We are here with the third round of ‘Have a seat, champ’ powered by JK Tyre, Castrol POWER1 Racing, OnePlus and autographix.com in which we talk to the racers who will be participating in the Final Round of JK Tyre National Racing Championship which will be held at the Buddh International Circuit from 16th to 18th November 2018. This time we bring to you the story of Dr. Pushkar Patil from Dandeli, Karnataka. He is a Dental Surgeon residing in Pune since the past 6 years. He runs a page called “Broken Asphalt” on Instagram trying to influence people into safe riding. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation with him.
How did you get into motorcycling?
Automobiles excited me from a very early age but I was always more of a car guy. I got into motorcycling by necessity. I started out as a complete “NOOB” having absolute zero technical and mechanical knowledge. But being “curious” helped. Not knowing something troubles me and that has led to a lot of Google searches and hunt for the right information. It has brought me a long long way.
What has been your biggest achievement in racing so far?
I raced for the first time in the 2017 JK TYRE 1000cc national championship and secured an 8th place in both the races.
Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years as a motorcyclist?
I do regular track days, enduro & trail riding and some minimal touring. I am happy with what I am doing right now and I hope I get to ride in more genres of motorcycling. I have always been a preacher of better riding techniques and importance of quality riding gear and hopefully I will be helping a new guy in getting his knee down for the first time, safely of course.
How are you training/preparing yourself for the JK Tyre Championship?
We are doing track days almost every weekend, there is no substitute for practice. Apart from the same my Pit Team MOTOZONE PERFORMANCE PUNE is busy setting up the motorcycle and trying out some things to see if they would work for me or not.
How do you keep yourself fit, mentally and physically?
I ride motorcycles every day. When I am not track riding I am training on a hill on an adventure motorcycle. The more you ride, the more it becomes a part of your muscle memory. And the more it is inculcated in the muscle memory, the better it is. It lets you have a buffer space in your mind, think of it as a room for error. The idea is to be consistent and make less mistakes.
How important do you think is the JK Tyre championship for motorsports, particularly motorcycle racing in India?
We practice all year round. And JK Tyre championship being the only Superbike championship in India, this is the only race we get to pit ourselves against the nation’s best riders.
What do you think are the most important things to prepare as a racer that one should keep in mind?
Races are different from track days. There are a lot of things that define how you hold up throughout the race, being the fastest guy for 2 laps will get you nowhere. Overtaking techniques, the initial launch, defensive race lines, attack race lines and more. There is a lot more to it than just being the fastest.
Can you please tell us how are you preparing your bike for the JK Tyre championship?
A stock motorcycle you buy from the showroom is made to run on the streets so it takes a lot to make it track worthy. The brakes reach staggering temperatures as you are braking from 250+ kmph to 50kmph within meters. The tires need extreme corner grip. So a stock motorcycle can never be potent enough. Thus it’s very important to make the necessary changes for the motorcycle to be safe on the racetrack. But this can lead to massive expenses as there are always fancy new things to make you go faster. Going splurging on a superbike can get your bank balance to a negative pretty quickly. So how I work with it is I upgrade only if the particular part is having an issue and is hampering my riding.
Which bike will you be riding in the JK Tyre championship and why?
I would be riding my 2017 Yamaha YZF-R1, and as for the question why, in the 2017 championship, out of the top 10 standings, 5 riders were astride the R1. Guess that says it all.
Have you had any crashes while riding and in particular racing? If yes, what did you learn out of it?
Thankfully never have. I am a very calculative rider. I don’t push myself even if I feel a little off with my setup. Crashes hurt and end up being extremely expensive to repair, and I don’t intend to have them. I have my reference points in place and I am consistent with them. I believe mindlessly pushing yourself will only get you so far. For you to have a steady improvement you need to develop skill and solve the things that make you slow step by step. Never let ego enter riding, always compete with yourself first.
What do you think are two biggest issues that are hampering the growth of motorcycling racing in India?
The expense of the track fee, and the lack of racetracks. Especially for us coming from the middle west of India, the closest track is 1500kms, adding to the expenses of flights and logistics.