Chennai: Nearly 100 entrants will line up on various grids in the fourth round of the MMSC-FMSCI Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship that gets underway on Saturday at the MMRT track, celebrating its silver jubilee year. The busy weekend will see as many as 20 races spread over Saturday and Sunday.
The National Championship is headlined by the premium Group B (Open) class besides Group C (Open) and the ever-popular Group D (Novice) which has never failed to attract big numbers.
Also in the racing mix are the One-Make Championship involving India’s top two-wheeler manufacturers, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and TVS, which have provided a viable and affordable platform for young aspirants whose numbers have been growing with each round.
Suzuki made an entry into racing this season with the Gixxer Cup (Open and Novice) while Honda have two categories, the CBR 250 and CBR 150, as also TVS, fielding the Apache RTR 160 and Yamaha with their R15.
The Group B class which has the best of Indian talent and riders with international honours, has dished out quality competition as just seven points separate the top three on the leaderboard, Harry Sylvester of TVS Racing (69), Rajini Krishnan of Moto-Rev Yamaha Racing (68) and Jagan Kumar, also of TVS Racing (62).
Behind the trio is another rider with international exposure, Ten10 Racing’s Sarath Kumar, who, despite just one podium finish in four outings, has been showing definite signs of catching up with the front-runners on his Honda which is still a work in progress.
Sarath, however, is having a better run in the Honda One Make Championship where he heads the CBR 250 class with 86 points following a double in the previous round while Chennai’s Sivanesan (80), who has two wins to his credit, leads the Honda CBR 150 category.
In Group C (Open) class, Ananth Raj of Kingdom Racing India team with 95 points, enjoys a comfortable lead over his nearest rival Sumit Lucas Toppo of Prolap Racing (73) while Shyam Shankar of Thunderbolt Racing (71) and Mathana Kumar of Ten10 Racing (68), the only rider with two wins, are within striking distance of the leading duo.
Kannan K. of Moto-Rev Yamaha Racing is ahead in the Group D (Novice) class with 62 points, only one ahead of Aravind B. of United Tech Racing. Ranged behind the leaders are Privateer Shane Thompson (57) and Sparks Racing’s Vishwadev Muraleedharan (50) who had started well with a double in the first round but went without a point in the next two.
With three wins apiece, Vishwadev Muraleedharan (119) and Amarnath Menon (117) are in a tight race for honours in the Suzuki Gixxer Cup (Novice) while Ananth Raj (106) and Abhishek Vasudev (94.5) are sitting pretty in the Open class.
TVS and Yamaha returned to the One-Make Championship only in the previous round. K.Y. Ahmed and Akhand Pratap Singh achieved a double each in the TVS Open and Novice categories, respectively while Mithun Kumar (Open) and Kannan K. (Novice) moved into early lead in the Yamaha series after the first round.