Young Media Racer program: what is it?
The Young Media Racer program is a racing program for automotive journalists designed by TVS Racing. Its existence came about as a result of similar questions addressed to TVS Racing drivers by the media fraternity.
How is it to run in India? How does it feel to win a race? How does the bike feel in the racing environment? These are some of the questions that led the good folks at TVS Racing to make the decision to put us, the journalists, in the pilot’s seat of a real race bike.
The motorcycle in question is the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V which has been prepared for the race track. It features thinner, grippier tires, a racing exhaust system, performance air intake, revised engine timing, and more. As a result, it is much more powerful, developing almost 25 hp.
During the sixth edition of the Young Media Racer Program, 16 journalists from different automotive media were invited to a practice and qualifying session in May 2022. Only the best 12 were selected to participate in the championship.
More affectionately known in the racing fraternity as the “Media Cup”, these races will be held alongside other races from the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship.
Round 1: Kari Motor Speedway Brilliance
Kari Motor Speedway is a place of historic motorsport significance. It started as a runway for ultralight aircraft manufactured by a company owned by S. Karivardhan. Karivardhan or more affectionately known as Kari was a legendary racing car developer and driver who was also one of the founding fathers of motorsport in India.
Kari Motor Speedway therefore takes its name from the legend itself. It is known as one of the most technical racecourses in India. Although I rode here earlier, I was looking forward to riding the new and improved track with a slightly different layout. Turns out my prayers have been answered, with the first round of the Media Cup being staged at KMS.
During a race weekend, it is usually practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday. This time however, it was different. The practice session as well as the qualifying session took place on Saturday, and that just meant more track time and more time spent smiling inside the helmet.
Some of the racers had never raced at Kari Motor Speedway before and therefore felt a bit uneasy about it. However, the practice session helped shake off the discomfort and everyone ended up posting decent lap times.
With a best lap time of 1:36:786, DriveSpark set the second-fastest time in the practice session. Then came some advice from TVS Racing coach Harry Sylvester which certainly helped everyone get their lines right for the qualifying session later in the day.
In qualifying, each driver significantly improved their lap times and DriveSpark dropped to fourth place with a best lap time of 1:36.043. So the stage was set for the race and we were going to start the race from P4.
Come Sunday, the adrenaline rush was already felt, even before the start of the race. The atmosphere at Kari Motor Speedway was electric with all the other races going on. This included the various single-make championships and the early Pro-Stock 165 and Pro-Stock 301-400cc segments. Watching these riders race past the pit wall on the main straight is a sight and a sound to behold.
The Media Cup race was scheduled for 2pm and before the start time we came out of the pits and onto the track. Some of us were weaving to get some grip in the tires and others were more focused on the race itself.
We lined up at our positions and in no time the lights were on. With the clutch charged, the front brake lever pulled and the throttle at about 75 percent, the lights went out and we were off. I managed to get a near perfect launch and within seconds I had the lead but managed to lose focus at the braking point.
It knocked me off the racing line and by the time we came out of turn two the first position was out of control. With Ishan Lee in first position, I managed to hold onto second position until the end of the first lap with Karan Singh on my heels. A mistake in the penultimate corner caused me to take a wide line and Karan Singh was past.
It was a pretty hectic first lap after that. From round 2, until round 7, Karan Singh and Ishan Lee fought for the first position while Mandar Sawant I and Battled for the third position. Towards the end of lap 7, Mandar found the speed to pass me in P3 while in the first corner of lap 8, Karan Singh passed Ishan Lee.
On the penultimate corner of the final lap, Karan Singh unfortunately ended up crashing out of the race while Ishan Lee again took the lead, this time under the checkered flag. Mandar Sawant took second place while I took third place. Every moment of the race was absolutely dramatic and there were constant grid position swaps.
The fastest lap times proved just how entertaining these laps were. Suddenly all the runners had become much faster. One runner crossed the 1:32 while five runners were all within 1:33. Six runners just two seconds apart, it’s intense! Our best lap time was now 1:33.615!
Safe to say it was one of the most entertaining and exciting experiences on two wheels for many of us and we were all smiling when we got back to the pits. The adrenaline was so high that we were ready to hit the trail almost immediately.
Thoughts on Petronas TVS Racing Young Media Racer Program 6.0 – Round 1 at Kari Motor Speedway
For motorcycle enthusiasts, there is nothing more exciting than a motorcycle race. It’s a great sight to watch, but being part of such a race is a whole new experience in itself. Kudos to TVS Racing for hosting this “Media Cup” so that we journalists can get a hands-on experience of what racing really looks like. Now let’s move on to the next one – the second round at the Madras Motor Racing Circuit in July.