Motorsports is something we Indians as masses have never found too attachment to. In a country that is so obsessed with cricket as the only sport which is given a status equal to a religion, it is naturally very hard for other kind of sport to find its ground in the nation. Yet there are fanatics and praisers of motorsports in the country, the fan base of which is small but strong enough for the sustainability of the sport in the nation.
Talking about motorsports, though there is a much larger fan base of formula 1 and other car sports in the country, but the same can’t be said for the two wheeled motorsports. The arena of motorcycle races and bike racing championships is still a very niche territory, which isn’t explored to the fullest.
But thanks to the arising knowledge and awareness of this kind of motorsport in the country, different major bike manufacturers have now started to take this notion quite seriously. In the recent years, there have been several one make racing championships in the country which have made the enthusiasts believe that there is still some hope for them regarding this particular motorsport.
In this feature story, we are throwing some light on the four most popular one make racing championships organized by different bike makers in the country, which have given both the budding as well as expert racers in the country platforms to show and nurture their talent and skills. Kudos to these four bike manufacturers for taking such a bold and unconventional move of promoting motorsports for bikes in a country, which is obsessed with only economy when it comes to motorcycles. All these four one make racing championships are well recognized and authorized by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and are organized in the most comprehensive race tracks of the country.
TVS One make racing
Image Source: TVS Motor Company Facebook Page
TVS is regarded as the one manufacturer which started the culture of one make racing championships in the country, with its coveted arm of ‘TVS Racing’ for all its performance centric activities. In order to enhance the performance of its bikes, TVS laid the foundation stone of TVS Racing in 1987. Since then, the TVS Racing has helped the manufacturer in providing valuable data, design inputs, development of reliable motorcycle models and excellent vehicle dynamics for all its performance oriented racing activities. It also played a key role in the development of its current flagship motorcycle, the Apache RTR 180.
This brings us to its one make racing championship, which it conducts for the riders across the country. Approved by FMSCI, the TVS One Make Racing Championship is conducted every year to bring out the best talent and spirit of motorcycling. Over the past couple of years, the event has been conducted in five rounds, which are simultaneously organized at Madras Motor Race Track, Kari Motor Speedway and Buddh International Circuit.
The TVS One Make Racing Championship consists of two classes or categories – Open and Novice. Both of these categories include two races on heavily customized 4-stroke TVS Apache RTR 180 bikes, details of which will be explained further. For the novice category, riders should be of the age of below 23 years till the date of race and should not have won in any of the erstwhile championship or race conducted anywhere around the world. And for the open category, the age of the riders should be above 23 years and must have a winning title in any one race or championship organized anywhere.
Coming to the eligibility point of view, each and every rider taking part in the competition should possess a valid competition license which is issued by FMSCI. And in case if the competitor is other than the entrant who registered for the championship, he should be an official agent of the entrant and has to obey all the rules charted for the same.
Before the commencement of the TVS One Make Racing Championship, each and every rider is allowed to attend a special training session, who gives their fully filled up entries to MMSC on or before the closing date. The entrants should have complete set of leather riding gear and a DOT/SNELL/ECE approved helmet, and if one doesn’t have any of these, MMSC provides these gears on the first come first served basis.
Coming to the machine for the championship, the TVS Apache RTR 180 used for the race is nowhere close to the street legal version of the same. The lightweight half-faired bodywork, committed ergonomics and bare bones appeal of the motorcycle gives it a true race bike stance. The engine, suspension, brakes, wheels and frame though have been lifted off from the road legal bike, but they too have been heavily tuned up for squeezing out the maximum potential of the motorcycle. As expected, the tyres too are way stickier than the ones used on the street version of the bike.
Yamaha R15 One Make Racing
Yamaha has always shown its commitment in the racing scenarios all over the globe, though it was in 2008, when the Indian arm of the company made its grand debut in the Indian one make racing championship scene with the Yamaha R15 One Make Racing Championship. With this particular championship which is approved by FMSI and promoted by MMSC, the company intends to inculcate the true racing spirit among the Indian biking enthusiasts and aim to take the racing culture to new heights within the country.
In the R15 One Make Racing Championship, the participants are indulged in a series of races, and then they are evaluated on the basis of their performance on the track. Adding the icing to the cake, the best performing riders are also given an opportunity to participate in the Yamaha ASEAN Cup Race, which is conducted by Yamaha for all the South and South East Asian countries in conjunction. Like the TVS One Make Racing Championship, the Yamaha R15 One Make Racing Championship too is conducted in either of the three racing circuits of the country – Madras Motor Race Track, Kari Motor Speedway and Buddh International Circuit.
For this particular Yamaha R15 One Make Racing Championship, Yamaha provides an exclusive Daytona Racing Kit, which pumps up the awesomeness of the stock Yamaha R15 to altogether different level. The bike comes with several add on performance enhancing accessories, like the brake master cylinder with six step adjustable lever, racing camshaft, stainless steel mesh brake hoses for both front and rear brake, front brake caliper support bracket, wave disc rotor at the front, race spec ECU, high throttle kit with throttle angle of 40 degrees, gold painted drive sprocket and drive chain, back step kit and racing exhaust kit. This Daytona Racing Kit will be fitted to the units of Yamaha R15 Version 2.0, which are provided by the organizers and prepared by IYM.
For participating in the championship, the riders need to have a valid driving license authorized by FMSCI. If the rider doesn’t have one, they have the facility to avail the license which will be provided to them on the spot. The safety riding gear, which includes ISI or ISO certified helmet, leather riding suit, riding gloves and riding boots, is a necessary inclusion for the races.
The Championship consists of two classes – Novice, for which the riders should be of the age of below 23 years till the date of race and should not have won in any of the erstwhile championship or race conducted anywhere around the world, and ‘Open’, for which the age of the riders should be above 23 years and must have a winning title in any one race or championship organized anywhere. While a maximum of 60 entries are allowed for the Novice class, a total of 20 entries are permitted for the Open class. There is also a facility of five wild card entries on the date of the race, which are announced on the date of the race through a lucky draw.
Honda One Make Race
Following the footsteps of its arch rival Yamaha, Honda too kickstarted its journey in the world of One Make Races with its special Honda One Make Race Championship in 2008. The event is conducted to strengthen Honda’s Brand image and to promote fun biking culture in the country.
The Honda One Make Race Championship comprises of five rounds, all of which are simultaneously conducted in Madras Motor Race Track and Buddh International Circuit. The Championship is divided into two classes – Honda CBR 150R and Honda CBR 250R. While the Honda CBR 150R class includes two categories, Novice and Open, the CBR 250R includes of only one class – Open. This is somewhat different from all the other one make racing championships, which includes only one motorcycle for both the Novice and Open categories.
For the novice category, riders should be of the age of above 13 years and below 23 years till the date of race and should not have won in any of the erstwhile championship or race conducted anywhere around the world. And for the open category, the age of the riders should be above 23 years and must have a winning title in any one race or championship organized anywhere. For the Honda CBR 150R class, the maximum number of permissible entries is 40, while for the Honda CBR 250R class, the races will be held on the basis to expert riders only, with each team comprising of only six riders. All the bikes used for the championship (CBR 150R and CBR 250R) are heavily tuned with race spec suspension, tyres, brakes, exhaust and several other weight saving measures for the bike.
Open to all the enthusiasts, including the existing customers of the products of Honda, the Honda One Make Race Championship allows only those riders who possess valid license issued by the FMSCI and the proper complete riding gear, comprising of full face helmet, riding suit, riding gloves, guards for knee, elbow and shoulder and riding boots.
In the recent past, the Honda One Make Race Championship has been one perfect platform for all kinds of riders across the country, with the best of them even making their way for the Honda Asia Dream Cup Championship, which is organized for the entire Asia Pacific region. This particular championship, which is organized as per global standards, provides CBR 250R to the riders for all the six rounds of the race. The competition has been a rewarding platform for riders like Sarath Kumar, who are now proving their mettle at more national and international platforms.
Suzuki Gixxer Cup
This is the newest one make racing championship to be organized in the country. Though Suzuki is late to the party, but it has come fully prepared by providing one of the most comprehensive setups for the races. With the Gixxer Cup, Suzuki aims to lay the foundation of Suzuki’s Global Racing Culture in India and promote good sporting spirit and camaraderie while promoting motorsports in one of the largest two wheeler markets in the world, i.e., India.
For the Gixxer Cup, Suzuki has fully utilized the potential of its newly engineered Gixxer platform, which is one of the most awarded platforms in the recent times for its engineering prowess. For all the five rounds of races which this championship, Suzuki provides 20 specially race prepared Gixxer SF motorcycles. The championship is held in conjunction with the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Kari Motor Speedway and Madras Motor Race Track. The final round is concluded in the Mecca of motorsports in India, Buddh International Circuit. The entire championship is conducted as per the rules and regulations of FMSCI.
Compared to the street legal version of the Suzuki Gixxer SF, the race spec Gixxer SF comes with a host of technical enhancements and weight saving measures, which make it much more aerodynamic and performance oriented. The race spec bike comes with racing clip on handlebars, rear set racing footpegs, Megaphone Type racing exhaust, race compound tyres, performance air filter and rear seat cowl. As expected, the race bike ditches the rear view mirrors, rear fender and several other minute components in order to deduce the overall weight of the motorcycle.
Just like all the other one make racing championships held by other manufacturers, the Suzuki Gixxer Cup too comprises of two categories – Novice, for which the riders should be of the age of below 23 years till the date of race and should not have won in any of the erstwhile championship or race conducted anywhere around the world, and ‘Open’, for which the age of the riders should be above 23 years and must have a winning title in any one race or championship organized anywhere. For both the categories, a maximum of 20 entries is what is permitted for the races.
The inaugural season of the Gixxer Cup was recently concluded in Spetember last week, with the ace MotoGP rider Kevin Schwantz.