Think about it, how would you feel if you were told to drop whatever you are doing and instead drive an F3 racer flat out. And, don’t break it. And, try not to look like a fool, too. That’s what I felt like as I waited for my turn to ride Mahindra’s Moto3 racer. How hard can it be? As it turned out, plenty.
I was supposed to do one out-lap, two flying laps and one in-lap. It was over before I knew it. On a bike you need to be at least three steps ahead if you want to get what you want. But with this Mahindra Moto3, it just wasn’t possible. In the saddle, any previous experience of riding a motorcycle on a race track was of little help. Everything felt alien. The way the bike steered and braked, precisely and immediately, was mind numbing. The bike would tip into corners so quickly that it almost felt like it was falling down.
The 250cc race bred single accelerated with the vehemence of a much bigger bike. Accelerating down the straights wasn’t easy either. Going by the burst of speed I felt like rolling off the gas and going on the brakes half way down the straight. Aside from that, the seating position was a bit tight and the upside down gearbox took some getting used to. And, only a portion of the Silverstone circuit was used, which was all new to me. Continued..
With just four laps of riding, my shoulders started to ache, my neck felt sore and my brain felt numb. That, however, didn’t stop me from hopping on for another go on the Moto3 machine. I found some confidence in the machine and its immense abilities. I had a better feel for the brakes, so I braked later down the straights. To exploit the light handling, I tried to take more aggressive lines, which resulted in a more natural flow through corners.
This time there was a small smile playing inside the helmet. I knew I was nowhere near getting to terms with the Mahindra Moto3 machine and all of its intricacies, but progress was being made. As I handed the bike back to the Mahindra Racing crew in the pitlane, I yearned for more. However, racing prototypes have other things to do than to just help people upgrade their riding skills. Right now they must be in Switzerland preparing for the next race and that elusive podium position.