CHENNAI: The Madras Motor Racing Track was reverberating on Friday as 65 racers from eight countries (from Asia-Oceania regions) took part in three practice sessions ahead of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship this weekend. But out of 65 racers, only two were Indians.
Though India is not known for producing top-class racers, the fact that only two are representing the country in the event speaks a lot about the state of motor sports in the country. Funding and infrastructure problems still continue to exist.
However, the Honda Racing Factory is doing their bit to support young racers. “Till 2017, we have been creating awareness about the sport and now, we are developing motor sport culture with a talent hunt. As of now the platform is set for the youngsters. In the future, we want Indian rider to race in Moto 2 and Moto3,” Honda Racing Factory vice-president Prabhu Nagaraj said.
Anish Shetty and Rajiv Sethu who will compete in the AP250 class couldn’t be more excited as they are gearing up for the fourth leg of the continental event. But their journey so far has not been very smooth.
Anish, who will be participating in the international circuit for the first time said that convincing Indian parents is a bigger problem in racing than money and infrastructure. “I started racing three years ago. Initially, even my parents were worried when I told them that I wanted to take up the sport. It took a couple of months to convince them. Initially, I didn’t find proper tracks to practice and now also when MMRT is not available, I practice on a go-karting track in my city,” he told Express.
However, Rajiv, who was with Honda racing factory since 2014, was optimistic about the development of racing culture in India. “With a good number of racing enthusiasts coming up to enroll for the talent hunt, I see a good future for this sport in our country. When I started motor racing, the scenario was totally different. There were no proper facilities and money. Even if you win a national level tournament, it was not considered to be a big deal,” the 20-year-old said.