Images: Srinivasa Krishnan and TVS Racing
It speaks volumes of an Indian brand that adopts the philosophy of “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” and that too for 35 years. As TVS Racing unveiled the Apache RR 310, it also completed 35 years of existence. And boy did it have a rocking 35th year or what! India’s oldest motorcycle racing outfit wrapped up every single national championship there was in the off-road disciplines, emerging victorious at the death in the road racing championship. They left no stone unturned to ensure that the team dominated Indian two-wheeler racing in 2017.
Not only did TVS Racing win all three rally raids of the year but their rider Abdul Wahid Tanveer also bagged himself the ‘Ticket to Dakar’ at the 2017 India Baja. Be it at the Dakshin Dare or the Raid-de-Himalaya, it was the TVS Racing boys who squabbled amongst themselves for the win. The rally raids began in the sand dunes of Rajasthan where R Nataraj won the Desert Storm from teammate Abdul. Nataraj replicated his form in the Dakshin Dare where he led from start to finish. It was the most complete performance from him as he was unchallenged for the entire duration of the rally. Abdul did manage to earn himself his first Raid title this year in the Xtreme Moto class, continuing TVS Racing’s long streak of wins at the highest rally in the world.
TVS Racing has been actively promoting its riders to venture into rallying as it acts as a grassroot level initiative for riders who aim to head to the Dakar. Not only that, they have also been supporting two female riders in the rallying championship with Aishwarya Pissay being one of the star riders who made her mark this season. She won nearly every single rally on the calendar and with that the distinction of the best female rider of the championship.
It was R Nataraj’s year in the national championships. Nataraj won four of the six rallies held this season, narrowly missing out in the other two. His wins in Vadodara, Indore and Nashik were by significant margins while he finished seven seconds behind teammate Rajendra RE. Harith Noah won the rally in Coimbatore by a margin of 15 seconds from Nataraj. Nataraj sealed the championship in the final round in Mangalore with a win.
What a way to make a comeback to the scene as Harith Noah ended his sabbatical from the sport, to win the 2017 MRF MoGrip National Supercross Championship’s premier SX1 class. The SX1 class has seen the likes of Aravind K P, Abdul Wahid Tanveer and many more TVS Racing riders winning consistently through the years. Abdul and Nataraj progressed on to the rallying scene this year and hence TVS called upon Harith to do their bidding. Noah repaid their faith in him as he completed the double, in four of the six rounds of the championship this year. He amassed 230 points and won the championship from Kerala’s C D Jinan by 33 points. TVS Racing’s Rugved Barguje finished third in the championship with 148 points.
From a disastrous start to winning the title for the sixth season in a row must have been truly satisfying for TVS Racing’s Jagan Kumar. Jagan did not enjoy the start to the season as much as he would have liked as he had a couple of DNFs in the initial rounds of the championship. He trailed then leader Rajiv Sethu by nearly 33 points. The title seemed lost and looked like a new face would be crowned the national champion in the premier Super Sport upto 165cc class.
However, Jagan’s resolve and determination helped him claw back into Sethu’s lead, taking the championship all the way down to the wire. Jagan managed to win the first race of the weekend and, for the first time in the season, become championship leader. With six-points separating the two in the final race, the grid seemed to be on the edge. However, the fight turned out to be quite anti-climactic as Sethu crashed out at the second corner on the opening lap itself. Jagan held his own to finish second behind Mathana Kumar and lifted his sixth consecutive title in the class. TVS Racing themselves bagged the constructors title yet again, snatching away from the clutches of Honda.
These strong performances all across the disciplines bodes well for the Indian manufacturer who aims to expand its wings. With the Dakar currently taking place as this magazine comes out, TVS hopes to continue its success in the international events as well.
With the RR Cup on the anvil, it will not surprise us if TVS decides to enter the fray in the Super Sport 300-400cc class of the INMRC with the new Apache RR 310. The class was formed in 2016 and does not have any factory supported riders whatsoever. Hopefully, TVS Racing’s extensive 35 years’ experience will help newer riders onto the larger capacity motorcycle racing scene.