Despite the chaos caused by Cyclone Hudhudh, the National Karting Championship finale stuck with Vishakapatnam as the venue where champions were crowned.
“India should have more karting tracks, not big F1 circuits, so that more kids come into racing and then you will see an increase in the number of quality drivers coming out of here.’’
Those are the words of Jackie Stewart, a three time Formula 1 world champion. Having dominated the sport in late 60s and early 70s and later taken a role of a pundit and a team boss, Stewart exactly knows what a country needs to do to nurture its racing talent.
For India to have its very own Schumacher, Fangio, or Senna, motorsport must grow at grass root level in the country. After all, karting is the first step in the long progressive ladder that one needs to take to become a professional.
Fortunately, India has its very own karting championship, accredited by FMSCI and sponsored by JK Tyre, to breed the aspiring racing drivers in this country.
The National Karting Championship - now in its 11th running - concluded at the bumpy V1 Karting track in Visakhapatnam. Hills and beach provided a perfect backdrop.
The Cyclone Hudhud delayed the event by a month but it did little to dampen the spirits of the young guns - as low as nine years - to complete their ambitious dreams.
Bangalore’s Yash Aradhya won the Micro Max category at a tender age of 11 after taking his fourth win of the season. He held off his rivals like a pro on the 800m track, not willing to relinquish his lead in any circumstances whatsoever.
Moving up the ladder, competition heats up, as we saw in the 13-16 years Junior Max category. Kush Mani, the younger brother of this year’s British F4 runner up Arjun, blasted past Bangalore’s Ricky Donison with a brilliant manoeuvre to take the top step on the podium in the final race of the season. Donison, however, had more reasons to celebrate as the second place was enough to seal the title.
Bafna’s Second Crown
Coming into the Senior Max category of racing, Mumbai’s Ameya Bafna took the drivers crown despite a relatively low key result at the season finale. In the pre-final race, he finished third while in the final race he was content with a fourth place result.
Instead it was Chittesh Mandody who stole the limelight with a second place result in pre-finale and a dominant victory in the final race of the weekend. The Kolhapur born driver behaved maturely when mechanics rushed on the grid to fix an apparent problem with his car. And in this team sport, he duly returned the favour with a clear victory for Mohite Racing.
While the first ever event at Vizag went according to plan, there’s still some room for improvement. The track surface eroded slightly at turn 1, sending pieces of asphalt over some journalists who were keen to follow the action trackside.
For the drivers though, it has done its job. The lucky few can graduate to various series across the country, with JK Tyre Racing Championship and the MRF Championship the most logical options.