Chennai: The MMRT track in Sriperumbudur near here, celebrating its silver jubilee year, will witness the country’s biggest two-wheeler racing extravaganza as the third round of the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship begins on Thursday.
For the first time four two-wheeler manufacturers — Suzuki, Honda, TVS and Yamaha — will be supporting a motorsport event in India with over 150 riders, including the country’s leading racers of proven international credentials like Rajini Krishnan, Jagan Kumar and Sarath Kumar.
The organisers, Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC), have lined up as many as 20 races which will be run on Saturday and Sunday while the preceding two days are set aside for practice and qualifying sessions.
The ever increasing number of entries with every round reflects the widening spread of two-wheeler racing with entries received from Hyderabad, Patna, Ranchi, Aizawl, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kerala, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Pondicherry and Trichy.
While the National Championship comprises three categories in the high-end Group B (165cc) Open, Group D (165cc) Novice and Group C (165cc) Open, the One Make Championship will see Yamaha, Honda and TVS having their own races with Suzuki running the Gixxer Cup competition.
Races in the Group B class will be one of the highlights of the weekend since this category that allows full modification has the cream of the country’s top riders. Veteran Rajini Krishnan of Moto-Rev Yamaha Racing enjoys a 10-point lead over the TVS Racing duo of Jagan Kumar and Harry Sylvester, followed by Ten10 Racing’s Sarath Kumar (27).
The Group D (165cc) Novice category has leaders Vishwadev Muraleedharan (Sparks Racing) and Kannan K. (Moto-Rev Yamaha Racing) tied on 50 points apiece while in Group C (165cc) Open Ananth Raj P. (Kingdom Racing India) heads the table with 73, ahead of Mathana Kumar (Ten10 Racing) who has 68.
Prolap Racing’s Sumit Lucas Toppo from Ranchi enjoyed a fine outing the previous round, winning both the races in the Honda CBR 250 (Open) category, ahead of Ten10 Racing pair of Sarath Kumar and Harikrishnan R. for a 14-point advantage, while only eight points separate the top four in the Honda CBR 150 (Novice) class with Sivanesan S. (37) in the lead.
Amarnath K. Menon and Vishwadev Muraleedharan are locked in a tight battle in the Suzuki Gixxer Cup (Novice) with just four points separating them, while Abhishek Vasudev leads in the Open class.
Yamaha and TVS missed the previous two rounds, but have attracted sizeable entries while offering the promise of exciting wheel-to-wheel racing.