KOCHI: He kicks up a storm on the track winning laurels, but Koonammavu native and motorcycle racer Noldin Thomas is finding going tough due to indifference towards motorsports in Kerala. Though a national champion in FMSCI Indian National Rally Sprint Championship 2019 (up to 130 cc category), this racer’s sporting career hangs in balance, with little or no support from authorities.
“This is an expensive sport. Besides travelling all over the country for the races, which are almost always held in North Indian states, one has to spend on training, fitness and gear that are very costly. With authorities and people paying scant regard to the sport in Kerala, I am not sure whether I can do it for another year,” says Noldin who has always been a motorcycle enthusiast. While he had been doing bike stunts since 2007, Noldin began riding in rallies in 2018. “It took me a while to realise how great the whole circuit is. While there are only five or six racers from Kerala taking part in FMSCI-recognised events, there is a huge talent pool here. We have racers from other states, all prepped up, saying how Malayalis outsmart them. Sadly, we don’t have even the basic facilities,” says Noldin.
Last year, Noldin became the national champion at the FMSCI Indian National Rally Sprint Championship 2019, clearing six rounds, coming first in four rounds and second in two. “Very few events are held in Kerala. We have to take the motorcycles to these places. These machines cannot be used on normal roads. So, riding them to the race venue is out of question. Taking it all over India itself costs a lot. With no sponsorship, we are fighting a losing battle,” says Noldin.
While racers from other states use the break between championships to train and improve their fitness, Noldin has to find other jobs to keep going. “Such is the awareness on motorsports in Kerala that not even my neighbours realise this is like any other sport which needs rigorous training and diet. I had saved some money which was spent last year. If I don’t find a sponsor, I will have to hang up my boots,” said Noldin.
However, he doesn’t forget to thank Team Four Strokz, a garage based in Palarivattom, for its help. “It is the effort of people like Aneesh Kumar, the tuner, which kept me going. I had also been fortunate to get help from Copy Tech India too. I wish more people realised the significance of motorsports in India,” says Noldin.