The Gixxer Cup finale saw a lot of tight racing and chasing at the Buddh International Circuit.
Joseph Matthew of Coimbatore warded-off a spirited challenge from the defending champion Sachin Chaudhary, of Ahmedabad, to clinch the 2017 Suzuki Gixxer Cup Championship. For the final round of this year’s Suzuki Gixxer Cup championship, the added incentive for the racers was an opportunity to test their mettle against the continent’s best racers on the common grid for two races with the participants of Asia Cup of Road Racing. India’s Sai Rahil Pillarisetty took the top spot in both the races. Pillarisetty, however, had to dig deep to hold on to his top spot in the second race as Japan’s Miu Nakahara ran him close, finishing just 0.19 seconds adrift.
In the Suzuki Gixxer Cup, having entered the Round 4 with 56 out of a possible 60 points in the previous 3 rounds, Matthew reaped dividends of his previously consistent performances to stake claim to this year’s championship. Despite Chaudhary winning both the races at the Buddh International Circuit and collecting a 20-point haul, the 8-points earned by Joseph in Race 1 from a second-place finish gave him enough of a buffer to claim the title.
Chaudhary had earlier won the first race ahead of Matthew by 0.321 seconds. Such close margins were par for the course in the Gixxer Cup races throughout the weekend, even when one rider made a break from the chasing pack. It led to the closest racing of the weekend where up to four riders challenged for the lead at times. And the midfield was one enormous swarm of up to eight riders, at times, who duked it out for a place in the top five.
As compared to the tight confines of the Kari Motor Speedway at Coimbatore, the Buddh International Circuit gave the riders a lot more width, long straights and fast corners with which to follow each other in close quarters. In other words, a lot of slipstreaming fun that kept everyone entertained.
In the Asia Cup Road Racing, racers are exposed to different environments, as they compete on unfamiliar tracks in the unfamiliar country on bikes they have never ridden before. The races are conducted in two-person teams where they pair-up with riders they normally battle within their national championships. Besides enabling them to test themselves against leading riders in other Asian countries the championship also provides the perfect grooming ground to prepare for their future international careers as they have to adapt to new languages, food and weather conditions while dealing with new racing challenges.