Chennai, 21 Sept. 2017: Shankar Sarath Kumar and Rajiv Sethu of team RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten10 are India’s sole full-season riders in the Super Sports 600cc and Asia Production 250cc classes respectively as Asian Road Racing Championship returns to the Madras Motorsports Race Track here on Friday.
The three-day event will witness World-class and heart-stopping action after a four-year interval as the premier Road Racing Championship in Asia boasts of the cream of the region’s two-wheeler racing talent competing across the three categories of Super Sports 600cc, Unberbone 150cc and Asia Production 250cc.
Riders from Australia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Chinese-Taipei, besides the two Chennai-based Indians are in the fray for the fifth round of the championship.
The ARRC field includes a clutch of riders with exposure at the World championship level and contesting in the SuperSports 600cc, Asia Production 250cc and the Underbone 150cc classes. Also on the weekend card are double-header support races in the Honda CBR 250 (Open) and TVS Apache 200 (Open) categories.
MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “We once again welcome the Asia Road Racing Championship fraternity to Chennai, the spiritual home of Indian motorsport. We last hosted the ARRC at the MMRT four years ago and it is our privilege to yet again present the cream of Asia’s two-wheeler racing talent some of which have excelled at the World level.
“It has always been MMSC’s philosophy and tradition to organize and promote the sport at all levels. This year, we introduced a separate category for Girls in the two-wheeler National championship and we are happy that it evoked good response. So, hosting the ARRC has been a natural progression for us at the MMSC.
“We at the MMSC have also striven to attract two-wheeler manufacturers and our efforts have resulted in India’s top brands such as Honda, Suzuki, TVS, Yamaha, KTM, Bajaj and Royal Enfield, participating in our events in one form or other.”
Reflecting on his chances, 24-year old Sarath Kumar said:
“Obviously, I am very excited to be racing on my home track and in front of our fans. The expectations will be high and that adds to the pressure, but quite inspiring.
“More importantly, thanks to all the hard work that MMSC officials have put in, we as riders can be proud of an international class paddock. The track conditions too are superb and I am hoping for a dry weekend without rains, but that is something nobody can control.
“As for my realistic target, it is to get my lap time under 1:46 (one minute, 46 seconds) which will get me closer to the front bunch of riders. The 600cc field is very strong and has plenty of experienced riders with World Championship exposure. So, you can expect a very high level of competition.
“Compared to last season when I was recovering from a knee injury, I am in better physical condition this year and am able to push more. My pace has improved, but the big problem is that I do not get any track time on the 600cc bike between races or pre-season.
“Here in the National championship, I ride the 250cc bike and so, when I get to the ARRC, I have to adapt to the bigger machine. It takes time and lot of effort. The progress can be a bit slow. However, this weekend, I will do my very best to deliver a good result.”
Rajiv Sethu, 18, said: “It has been a learning process for me in the ARRC this season. I have been improving with every outing and this weekend, I want to do better than my previous best finish of 16.
“The competition in the 250cc class is extremely tough with many riders capable of winning. The conditions here at the MMRT are excellent, and we can expect high quality racing.
“My goal is to stay with the leading bunch, and racing on my home track, I do not want to disappoint the fans. I have been in good form in the ongoing National championship and I hope to carry that form into this weekend.”