We headed to the MMRT in Chennai to take part in a media race alongside the final races of the recently concluded KTM RC Cup.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
Spending a weekend at the racetrack is always an exciting affair. This time I got to swing my leg over the new KTM RC 390 (GP Edition) at the MMRT in Chennai. A media race allowed us journalists to get a first-hand experience of the KTM RC Cup championship. There were a group of 16 (journalists and influencers combined) this time. On Saturday, we had two practice sessions of 20 minutes each. It has been a while since I have ridden at the MMRT, so I took it easy as I headed out, but the bike was really easy to get up to speed with.
The bikes running in the championship are stock units with only a few minor changes for added safety on the track. With the quick-shifter, it is now easy to shift through the gearbox. Compared to the previous-gen model, the ergonomics are more relaxed and facilitate more movement which is helpful while tackling corners.
As I got to grips with the bike, it was time to figure out where I could make up time and find some pace. I did feel like I had improved a little bit by the end of the second session but was a little disappointed when I saw myself in P12 on the list. It was time to get to work and make use of all the track time the next day.
On Sunday, the pre-race jitters obviously kicked in but it was good to know we had one more practice session before qualifying and, finally, the race itself. I made full use of the practice session and improved a little compared to the previous day. Even though all of us were battling on track to get the best times, we also helped one another figure out where the mistakes were being made and how they could be corrected. The qualifying session is when you go all in to secure that grid position and, after a few flying laps, I managed to qualify in P8. Not a great result but better than the previous day for sure.
As the lights went out for the start of the five-lap race, I did not get the best start but managed to retain P8 before the first corner. With a fellow journalist making a mistake ahead at the C3, two of us got through and this promoted me to P7. Soon thereafter, I was able to make an overtake coming down the main straight and going into C1. After this, I was able to put some distance in between the two of us and occupied P6 for the next few laps.
At the end of the fourth lap, however, I made a costly mistake that allowed two riders to catch up and swoop through C10, although only one got through and this put me back into P7 where I finally crossed the finish-line with my personal best lap-time of the race: 2.11.774. Not the most impressive timing but I did get to learn a lot, so that is always a plus.
Over this race weekend, we got some much-needed track-time and, astride the KTM RC 390, it was a real hoot; so, thanks to KTM India for having us over to participate in this race. To top it all, it was an honour to have the former MotoGP rider, Jeremy McWilliams, who is the race director for this championship, handing each of us our certificates. KTM India will assess the 2023 championship and soon announce whether this will be made an annual event.
Leave a Reply