We qualify for the third edition of the TVS Young Media Racer Programme at the MMRT race track in Chennai.
Story: Zal Cursetji
Photography: TVS Racing
TVS Motor Company is a unique motorcycle company in India. I say this with no intention to fluff up the story I’m am writing about, but indeed have a point. TVS have been the first and, for many years, the only Indian motorcycle manufacturers to carry out a large chunk of their research and development on the racetrack. This includes valuable R&D from feedback received even in the midst of an ongoing race. Racing runs deep in the company’s blood which started way back in 1982. Well, somewhat.
A few years ago, TVS Racing introduced their Young Media Racer Programme, a four-race championship for media professionals like yours truly to get an idea of what racing a motorcycle feels like. This year saw the Young Media Racer Programme 3.0 selection round kick off at the MMRT track in Chennai, with 19 competitors vying for the 15 final grid spots available.
All of us journos had an early start and were taxied to the track for the day’s briefing. It was lively, filled with humour, and introductions to the TVS Racing team were made. Balakrishnan started off the proceedings followed by a few words from Pradeep, both of whom gave us an introduction to the programme, TVS’ racing history, and basic track etiquette. We were then introduced to our track instructors, national racer K Y Ahmed, Jagan Kumar, and our classroom instructor Harry Sylvester. We were segregated into two groups, which would swap between track time and classroom sessions. The sessions covered throttle control, braking, racing lines, body position, and a race-start exercise that advised us on the best way to get going once the lights went out.
After lunch, we prepared ourselves for the final qualifying lap for the 15 spots on the grid up for grabs. Motorcycles prepared, riders fed and eager, sun out, timing device activated, and off we went. Well, five at a time. The process would be a warm-up lap followed by three laps to set one’s fastest time and a last sighting lap at the end of which we’d enter the pit-lane. Our time was noted and then sit back and wait for the final results.
With a time of 2:28.320, I managed to qualify; however, a fair bit of improvement would be needed before any silverware could be brought home. The first round will be held at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore and will be run alongside the FMSCI National Championship. The championship will also visit MMRT in Chennai and the Buddh International Circuit for the remaining races.
For the TVS Young Media Racer Programme 3.0, all participants ride the same machine: a modified version of the TVS Apache RTR200 4V. A great motorcycle for many of us first-timers with its excellent handling and decent engine that’s quick enough to keep us focused and engaged.
A big thank you to TVS Racing and their entire team. Piyush handled the logistics and itinerary for all of us and continues to remain extremely helpful. Robin, Kartik, and the rest of the team including the aforementioned members were all extremely friendly. TVS Racing also provided us with the necessary gear such as racing suits, boots, protectors, and gloves. Kari Motor Speedway awaits and we shall keep you updated on all the happenings.
Take a look at our picture gallery below for a few more visuals of the event.