2024 TVS Young Media Race Program 8.0: Sink or Swim

I swear, my biggest hope going into this year’s TVS Young Media Racer Program 8.0 was just to qualify. Instead, I walked away with the fastest time out of 39 riders. However, I am far from relaxed and the pressure of staying on top has just begun.

By Karan Mathur | on June 12, 2024 Follow us on Autox Google News

If you’re expecting a Disney-like beginning to this story, where I’d tell you how I’ve never raced before or have something to prove to myself, I’m sorry to disappoint. All I wanted to do was beat the other participants and rub their faces in it. The truth is, I’ve raced before, and all of my races have been part of national championships, no less. Now, I’m just a journalist, and that’s all I’ve ever been. 

Participants of 2024 TVS Young Media Race Program 8.0

With that in mind, imagine yourself in my shoes during my initial race experiences – a 25-year-old with sporadic experience on fast motorcycles, limited knowledge of riding fast, and almost no track techniques. I was hurled headfirst into the world of motorcycle racing to compete against a pack of dedicated and professional racers who were younger, fitter, and fiercely hungry to win as if their careers depended on it (which they did).

2024 TVS Young Media Race Program 8.0

However, over time, I’ve gained knowledge, skills, and experience to get a lot faster. So, when I got the opportunity to compete against my peers with similar levels of experience at the TVS OMC Young Media Racer, you better believe I was hungry too.

The staging ground for the event was the recently-christened Madras International Circuit, where a group of journalists had gathered to be selected for a series of races, which would take place as part of the One Make Championship weekends. Now, this year’s YMRP event was bigger in two major ways – participants and safety. 

Also Read: 2023 TVS Young Media Racer Program: The Lights Go Out!

Participants of 2024 TVS Young Media Race Program 8.0

First, this year saw the biggest turnout in the event’s history, with a total participation of 39 riders of varying skill levels. To accommodate everyone and create a level playing field, we were split into batches, which unfortunately meant less track time for each of us. Second, safety measures were significantly enhanced – not only had TVS mandated wearing FIM-certified helmets but also the use of motorcycle airbags, which were provided in the form of the Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 vest.

The day began with classroom training, followed by on-track training focussing on motorcycle posture, racing lines, and braking / race starts. After this, we were given a 15-minute track session, which combined both practice and qualification. No pressure, right? Originally planned as two separate sessions, they were combined due to time delays. Here’s how it worked – the idea was to go out on the track and set the fastest lap you could, which would determine your entry into this year’s program. While the training was short and practice was limited, I did learn the race lines and gear selection for each corner. During the training session, I‘d started taking mental notes of these two factors, which, ironically, were meant to teach us something completely different.

As the day went by, it quickly became clear that the biggest challenge would be dealing with the heat. By the time I went out for my final session of the day, I was completely drained. Yet I decided to push as hard as I could before my body gave out. My first plan of attack was to overtake the slower riders in front of me before I could start pushing flat out. Once I had some breathing space, I shifted my focus to nailing my lines and gear selection, just as I had practised. 

Also Read: TVS Young Media Racer Programme Round 2 – Victory!

Karan Mathur in 2024 TVS Young Media Race Program 8.0

But soon, I could feel myself losing focus, struggling to place the bike where I wanted, and as a result, I was losing time. During all this, there was only one question on my mind – ‘Are any of my times fast enough?’ As it turned out, they were – not just fast enough, but the fastest of all participants. I managed to clock 2:21.594. 

Also Read: First-ever TVS ARE GP Cup Successfully Concludes at Madras International Circuit

While I was proud of this achievement, I couldn’t help but realise that the real journey to stay on top had just begun. So, the question remains – will I sink under pressure or swim towards glory? We’ll find out next month!

Tags: TVS TVS Young Media Racer Program TVS Racing TVS Media Racer

Write your Comment

Please tell us your city. This allows us to provide relevant content for you.