Be it racing, or be it riding - everything on two wheels is fun yet a scary affair. The risk involved is traded with the skills and awareness we possess. Easy to quote this, right? But, but, but - every aspiring racer or even rider starts with small steps and the ambiguity of crashes and failing always remains prevalent. And that’s where the benefit of getting into training school comes in handy. I am privileged enough to be a part of TVS’s annual Young Media Racer Program, wherein they train and select journos and auto influencers.
TVS Motors, which has been in racing since 1982, is currently taking a step above in India and abroad with its engineering prowess on its Apache series of motorcycles. Race-spec Apache RTR200 has been put to use, wherein the maximum weight reduction has been achieved with the use of custom exhaust. Being a race-spec - the headlight and tail lamp are covered. It gets track-focused super grippy tyres from TVS Eurogrip. And yes, you can steal the bike easily, as you just need to play with the Kill Switch to ON the ignition.
The day starts with training all the participants with the basics of track riding, wherein Harry Sylvester, a former TVS Racing rider, briefs out about racing flags, basic etiquettes and Dos and Don’ts. This year a total of 31 participants were called, so two batches were made, which further got subdivided to ensure enough attention was given to each participant. Every theory season on body positioning, racing lines, braking etc., used to be followed by a practical practice season on the track.
And now is THE time wherein all participants put their learning, willingness and strength to the test to qualify for the entire racing season. This year, auto influencers were pro enough to crush the dreams of not-so-pro journos, and this is what exactly happened wherein the experienced participants dominated the qualifications, thus resulting in tough competition among experienced racers and a one-sided battle among the rest of the others. But racing is the fight to push your limit to get the better out of you, and this is the only mantra I lived by on the track.
Yes, I crashed once and went out of track twice. But still managed to put me at risk to get the best out of myself. Things were scary, especially for a so-called newbie racer like me. But…… I ain’t among the ones to give up soon and thus managed to get into the top 16 among 31 other participants, unlocking a year full of track racing opportunities.
I learned a lot and failed a lot to hopefully be an even more fast rider.