The MMRT in Chennai played host to the inaugural MMSC Motorcycle Endurance Race, backed by Honda. Chennai based Aravind Balakrishnan and Kevin Kannan took the top honours, after completing 53 laps. They not only won the Honda CBR 250 class, but also emerged as the overall champions.
CBR 250 class
Aravind and Kannan, though, had to work hard for their victory in the Honda CBR 250 class. Giving a tough competition to them and finishing in second place were Abhishek Vasudev (Bengaluru) and Anish Shetty (Hubballi) by a few hundredth of a second. The third place was occupied by Prabhu Arunagiri and Anup Kumar. The top three teams completed 53 laps in over two hours.
Aravind and Kannan also emerged overall champions and received a prize-money of Rs 40,000, in addition to an equal amount they earned by topping the Honda CBR 250 class.
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Stock 165cc class
In the Stock 165cc class open only to those under 23 years of age, Chennai’s Ajai Xavier and Amarnath Rajan took the first place while another local combination of Abhimanyu Gautam and AS Aleander came in second place. The Kerala-Bengaluru pair of Akshay V Murali and Nithin S finished third. All the three pairs completed 51 laps.
Some of the country’s top riders were a part of the 34 riders who took part in the MMSC Endurance Race. Mohammed Mukail and Karthik Vasanth Habib were also part of the endurance race. The event also saw the lone female rider Lani Zena Fernandes, who paired with Lakshmipathi Balaji in the Stock 165cc category.
The format of endurance race
A feature of the endurance race is the running start with riders lined up on one side of the start-finish straight before sprinting across the track to their machines to start the first session. As per the format, each team comprising two riders will race for two hours with a minimum of one compulsory fuel stop. Further, each rider is allowed a maximum of 45 minutes per outing with a mandatory 20-minute rest between sessions. Thus, the format puts as much premium on team strategy as race pace.
The top three teams won cash prizes – Rs 40,000, Rs 20,000 and Rs 10,000, for first, second and third place respectively. These are all based on the number of laps completed in two hours, with the overall winners eligible for another Rs 40,000 in cash prize.
MMSC Endurance Race – Honda CBR 250: 1. Aravind Balakrishnan / Kevin Kannan (both Chennai) (53 laps); 2. Abhishek Vasudev (Bengaluru) / Anish Shetty (Hubballi) (53 laps); 3. Prabhu Arunagiri / Anup Kumar (both Chennai) (53 laps).
Stock 165cc (Under-23): 1. Ajai Xavier / Amarnath Rajan (both Chennai) (51 laps); 2. Abhimanyu Gautam / AS Alexander (both Chennai) (51 laps); 3. Akshay V Murali (Kerala) / Nithin S (Bengaluru) (51 laps).
Overall winners: Aravind Balakrishnan / Kevin Kannan (both Chennai) 53 laps.
Qualifying – Honda CBR 250: 1. Abhishek Vasudev (Bengaluru) / Anish Shetty (Hubballi) (04mins, 07.426secs – combined timing); 2. Prabhu Arunagiri / Anup Kumar (both Chennai) (04:08.802); 3. Aravind Balakrishnan / Kevin Kannan (both Chennai) (04:09.309).
Stock 165cc (Under-23): 1. Abhimanyu Gautam / AS Alexander (both Chennai) (04:20.833); 2. Ajai Xavier / Amarnath Rajan (both Chennai) (04:20.834); 3. Varun Sobhan (Kerala) / P Mohan Babu (Chennai) (04:26.087).
Check out our feature on our 2018 Honda Asian Journey here.