R Natraj back to what he does best as season opens

Sports Reporter
Saturday, 28 April 2018

Aishwarya Pissay top contender in 5-women field as National 2W Rally C’ship begins

Pune: Defending champion R Natraj of Team TVS Racing will lead a 55-strong field including six ladies in the season-opening Rally Of Baroda in the MRF MoGrip FMSCI National 2-wheeler Rally Championship on Sunday.

The two-wheeler rally season gets going here with Gujarat hosting the season opener for second year in a row with 12 riders from Baroda adding strength to the field.

“The record number of entries received proves that a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts are now turning their riding passion into racing which is a very encouraging for the sport,” said Shyam Kothari, Director of Godspeed Racing, the promoters of the championship.

“It is encouraging that a Pune-based Aprilia Racing is taking part as a team, though with a single rider—Pinkesh Thakkar,” said Amit Waghchoure of AW Events, who are organising the first four rounds of the Championship. 

The remaining two rounds of the championship will be held in South in the later part of the year.

Next week, the championship will move to Indore for the second round (May 5-6) and Pune will witness the third round scheduled on May 19-20 and Nashik will play host to fourth and final round in the western region, on May 25-27.

“Last year there were 35 participants, while this year the number has crossed the 50 mark which is a good sign for two-wheeler rally, which is gaining popularity in Gujarat,” said Waghchoure, who successfully introduced two wheeler rallying in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh last year.

After the ceremonial start on Saturday, the rally riders will take the field on Sunday to kick-start the season that promises to be as thrilling as last year.

The Rally of Baroda is being co-organised by Erda’s Speedway Racing and Adventure Sports & Team Baroda Racing.

While Pinkesh is from Pune and now riding for Aprilia, he will have fellow Pune rider Amrender Sathe for company, while there are three riders from Nashik—Kaustubh M, Nitesh Thakare and Hiten Thakkar.

TVS Racing will be led by Natraj as usual in absence of Abdul Waheed Tanweer, who got injured during the second round of National Supercross Championship in Goa, while scooter champion Asif Ali and Shamim Khan will also make up TVS Racing’s charge.

“Rallying is getting popular because of the thrill it offers. Also we have introduced high safety standards and immaculate planning of the event,” said Waghchoure.

Hotel Comfort Inn DONIL is the hospitality partner of this event, while Centre Square Mall will host the ceremonial start and Tri Color Hospital is the Medical Partner. The championship powered by TVS Apache and Indian Oil SERVO.

The rally will commence from Jarod Village and has a course of 75-km in four competitive stages of 50 kilometres. 

Aishwarya top contender
- TVS Racing’s Aishwarya Pissay, who is the defending Ladies champion, will led a 5-women field in Rally of Baroda. Gurmail Kaur, Fazeela, Khushboo Pandya and Richa Patel make up the ladies field, which is increasingly becoming popular.
- Last year there were four entries in the special ladies category, this year the number has increased by two, which reflects that rallying is gaining popularity among ladies despite this being a male dominated sport.

Rally categories:
Class 1    (Superbike ProExpert)
Class 1A    (Superbike ProExpert-A)
Class 2    (SuperSport 130B)
Class 3    (SuperSport 165B)
Class 4    (SuperSport 260B)
Class 5    (SuperSport 400B)
Class 6    (Sper Sport 550B)
Class 7    (Scooter)
Class 8    (Ladies)
Class 9    (Locals)

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