Harpal Singh Bedi
Chennai: Bengaluru schoolboy Shreyas Hareesh (Rockers Racing) raced to lights-to-flag victory, his first, in the Novice (Stock 165cc) category, National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Madras International Circuit, here on Saturday.
Meanwhile, KY Ahamed led a 1-2-3 finish for Petronas TVS Racing team in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open category while Pacer Yamaha enjoyed a double podium with Prabhu Arunagiri taking a win and team-mate Mathana Kumar finishing third behind Idemitsu Honda SK69 Racing’s Rajiv Sethu in the Pro-Stock 165cc Open race.
Ahamed, Deepak Ravikumar and Jagan Kumar came home in that order in the premier Pro-Stock 301-400cc category with defending champion Rajini Krishnan (RACR Castrol Power1) limping home in seventh place after losing the gear shift lever in the second lap and the engine stuck in fifth gear.
The race itself fell flat after Ahamed, starting from pole position, opened a sizable gap ahead of Ravikumar and Jagan Kumar, and Rajini Krishnan fading from the contest, and the rest of the pack unable to match the pace of the front-runners.
Later, in the Pro-Stock 165cc Open category race, Prabhu Arunagiri snatched a dramatic win, closely followed by Sethu and Mathana Kumar. The trio crossed the finish line almost locked together after championship leader Mathana Kumar conceded his track position in the last lap, running wide at Turn-11, to fall from first to third.
The race was reduced to five laps due to a delayed start with pole-sitter KY Ahamed (Petronas TVS Racing) starting from the pit-lane.
Earlier, 12-year old Shreyas, a sixth standard student of Kensri School in Bengaluru, started from P3 on the grid, but was in the lead even before Turn-1 and then hung on to notch his maiden win in the category. It was his first outing in the Novice class this season, having skipped the previous three rounds.
Shreyas, weighing only 31Kgs, showed consistent pace over six laps to win from Axor Sparks Racing pair of Rohan R from Coimbatore and Mumbai’s Kayan Zubin Patel. Finishing fourth was pole-sitter and championship leader Sarvesh Balappa (Axor Sparks Racing) from Hubballi.
“I made some mistakes,” was all that Shreyas said after the win, referring to a marginally slower last lap that resulted in a tight finish while almost negating the comfortable lead he had enjoyed until then.