I strongly believe the best experiences in life are the ones that go uncaptured. I was reminded of this when I went through the footage from Race 2 of the Young Media Racer Championship. Despite there being over half a dozen cameras, there wasn’t a single shot of the battle I fought to earn 7th place, except for the one you see above. Yes, I wasn’t at the front of the pack, but let me assure you that there were a number of dramatic moments that would have made for great TV. Nonetheless, those heart-racing 12min and 33sec will forever be imprinted in my memory and here’s my chance to document it.
TVS ensured we had the full racing experience!
Formation lap to minute 3
Racetracks can be quite intimidating the first time you go there. This becomes a lot less the second time around, where you stay unfazed by the cameras, crowds and loud motorcycles. That said, a race start will most certainly make any beginner to racing, a nervous wreck. With a best lap time of 2:25.242, I was starting in position 8/12, and while that doesn’t sound like a great place to be in, I was a happy man because I was a significant 10sec faster in qualifying than in the previous round just five months ago. Despite being less intimidated, my nerves got the better of me and I jumped the start. I had moved 3ft ahead but some quick thinking made me bring back the bike just into the grid position before the lights went off. My start was decent, but not the best it could have been. I stayed in 8th place on lap one until I saw a cloud of dirt on C8 and a bunch of riders slowing down all of a sudden. Race leader Manav Sinha had lost his front and gone tumbling into the dirt. I tried my best to remain unaffected by that sight, but my instinct got the better of me and I began going easier on the race-spec RTR 200. Luckily for me though, I was racing with a bunch of other beginners who were equally unsettled.
Minute 3 to 6
With unflinching determination, I pushed the motorcycle to my limits, but it was in lap two when Alameen Merchant, who was in front of me in 6th place, began pulling away. He was a second quicker than me in qualifying, but I thought I would be able to keep up during the race. However, he was the better rider and by the time we entered lap three, he was nearly out of my sight. It struck me that it was his late braking that gave him the edge, but we were already at the end of lap three and it was too
late to catch him.
Minute 6 to 9
Since I wasn’t moving forward in positions, I was determined to at least not move backwards. Neil Nair, however, had other plans; he overtook me on the second last lap, making full use of the huge weight advantage he had over me. But I didn’t let him gain room and I stuck to his tail throughout. There were instances where both of us knew that we were riding to our limits and we entered the final lap in the same positions.
Look where you want to go or else...
Minute 9 to 12.33
The final lap was where things got really sketchy. I had decided to literally pull a fast one on Neil at the scary C1 and passed him from the inside without letting off the throttle. I was carrying speed that I wasn’t comfortable with, but the joy of getting back my position was well worth the risk. I went fishtailing on the brakes into C2 and carried the same pace in to C3. Now, this is where things got a bit crazy. I leaned the bike into C3, going a lot quicker than before, and ended up scraping my toe slider to the extent that it flew off. Rattled by the sensation, I stupidly looked towards this object flying away from my bike, and this was mid-corner – I went straight into the grass, and both, Neil and Divyank Bansal (who was behind him) passed me.
I chose not to give up and got back on the throttle and quickly caught up with both of them by C7. It was on the straight after that where I was lining up a move on Divyank for position 8. Neil wasn’t too far away either and he knew that both of us were right up his tail. I made my move and was side by side with Divyank approaching C8, where Neil overshot the braking point and went off while I overtook Divyank from the inside. I had just gained both the positions I had lost only a few corners ago and there was no way I was going to let go of it. I crossed the line in an embarrassing 7th place in a class that isn’t even considered real by the national level racers, but I felt like I had just won a MotoGP race.
Jokes aside, after Race 2, I went home a much quicker rider and put to practice the life lessons I learned, like perseverance and bravery. Thank you, TVS Racing.
Not quite there: TVS Young Media Race 1