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Thread: A brief history of (motorcycle racing standard) time - Part 2

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    46 Post(s)
    1 Thread(s)

    Default A brief history of (motorcycle racing standard) time - Part 2

    Part 1 was a brief account of motorcycle racing internationally. When it comes to India, the sport has not developed as much as it has in some other countries. But the history of motorcycle racing in India also goes quite far back. Now, not a lot of that history is documented but there are some people who are willing to acquaint one with it. One of those people is G Subash Chandra Bose or Bullet Bose as he is fondly known. There cannot be a better person to go to than someone who dominated motorcycle racing here in India, in all of his 4 decade log career from the late 1960s to mid-1990s.

    Bose sir started racing in 1967, dominated motorcycle racing in the country till he voluntarily retired in 1994. Such was the scale of his dominance that he won 2 MICO Rolling Trophies. This trophy was awarded to a racer who won for 3 consecutive years and he won two! Another example of his dominance would be the fact that he won every race between 1974 and 1994, he never came in the second place but the first, every time!

    At the time when Bose sir was still a young lad, Sholavaram was the place, if not THE place for motorsport action in India. As told by Bose sir, every first Sunday of the month of February was a RACING day in Chennai. All the roads lead to Sholavaram and the fever ran so high that the city bus service had special buses to and from the race track in Sholavaram which was some 25 kms from the city of Chennai. Even the rickshaw pullers were aware of these races at Sholavaram! It was rather surprising to know of such craze for motosport in our country and that too in the 1960s.

    Sholavaram was an abandoned World War II airfield. When it was turned into a track for racing, what came out was a T-shaped track. It had the runs marked by bales of hay, which also served as run-off barriers. The concrete surface, paved for aircrafts, gave respectable grip for racing but cross-winds were a challenge, even more so at race speeds. And since racing was such a rage, it had to have viewer stands, which were made out of bamboo poles. According to Bose sir, the crowd would swell to 50,000 or more in the heyday of racing there! The track was host to all kinds of races, from cars to mopeds to scooters to 100 Bhp motorcycles like the Yamaha TZ 350.

    Bose sir also has the distinction of having built and raced the fastest moped in the country. His TVS XL 49cc moped would top out at a speed of 115 kmph! He told us about a race at the Juhu Airfield in Mumbai, where due to shortage of time, it came down to a race between 100cc bikes, scooters and mopeds. It was a 6-lap race and the bikes were right in front followed by scooters and mopeds respectively. Bose sir took the checkered flag on his 49cc moped! Bose sir used to race on the Yamaha TZ 350 which went up to 240 kmph, when he rode it of course. He also told us about the camaraderie amongst the passionate ones and holds it in sheer contrast with the cut-throat competitiveness of today.

    About the TZ 350 that Bose sir rode, it was another legend in the history of Indian Motorsport who offered to get Bose sir the TZ 350, S Karivardhan. He was (and still is) regarded as the pioneer of Indian motorsport. Kari Motor Speedway, inaugurated in 2003, is the racetrack located in Chettipalayam, Coimbatore which is named after him. A part of that track was used as a runway for the power gliders from the ultralight aviation company owned by S Karivardhan. He played an instrumental role in the development of the motorsport scene in the country with the introduction of Formula Maruti.

    But in between the heyday of Sholavaram and the inauguration of Kari Motor Speedway, there is a lot of history. Sholavaram was in use for racing from 1952. But the subsequent testing of tanks and misuse by locals, the track deteriorated quickly. The love for motorsport in the region had already led to the formation of the MMSC (Madras Motor Sports Club) in the 1950s itself. So when the club was not able to get an extension on the lease at Sholavaram, the club acquired 200 acres of land in Irungattukottai near Sriperambudur. Gopal Madhavan was given the responsibility of building the track which, to date, serves as one of the staples of motorsport in India. The track was made to be fit for racing all categories of motorcycles and cars upto Formula 3. The FIA & FIM certified circuit was completed in 1990 and was recently resurfaced in 2017.

    This might be a jump in the timeline but since we are discussing racetracks, we thought we’d cover the Buddh International Circuit with the others. Inaugurated on 18th of October 2011, this track located in Greater Noida, has been the host to the Formula One Indian Grand Prix for 3 years, 2011, 2012 and 2013. But the track has not seen any international action since. From a motorcycling point of view, the track was to be a venue for four seasons of WSBK starting in 2013, but unfortunately, it never happened.

    Despite some stellar names shining bright in the history of motorsport, especially motorcycle racing, in India, the sport itself has not grown as much as others like Cricket. But the situation is not as desolate as it seems. With the three tracks in India, we have seen a lot of newcomers taking it to the track and rising up the ranks. The manufacturers and OEMs have done their part in this department.

    The numerous one make championships, the national championships and the efforts of FMSCI together, has given rise to people like Simran King, Rajini Krishnan, Sandesh Prasannakumar, KP Aravind to name a few. These people have represented India on the international stage and made our country proud. With the efforts of all these people, we are sure that when somewhere down the line we cover the history of motorcycle racing in India again, it will be even more rich and vivid than it is now.

    Last edited by xBhp; 04-25-2019 at 09:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Madikeri , Kodagu (Coorg).
    4 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: A brief history of (motorcycle racing standard) time - Part 2

    A snap of Mr Bose being honored for his achievements at the first IBW held at Goa in 2013.

    Name:  DSCF2824.jpg
Views: 139
Size:  106.2 KB

    Not to forget there was a very serious motocross championship run in the 90's with the likes of Shyam Kothari ,Barguje and many talented riders whose names i have forgotten with imported motocross 250 cc bikes like the Kawasaki KX,Suzuki RM and Honda CR's . The scene changed with the success of the 'fill it ,shut it and forget it ' era of the Hero Honda CD 100.
    Yamaha RX 135 5 Speed - 2000 -(current)
    Yamaha R15 v1 - 2009 - 2016 ( Sold )
    Yamaha R3 - 2015 - (current)

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