“The political situation with JK Tyre and MRF is horrible at the moment,” a prominent figure in Indian motor sport told autoX at the Kari Motor Speedway.
There certainly was no denying that if you bothered enough to pay attention to such behind the scene matters. One would be forgiven for thinking that trouble with India’s most high profile motor race and that at the domestic front are linked given the timing.
And yet even amidst all the political wrangling that goes on behind the scenes there is no doubting the fact that Indian motor sport on the domestic level now has two proper ‘wings and slicks’ racing car series.
And both the JK Tyre and MRF camps can undeniably say they have given talented drivers a means with which to get good, competitive track time. Two of those talents, have impressed in particular given their limited track time and jump from karting to formula racing.
Defending senior national karting champion Ameya Bafna scored a podium in his first weekend of formula racing in the JK Racing Asia Series that feature the Formula BMW machines that did duty in the erstwhile series’ Asia Pacific category.
At the opening round of the JK Tyre Racing Championship at Coimbatore’s Kari Motor Speedway, the 19-year-old from Mumbai managed to improve steadily enough to score a third place finish in the third and final race of the weekend. The more experienced Vishnu Prasad and the vastly more experienced Akhil Khushlani were out of reach, by and large, but Bafna had done enough to show what he was truly capable of.
Over in the MRF Formula Ford 1600 series, which forms a part of the National Racing Championship, 15-year-old Tarun Reddy highlighted his steady improvement over the course of the first two rounds at Coimbatore and Chennai.
Reddy, who was a finalist in Sahara Force India’s ‘One in a billion’ hunt crashed two cars as he struggled to adapt his racing style to that of a formula car. Coaching from former British Formula 3 racer Rupert Svendsen-Cook was processed in what seemed like a heartbeat, however. And Reddy started putting pressure on the more experienced Yuudai Jinkawa and Ashwin Sundar at the second round in Chennai.
A podium in race one and a win in race two signaled the arrival of another kart-to-racing talent. Especially when you consider the experienced (now 24-years-old) Ashwin Sundar was clearly rattled by having Reddy breathing down his neck.
Both drivers still have a long road ahead of them, especially as the path to every racer’s dream (F1) is not exactly smooth.
But at least the both of India’s two important motor sport backers have reasons to be proud. As does the entire racing fraternity.