_Much has been said and done after the F1 in India. But what changes did it actually bring to the Motorsport fraternity? Are you one of those who believe only F1 has garnered enough attention from the media? Has the other racing fields given enough attention. Will a common man who is interested in racing in India find it easy to enter the field? I am sure many people in India will be having similar questions, If you also think, Most of the big celebrities related to motorsport fraternity are reading out a script with same answers, Then the best way to find out the truth is to ask a normal racer who has entered the field recently.
Here is a Middle class Indian who is Interested in racing and has picked two wheelers as his chocice of career and he is speaking on few things about racing in India. Meet Mr.Vishnu Gopal.
1. When did you start your racing career?
I started racing back in 2010 on a Yamaha R15 in the Yamaha one make series.
2. What prompted you towards racing?
I always had great interest towards riding motorcycles and learning technical
stuffs related to them since childhood! And of course the fact that India's only race track is hardly twenty kilometers away from my home, gave me the hope of getting into racing one day!
3. Who funded you in your initial career?
My father was the one who supported me in the beginning and he spent quite a lot of money on this.
A few close friends of mine also helped me.
4. What are the cost expenses that you incur in your racing league?
Excluding the riding kit and the bike, to race in the stock category, it will cost anywhere from 80,000INR for a season.It also depends on what category we are racing and as the categories go up, the expenses increase. So, for anybody who starts off with a new bike and ride gear it will cost them at least 2 lakhs.
_5. How tough is it to survive without an sponsor in motorsports?
Though i started racing 2010 season i couldnt participate in all the races because of lack of financial support
and it continued in 2011 as well. In a country like India where motorsports is still unpopular, it is very difficult
for a rider to get sponsors. So only those who come from a wealthy family find it easy to survive here.
6. What are your major achievements?
My best position until now is 7th in the Yamaha one make championship 2010. 2011 wasn't a good year for me as i couldn't participate in races coz of financial problems. And recently i got selected for the finals of TVS Apache RTR cup by claiming the first position in the selection race. The winner of the RTR cup will get a completely sponsored training at Silverstone circuit by TVS Racing.
7. What changes have you seen in motor-sports in India after the post F1 era?
The Indian GP has brought a great change to the motorsports in India. People became more aware of the motorsports activities in India and they started following the events that happen at the Chennai race track also.
8. Do you feel the focus is solely on F1 alone in India?
No. I don't think so. F1 may be the more popular in India but we also know that the number of
Indian riders participating in the international events are more. We have Mahindra Racing team
with a successful debut season. A couple of private Indian teams already made their strong
presence the championships like the Asia Road Racing Championship and Malaysian Super Series.
All these indicate the arrival of good time for motorcycle racing in India.
9. What are the challenges that an ordinary man would face if he chooses motorsports in India which is non F1?
Anybody who enters into motorsports in India will have to face similar challenges irrespective of his or her
choice. Because they have to prove themselves with their own money and a few lucky ones will get a sponsor.
_10. There are talks of MotoGP coming to India, Do you feel this would boost up the interest in 2 wheelers
just like how F1 done to 4 wheel racing?
I think one of the main drawback of Indian motorsports is the lack of media coverage. The national road
racing and rally championship in the two wheeler and four wheeler category is happening every year and hardly few people, apart from those who are associated to racing, are aware of this. The huge media
coverage and publicity of the Indian GP changed the future of car racing in India. Similarly Motogp will also make the motorcycle racing more popular in India. Popularity of the sport will increase the sponsors.
11. Lewis Hamilton found the Chennai Track a wonderful experience for the start of racing, With the talks of new track being constructed in Mumbai,Do u feel Chennai track deserves a facelift?
Chennai track has been the centre of all the motorsports activities in the country until now. We already
know that the Budh International Circuit is one of the best in the world. So with the proposal of a new
track in Mumbai also, it is very necessary to upgrade the Chennai track. It has to improve in many ways
and hope the upgrade happens soon.
12. What are your future plans? How do you plan to take racing in next few years?
My plan for this season is to participate in the Group D category of the national championship.
Being a student and with less financial support from parents it is going to be a difficult season for me.
My plan, as of now is to graduate through all the categories in the National Championship.
13. You wanna share any personal thoughts to the public?
There are many unaware young chaps in our country who think racing is all about riding fast on public
roads without any safety gear. These guys should be made aware that, to test their riding skills there is
always a race track and they have to try their luck there and not on the roads by throwing others life
into danger. But again that is in the hands of media that if they give enough importance to motorsports
events happening in the country, such awareness could be created and also it will help the struggling
racers to find a sponsor.
Well, We can say Vishnu is one of the example of a guy who is interested in racing but is finding it so difficult to make it large because of sponsors. As Vishnu says if proper coverage is given to Indian Motorsports, people will look beyond cricket and realize that there are sports which can give them more excitement and entertainment.And as Ernest Hemingway says, There are only three kinds of sports, Bull Fighting, Mountaineering and Motorsports while the rest are merely games