BENGALURU: Hundreds of citizens paid their respects to 13-year-old motorcycle racing prodigy Shreyas Hareesh, also known as the Bengaluru Kid, following his untimely death on Saturday.
Over 500 people joined Shreyas’ funeral procession in Bengaluru on Monday, where he was cremated in Hebbal. “It is a very unfortunate incident and his loss is certainly a loss to the entire nation. He became interested in racing, following in the footsteps of his father and, as a racer, I was taken aback at his prowess in the sport,” Ganesh Prasad, a fellow biker and close friend of Hareesh’s family, told TNIE.
Ganesh compared Shreyas to Marc Márquez, another prolific MotoGP racer, who inspired Shreyas and influenced his riding style. Described as a wonderkid and a prodigy in his field, Shreyas was the first ever champion at the FIM Mini Grand Prix (GP) India. He went on to represent India in Spain late last year, at the FIM MiniGP World Series, coming in the fifth place.
“There is little to no representation for India at the Grand Prix, which is why Shreyas going so far is such a big deal. He was a prodigy and the way he rode with such precision was incredible. I was at the race during the crash, and in previous races too. Every time, he always had a second to a second and a half lead on his competitors, which was no small feat,” Prasad told TNIE.
Shreyas was involved in a crash where he suffered a fatal head injury taking part in Round 3 of the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Madras International Circuit (MMRT) in Irungattukottai, Chennai. He was later declared dead on arrival at a local hospital. “His bike had skidded, throwing him off. The third or forth racer had hit him from behind, shattering his helmet on impact.
Shreyas was an incredible racer, it was remarkable as to how good he was,” Prasad said. He said it was a common sight to see kids as young as 11 years old start their career. “Similar to most sport professions, racers also begin at a young age and build their way up. It doesn’t make sense to start at age 19, the world of racing itself is incredibly competitive that way,” he said.A resident of Sahakar Nagar, Shreyas was studying in Class 8 at Kensri School. He is survived by his parents and older sister.