‘Things in drag racing are getting exciting now’

Sanjay Jadhav
Monday, 30 April 2018

In India drag racing is probably the only motorsport which connects someone who is either driving or riding on the road with racing. No motorsport has such a connect. — Rongom Mukerji

PUNE: It was three days of pure quarter-mile action as drag racers took to the airstrip on their drag-ready bikes and cars as the sixth edition of Valley Run concluded at the Aamby Valley airstrip recently. 

Considering the legal issues which are going on at Aamby Valley, the organisers put up the event in flat 21 days and managed to pull off a successful event.

Sakal Times caught up with Rongom Mukerji, Director Elite Octane Pvt Ltd who spoke about the event and the future of the sport.

“When you do something out of passion, you don’t really start thinking about numbers from the beginning. That is the difference between a business and a passion drive venture. What I had striven to do in 2013, I think we have achieved a lot of progress as in the sixth edition we have got all the brands, who have come onboard,” said Mukerji.

Internationally, the brands do not recognise drag racing and do not support it. But in India, it is a different scene. Here drag racing is probably the only motorsport which connects someone who is either driving or riding on the road with racing. I don’t think that any motorsport has such a connect. That is why it is the T20 of motorsports. It has been quite a journey. Things in drag racing are getting exciting now,” Mukerji expressed.

Asked about his views whether the event would come a long way, Mukherjee was quick to say “When we started, I was like lets do it once and see but then it is an addiction. Once I did it. I had to do it again. And once the participants joined me, the base just kept growing.”

To a question how Elite Octane managed to put the event together in 21 days? Mukerji quickly added: “Aamby Valley is under the Supreme Court receiver so we had filed for an application wherein we had stated that 45 days minimum to give everyone some time, actually even 45 days is not enough. If you have a supercar or any vehicle for that matter, to tune it up, get it drag spec ready, it takes time. So when the court receiver said that either you do it or you don’t, everybody came together, and we went ahead and did the event. I thought that the participation would have been much lesser because of the time but I was proved wrong. It was a herculean task to get the Supreme Court approval. Hopefully they would too realise that what the entire event entails, the duration is required to make it better. The sixth edition was too much pressure.”

Adding further Mukerji said “For any sport to get its due, you need to commercialise it a lot and that aspect has now started trickling in because of which the brands have taken notice and come onboard.

“It is a task specially because drag strip production as per the federation norms, safety and other aspects, it requires a lot of effort, expense and budget. We can only keep getting better at it from here on. In the next edition I am hopeful of team participation and team point systems.”

“We are doing it on airstrips as we believe that it is the best tarmac you can get and no road tarmac can be compared to the airstrip tarmac. Till now Aamby Valley is still the biggest, the entire atmosphere and scenic beauty combined makes it worth,” Mukerji concluded.

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