Navi Mumbai: Slush, gravel, steep inclines, hairpin bends and occasional rain made it a perfect off-road outing that saw Aprilia SR150 dominate the 28th Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally in the backwoods Navi Mumbai on Sunday.
Rank outsider Venkatesh Shetty of Lorraine’s Racing, riding an Aprilia SR150, overcame a strong field that included a host of former champions and tough conditions to emerge triumphant in the popular two-wheeler time trial.
In a field of 54 riders, the Mumbai rider, rode judiciously over the dirt tracts to win the gruelling 35-km rally in a timing of 25 minutes and 15 seconds in penalties.
In the process he left former champions Syed Asif Ali, Shamim Khan, Rustom Patel, Manjeet Singh Bassan and Avtar Singh in the cold.
Pune’s Pinkesh Thakkar of Team Ceat, also riding an Aprilia SR 150, was second in 25 minutes 43 seconds and defending champion Syed Asif Ali of TVS Racing, astride a TVS 4SXR 150, third in 25:44.
“The event was very good. We enjoyed it a lot. It was full of water logs.
“On the first loop there was some difficulty. I faced one truck just in front of me, but then on the second loop I finished with a better time. Till the third loop we started enjoying the water logs which were there on the entire track,” said Syed Asif Ali.
“It was a great experience. I have had a good experience riding my new TVS 4SXR 150. We have launched the scooter in this rally only. It gives me good traction and is developed only for racing,” he added.
Nashik’s Shamim Khan, who was looking to win the event for the fourth time, finished fourth astride an Aprilia SR 150 in 25:55, while Erimal Shekharan of Team Ceat, astride an Aprilia SR 150, was placed fifth in 25:56.
Heavy rain over the last few days and on the day of the event made riding on the gravel-laden, winding course dicey. For the record, only 49 of the 54 riders completed the race.