PUNE: Team TVS Racing extended their grip over the MRF MoGrip FMSCI National two-wheeler rally championship when Rajendra RE scored a comfortable 1 minute 45 seconds win over the championship leader R Natraj in the forested area in Velhe around the backwaters of Panshet dam on Sunday.
Riding a rally-spec TVS RTR 200, Rajendra bested Natraj by completing the three stages measuring 51 kilometres in 44 minutes 50 seconds against 46:35 by the defending champion, who was astride a powerful RTR 450FX bike.
Rajendra took the first stage in 15 minutes 20 seconds, but was faster on other two stages, winning SS2 in 14:50 and SS3 in 14:40, while Natraj, who found it difficult last year too, failed by break below the 15-minute barrier.
The third leg of the championship saw riders burning rubber in the most scenic of the locales MRF Rally has been conducted at this year. The only tarmac rally of the six-legged championship naturally sprung a few surprises as smaller and the stock vehicles took advantage of the high-end bikes going through the 17-km stage taken thrice in the same direction.
Team TVS Racing nonetheless dominated with all the top three positions in overall category taken by its riders-Rajendra followed by Natraj and Samuel Jacob third.
Class 1 meant for Superbike Pro-Expert saw Natraj staying up given that he was lone competitor in the category since his two other teammates-Abdul Waheed Tanweer and Aravind KP-are giving a miss due to different reasons.
Tanweer is recuperating from injury sustained during the second round of the National Supercross championship in Goa, while Aravind is busy with his international riding commitments for TVS Racing ahead of 2019 Dakar Rally.
Nagpur’s Jatin Jain extended his lead in Class 1A, by winning on his Husqvarna FE450 as he beat old timer Badal Doshi of Mumbai by close to a minute, while Yuvraj Patil of Nashik settled for the third position.
PINKESH WINS SCOOTER CLASS
Pune rider Pinkesh Thakkar, riding for Aprilia Racing turned an outright winner on Aprilia SR150 beating Yash Pawar from Nashik, and Venkatesh Shetty from Mumbai, also riding Aprilia SR150, finished third.
In the ladies class, Aishwarya Pissay from TVS Racing won again, but with narrowest of margins of one second over privateer Fazeela AU from Palakkad.
Mayuresh Nimbaklar won the Star of Pune title as he won the Locals class beating Nikhil Kamthe by five seconds.
Overall: 1. Rajendra RE (TVS Racing, RTR200) 44 min 50 secs; 2. R Nataraj (TVS Racing, RTR 450FX) 46:35; 3. Samuel Jacob (TVS Racing, RTR200) 46:43.
Class 1 (Superbike ProExpert): 1. R Nataraj (TVS Racing, RTR 450FX) 46 min 35 sec.
Class 1A (Superbike ProExpert-A): 1. Jatin Jain (Nagpur, Husqvarna FE450) 49:26; 2. Badal Doshi (Mumbai, Honda CRA 450) 50:19; 3. Yuvraj Patil (Nashik, Triumph Tiger 800) 01:01:33.
Class 2 (Super Sport 130B): 1. Jose Sabastian (Kochi, Gladiator) 52:51; 2. Vignesh M (Coimbatore, Yamaha YBX) 53:02; 3. Rakesh Kumar V (Bengaluru, Yamaha YBX) 53:24.
Class 3 (Super Sport 165B): 1. Sabarish R (Coimbatore, Hero Impulse) 47:16; 2. Imran Pasha (TVS Racing, TVS RTR 160) 47:47; 3. Sachin D (Bengaluru, Hero Impulse) 47.56.
Class 4 (Super Sport 260B): 1. Rajendra RE (TVS Racing, RTR200) 44:50; 2. Samuel Jacob (TVS Racing, RTR200) 46:43; 3. Suhail Ahmed (Bengaluru, TVS RTR 200) 47:02.
Class 5 (Super Sport 400B): 1. Venu Rameshkumar (Coimbatore, KTM Duke 390) 52:21; 2. Shaunak Netragaonkar (Pune, KTM Duke 390) 56:33; 3. Jagdish Shirke (Pune, KTM Duke 390) 1:05:39.
Class 6 (Super Sport 550B): 1. Vineet Sharma (Indore, Himalayan) 50:16; 2. Swagat Kandekari (Kolhapur, Enfield Classic 500) 55:23; 3. Nilesh Thakare (Nashik, Himalayan) 55:54.
Class 7 (Scooter): 1. Pinkesh Thakkar (Aprilia Racing, Aprilia SR150) 53:08; 2. Yash Pawar (Nashik, Yamaha Rayz) 55:38; 3. Venkatesh Shetty (Mumbai, Aprilia SR150) 56:57.
Class 8 (Ladies): 1. Aishwarya Pissay (TVS Racing, TVS RTR 200 4V) 56:01; 2. Fazeela AU (Palakkad, Hero Impulse) 56:02.
Class 9 (Locals): 1. Mayuresh Nimbalkar (Hero Impulse) 50:47; 2.Nikhil Kamthe (Hero Impulse) 50:52; 3. Lokesh Bhosale (Hero Impulse) 51:51.