Natraj, Rajendra duel on cards in MRF Godspeed Rally of Pune

SPORTS REPORTER
Saturday, 19 May 2018

Double header in Western Maharashtra as Pune, Nashik play hosts

PUNE: TVS Racing riders R Natraj and Rajendra RE will go into the third round as hot contenders on their RTR rally spec bikes as the outback of Velhe near the temple town of Bhimashankar got ready for the MRF MoGrip FMSCI National two-wheeler rally championship which will take place here on Sunday.

The two are leading the overall standings after two rounds and given the way they have performed this season it will be interesting to see what really happens in Velhe around the Panshet dam area that was the venue last year too when Rajendra bested Natraj.

Natraj will be keen to extend his championship lead, which currently stands at 50. 

His teammate Rajendra is placed second overall with 36 points, while privateer from Suhail Ahmed from Bengaluru is third with 30.

Last year Natraj had struggled in the rugged terrain surrounding the Panshet dam on his powerful TVS RTR 450FX, while Rajendra had grabbed the opportunity.

There are record 60 entries in nine different categories including those for the Locals class. Scooter class will be another important attraction as local driver from Team Aprilia Racing, Pinkesh Thakkar, would like to continue his winning run as e did in Indore beating TVS Racing’s Syed Asif Ali.

In the ladies class, Aishwarya Pissay of TVS Racing stands clear leader with 50 points and should finish the Pune rally unscathed.

The national championship riders got went through the paces on Friday before the recce and ceremonial start scheduled on Saturday at Pingara Resort ahead of the Western Maharashtra’s double header. Given that an event of such magnitude is happening in Velhe again after it was first hosted in 2017, there is immense curiosity among the locals.

POINTS: (After 2 rounds)
Top 5:
Class 1 (Superbike ProExpert): 1. R Nataraj (TVS Racing, RTR 450FX) (25, 25) 50 pts.
Class 1A (Superbike ProExpert-A): 1. Jatin Jain (Nagpur, Husqvarna FE450) (25, 25) 50; 2. Vishwas SD (Bengaluru, Yamaha WR250) (18, 0) 18; 3. Jeevan Gowthalli (Chikamagalur, Husqvarna FE450) (0, 18) 18.
Class 2 (Super Sport 130B): 1. Vignesh M (Coimbatore, Yamaha YBX) (15, 25) 40; 2. Jose Sabastian (Kochi, Gladiator) (18, 18) 36; 3. Vipul K Prajapati (Vadodara, Gladiator) (12, 15) 27; 4. Rakesh Kumar V (Bengaluru, Yamaha YBX) (25, 0) 25; 5. Kaustubh Machhe (Nashik, Yamaha YBX) (10, 12) 22.
Class 3 (Super Sport 165B): 1. Sachin D (Bengaluru, Hero Impulse) (25, 18) 43; 2. Imran Pasha (TVS Racing, TVS RTR 160) (10, 25) 35; 3. V Trinesh (Bengaluru, Hero Impulse) (18, 8) 26; 4. Sabarish R (Coimbatore, Hero Impulse) (15, 10) 25; 5. Francis PV (Chikamagalur, Hero Impulse) (12,12) 24.
Class 4 (Super Sport 260B): 1. Rajendra RE (TVS Racing, RTR200) (25, 25) 50; 2. Suhail Ahmed (Bengaluru,TVS RTR 200) (18, 18) 36; 3. Samuel Jacob (TVS Racing, RTR200) (15, 15) 30; 4. Shekharan Erimal (Raigad, Yamaha FZ250) (12, 12) 24; 5. Sharath Kumar (Bengaluru, Hero Karizma) (10, 10) 20.
Class 5 (Super Sport 400B): 1. Venu Rameshkumar (Coimbatore, KTM Duke 390) (25, 25) 50; 2. Veerendra Vaghela (Ahmedabad, KTM Duke 390) (18, 0) 18.
Class 6 (Super Sport 550B): 1. Vineet Sharma (Indore, Himalayan) (25, 25) 50; 2. Nilesh Thakare (Nashik, Himalayan) (12, 18) 3. Santhosh Kour (Chikamagalur, Himalayan) (8, 15) 23; 4. Arsad Maniyar (Vadodara, Himalayan (18, 0) 18; 5. Sumesh Reddiar (Bengaluru, Himalayan) (6, 12) 18.
Class 7 (Scooter): 1. Pinkesh Thakkar (Aprilia Racing, Aprilia SR150) (18, 25) 43; 2. Syed Asif Ali (TVS Racing, TVS Wego) (25, 15) 40; 3. Zeeshan Sayed (Thane, Aprilia SR150) (12, 18) 30; 4. Venkatesh Shetty (Mumbai, Aprilia SR150) (15, 0) 15; 5. Amarendra Sathe (Pune, Aprilia SR150) (10, 0) 10.
Class 8 (Ladies): 1. Aishwarya Pissay (TVS Racing, TVS RTR 200 4V) (25, 25) 50; 2. Fazeela (Palakkad, Hero Impulse) (18, 15) 33; 3. Gurmail Kaur (Vadodara, Hero Impulse) (15, 18) 23; 4. Richa Patel (Vadodara, Hero Impulse) (12, 12) 24; 5. Khushbu Pandya (Vadodara, Hero Impulse) (10, 0) 10.
Overall: 1. R Natraj 50; 2. Rajendra RE 36; 3. Suhail Ahmed 30; 4. Samuel Jacob 20; 5. Sachin D 20.

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