Girls title for Lani Zena Fernandez
Vignesh Goud tops in Novice class
Though he was denied a ninth-straight win, Rajiv Sethu, the 25-year-old from Chennai, crowned himself champion in the premier Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open category on debut as the fifth and final round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship 2023 concluded at the Madras International Circuit.
Also clinching the National titles were: Hyderabad’s Vignesh Goud of Race’ists Motorcycle Club (Novice - Stock 165cc) and Puducherry’s Lani Zena Fernandez of RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimate (Girls - Stock 165cc). The championship standings in the Pro-Stock 165cc Open category were not declared pending settlement of a disputed result in Round 4.
Pro-Stock 301-400cc Open class:
Sethu from RACR Castrol Power 1 Ultimate effectively sealed the championship in the very first race with his win-spree as he extended his lead to 97 points with one more race to be run on the final day and 25 points on offer. Hyderabad’s Rahil Pillarisetty from KTM Gusto Racing and TVS Petronas Racing’s KY Ahamed finished a distant second and third, respectively, after being outpaced in the four-lapper, reduced from scheduled six following a red flag stoppage. Meanwhile, pole-sitter Sarthak Chavan from Petronas TVS Racing retired due to engine issues on the out lap and did not take the start.
Even as Sethu, nursing an injured left shoulder, delivered a third-straight rider championship to his team, RACR Castrol Power1, it was the young Pune rider Sarthak Chavan, the 16-year-old from the Petronas TVS Racing stable scripted a stirring win after starting from P17. He passed a flagging Sethu on the last lap for the biggest victory of his blossoming National championship career.
Finishing second behind Sarthak was his team-mate, the16-year-old Bengalurean Chiranth Vishwanath, after a good move on Sethu who settled for a third place. The P3 did not matter for Sethu as he had already taken an unbeatable lead in the points table going into the race.
Pro-Stock 165cc Open :
The day’s big surprise result came in race1 that saw 22-year-old Senthil Kumar taking victory despite starting from P8 on the grid. He was running third towards the fag end of the six-lap race after some big names, including two Pacer Yamaha riders Prabhu Arunagiri and Mathana Kumar, besides Petronas TVS Racing’s KY Ahamed and Jagan Kumar, had dropped out of contention due to various reasons.
Chasing two teenagers from the Petronas TVS Racing team, Sarthak and Chiranth Vishwanath, the Coimbatore rider, whose last win in the National championship was in 2018 in the Novice category, suddenly found himself in front as the two youngsters tangled and crashed at the last corner of the last lap. However, both rejoined the race. Chiranth was docked a 10-second penalty for "causing an avoidable collision" and it dropped him to sixth while Sarthak moved up a spot to third behind Senthil Kumar and Bengaluru’s Ullas Santrupt Nanda.
Sethu finished the season by winning the race2 in style despite starting from P10, with Sarthak and Chiranth coming in second and third, respectively. The race was reduced to five laps following a crash leading to a red flag and re-start. Both the rider and team championship was not declared due to pending enquiry.
Novice (Stock 165cc) category :
Savion Sabu finally took his first win of the season after a series of podium finishes, in the highly-competitive race that had a grid of 23 riders.
Starting from P5 on the grid, Savion cut through the front-runners by the end of Lap-1, building up a sizable lead that kept increasing as the race progressed. The Bengalurean eventually won by the proverbial country mile ahead of fast-finishing Chennai teenager Abdul Basim from Gulf Rockers Racing who made considerable ground after a poor start from pole position. Another Bengalurean, Manvith Reddy from RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimate completed the podium.
“Today, I was determined to win the race after having finished second or third in the previous outings. I pushed hard initially and did not look back. I wasn’t sure how far behind the rest of the riders were until I turned back after crossing the finish line,” said the teenager.
Meanwhile, in race2 Bengaluru’s Savion Sabu gave a rousing finish to his season by achieving a double, but his winning burst did not stop Vignesh Goud from clinching the championship in this category. Kaushik Subbiah Ganesan from AS Motorsports finished second and Vadodara rider Aadit Shah from Axor Sparks Racing finished third.
Lani Zena Fernandez also finished the season on a victorious note, winning the Girls (Stock 165cc) race with ease. The race was reduced to three laps from the scheduled five following a stoppage due to pile-up in the very first lap and was re-started. It was her fourth win in nine starts. Nadine Faith Balaji from Alpha Racing and her teammate Adlin Seles both finished a distinct second and third respectively.
Support Race – 301-400cc Novice:
Aldrin Babu from Thrissur representing RACR Castrol Power1 Ultimatewas the winner followed by Rajeswaran K from Chennai representing KTM Gusto Racing, Rohith Prasad from Mandya representing PRN Motorsports finished third.
Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup:
Chennai’s Kavin Quintal scored his sixth win in eight races to assure himself of the title in the NSF 250 Open category going into Sunday’s final race of the season. Another Chennai youngster, Rakshith Dave finished second ahead of Belagavi’s Vivek Rohit Kapadia in the six-lap race.
In Race-2 it was Kavin Quintal on top followed by Johann Reeves Emmanuel also from Chennai in second and Mohsin P from Mallapuram finished third.
Petronas TVS One-Make Championship:
Open (301-400cc, RR 310):
Race1:Bengaluru’s Chiranth Vishwanath virtually clinched the title in the Open (RR310) category with his fifth win. Chiranth held off a strong challenge from Coimbatore’s Senthil Kumar C while Romario John from Chennai was placed third.
In race2 Bengaluru’s Chiranth Vishwanath notched up his sixth win in nine starts holding off Romario John finishing second and G Balaji in third.
TVS E Motorcycle Time Attack:
Sarthak Chavan from Pune clocked the fastest lap in the Time Attack, posting a time of 01min, 47.304secs with a top speed of 186 Kmph. Chiranth Vishwanath from Bengaluru was second quickest in 01:48.066 doing a speed of 179.8 Kmph, while former Moto3 rider from Japan, Hiroki Ono was third best in 01:49.116 (196.8 Kmph).
Chennai girl Nadine Faith Balaji took the honours in the Girls Apache RTR 200 race for her first win that moved her to second spot behind Bengaluru’s Nithila Das on the championship table. Nithila, with three wins, emerged champion despite not participating in the final round. Coimbatore’s Aisvariya V finished third behind Pune’s Saimah Baig in today’s race.
Media (Apache RTR):
Race-1 top three finished in the same second as Joel Kolathoor Raju from Thane was the winner followed by Alshin K Thomas from Pune in second as Ananya Awasthi also from Pune finished third. In Race-2 Alshin K Thomas was the winner in a photo finish with the second finisher Joel Kolathoor Raju, Punya Prasun Sharma finished third.