu, who had finished fifth in yesterday’s Race 1 after a crash, fought back to regain the lead midway through the eight-lap race and then hung on grimly to score his third win of the season. Jagan was just one-tenth of a second adrift at the finish, but well ahead of Mathana Kumar who held off Ahamed.
“At Turn-3 in the first lap, the gears tended to slip and I had to firmly put my foot down on the pedal to avoid any more slippage. Jagan went past me, but later, I managed to pass him on the straight. Thereafter, it was a close fight and I had a scary moment in the penultimate lap when I almost lost balance in the Bridge Complex, but managed to hold it together for the win,” said Sethu.
Jagan said: “I did my best and pushed the bike to its limit, but Rajiv was a bit more quicker. He overtook me on the straight and from then on, I just could not catch him.”
The Pro-Stock 301-400cc race saw another dominant performance by Arunagiri who set a scorching pace from the start to win from Raju and Rahil Pillari Shetty (Sparks Racing). In a repeat of yesterday’s Race-1, Arunagiri kept increasing his lead with every lap while behind him, Raju strove manfully to catch up, but failed. Further down the grid, Menon, who led the championship going into this weekend’s Round 4, came in a distant fifth behind Peddu Sriharsha (Sparks Racing).
Varun Sobhan (Cherthala) won the Yamaha-MMSC One-Make Championship race comfortably, ahead of Abhimanyu Gautam (Jind, Haryana) and Sanjay Kumar (Coimbatore).
The results (Provisional):
Super Sport Indian 165cc (Race-2, 8 laps): 1. Rajiv Sethu (Honda Ten 10 Racing) (15mins, 32.320secs); 2. Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) (15:32.450); 3. S Mathana Kumar (Honda Ten 10 Racing) (15:37.725).
Pro-Stock 301-400cc (Race-2, 8 laps): 1. Prabhu Arunagiri (Team Alisha Abdulla) (15:24.129); 2. Satyanarayana Raju (Gusto Racing) (15:24.706); 3. Rahil Pillari Shetty (Sparks Racing) 15:34.637).
Pro-Stock 165cc (Race-2, 8 laps): 1. Rahil PIllari Shetty (Sparks Racing) (16:09.127); 2. Anish Shetty (Honda Ten 10 Racing) (16:14.615); 3. Senthil Kumar (Honda Ten 10 Racing) (16:14.851).
Novice (Stock, 165cc) 6 laps: 1. Karthik Mateti (Sparks Racing) (13:00.950); 2. Varun Sobhan (Speed Up Racing) (13:03.720); 3. Venkatesan I (pvt. Chennai) (13:05.622).
Yamaha-MMSC One-Make Championship (Novice, Race-2, 6 laps): 1. Varun Sobhan (Cherthala) (13:12.040); 2. Abhimanyu Gautam (Jind) (13:15.887); 3.Sanjay Kumar (Coimbatore) (13: 17.760).