KOLHAPUR: Without helmets, they are just regular kids. Once they put them on, they turn into ruthless competitors. Children aged as young as seven, rocketing at an average speed of 75kmph, turned the Mohite Racing Academy located in the city outskirts into a fierce battleground on Saturday.
The 13th JK Tyre FMSCI National Rotax Karting Championship entered its fifth and final round, with a few drivers grabbing eyeballs owing to their stupendous show in the heats.
Defending champions in Micro Max (age between 7 to 12) and Senior Max (aged 16 and above) categories grabbed pole positions for the biggest race-day of the championship that will take place on Sunday. Shahan Ali Mohsin (Meco Racing), all of 12, is also the Asian Karting champion in the Micro Max category, becoming the first Indian to do so after clinching the title in Malaysia earlier this month.
In a chat with Express, he revealed a lot about himself. “I love motorsport more than any other sport in the whole world, including cricket, which seems to be a craze everywhere,” Mohsin said.
He moved around the track with relative ease — with the only challenger being Aadityansh K (Rayo Racing) — and clocked the fastest lap (57.505s) on the 1.4km circuit.
It has been four years since Mohsin started racing, and he has enjoyed the support of his family. “My father knows more about karting than me. He even knows the details of engine mechanics,” the Agra lad said, whose father is a businessman.
The student of Delhi Public School often misses classes and sometimes important exams due to his motorsport commitments, but he said that his mother and teachers always figure out a way to not let his speed thrill affect the studies. The Fernando Alonso fan and the points-table topper praised the track. “There are a lot of fast corners. This is a very technical track and you need to be very fit to sustain the pressure it causes on the body.”
Meanwhile, Ricky Donison (BPC Racing), who grabbed pole with the best lap timing of 51.320s in the Senior Max category, had a peculiar thing to say about the track. “Among all the tracks I've raced on, this is the only one where the speed of the kart increases as the tyres get old.”
Chirag Ghorpade (BPC Racing) raced to the top in the Junior Max (age between 13 to 16) category. His fastest lap was 51.945s.