CHENNAI: Mohamed Mikail will have to wait four more years before he can take his bike on to the road — he’s just 14, after all! But in a couple of months, the Chennai lad will be doing something that most Indian racers, especially those in the two-wheeler scene, can only dream of. He will be racing in an international series abroad. Mikail was the find of the Honda Talent Cup, which was held last year to identify promising young racers. And he proved he had that in oodles! Mikail was the youngest racer in the competition but managed to finish on top of the standings.
His efforts have netted him a drive in the Thai Talent Cup, where he will be joined by 18-year-old Kritik Habib. It was evident that Mikail was meant for the fast lane early on. He took to racing pocket bikes when he was just 10 and even competed in a couple of races in Malaysia. It also helped that his family had a link to the racing fraternity — his uncle Mohammed Haneef used to race cars. “It was a little bit easy for me to get guidance because he knew the basics,” Mikail says.
“I have competed in a couple of pocket bike races in Malaysia before. But the Honda Cup was the first time I was racing proper bikes.” He has his uncle to thank again for that. “It was him who first heard about the Honda initiative and enrolled me in it,” Mikail says.
“My uncle is my biggest support.” His racing career will take him where few 14-year-olds get to go, but it also means that Mikail will be missing out on a lot of experiences that his peers take for granted. While kids his age will be celebrating the summer holidays in a month, Mikail will be going over track data, setting up his bike and undergoing a rigorous fitness regime.
To ensure that all his focus is on his racing career, his parents have even taken him out of school — he is currently being home-schooled. But Mikail is happy with the way things are going for him. He is itching to get his hands on the Honda NSF250 (a machine that Honda has fielded in the Moto3 series) that he will be racing in the Thai Talent Cup. He reckons he will finally be able to start testing the event in April. “I feel excited,” he says. “I haven’t set any targets (for his debut season in the Thai Talent Cup). My first aim is to go learn.”