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TVS Young Media Racer Program - Leaning into Corners at 60 KMPH

TVS Young Media Racer Program - Leaning into Corners at 60 KMPH

Snapshot: TVS Racing invited young auto journalists to get a hands-on experience of riding on Madras Motor Race Track.

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Riding on a race track is a dream of every motorhead as it offers a rider with a great amount of thrill, excitement and adrenaline rush. I was about to realize this dream as I received an invitation to participate in TVS Racing's 3rd edition of Young Media Racer Program (YMRP). The YMRP is aimed at training young automotive journalists to learn the basics of racing that includes both theory and practical sessions by TVS Racing's official riders.

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I joined the editorial team a month back and when I got this opportunity, I said yes without wasting a single second. The event was organized on one of the foremost race tracks of our country - the Madras Motor Race Track situated in Irungattukottai, Chennai. Being a rookie when it comes to race track events, a tremendous wave of excitement and fear surrounded me, but I took it as an opportunity that will certainly help me to become a better auto-journalist and ultimately understanding my machine more.

We were about to ride the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0 on MMRT which is not just the stripped down version of the production model but a totally different machine. The remapped engine was tuned to produce more power and torque and shod with race-spec rubber as well. It was also equipped with a free-flow exhaust that gave the motorcycle a distinctive and loud note. The lighter motorcycle was also agile and nimble on the race track. I must say that this TVS racing bike had a lighter clutch and a great throttle response as well.

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We reached MMRT (Madras Motor Race Track) at 8:30 AM and it was extremely hot which added to the overall pressure I was going through. Soon, a briefing class began where TVS Racing officials gave us a glimpse of the TVS Racing history and how it evolved over the period. TVS Racing's official riders introduced us to the basics of riding on a race track. The racer has to wear a single-piece leather suit, full-length boots, full-length riding gloves and a DOT approved double D-ring strap helmet. The officials told us that the training includes 3 theory sessions and race track laps in between every session. We were divided into two batches and each batch was under the supervision of TVS Racing's official rider, who was tasked to keep a close eye on us on the race track.  This being the first session, we were introduced to different flags (Checkered, red, blue, yellow, yellow with orange strips and black). Officials asked us to avoid getting a Black Flag from the race marshals as it meant immediate disqualification from the race. We were asked to follow the X marks made on the track as it will help us to understand the lines in which we have to ride.

I headed for the pits and took my machine while still trying to recall all the information that I had just received. My heart started to pound and I thought it is not the exhaust but my heart-beat which is making this loud grunt. Somehow, I tried to follow the X-marks made on the tracks meanwhile riding in the fourth gear, we were asked to not to apply brakes in that drill so that we can learn to modulate the throttle. After half an hour of race track riding, we headed for the second theory session.

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As supposed, we had a lot of questions and doubts to ask but the trainers kept their calm and answered every one. In this session, we received lessons on body posture, cornering and vision. Just after entering a corner, we have to look towards the exit, yes this sounds simple but it is the most crucial learning if you want to conquer the corners. Next is body postures, when you approach a corner, just slide a bit towards the inner arc of that corner with the knee and elbow out meanwhile the other leg still hugging the tank. And yes, you have to do this and the vision thing simultaneously. This is not as easy as it may sound but a good four laps on the track will certainly help you to refine your vision and body posture. I practised my vision and body posture lessons and was clearly feeling confident in the corners, trying to lean more and increasing my speed.

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After this, we were given the final session which included launching on the start of a race and applying brakes before approaching a corner. Race starts are important because it has a serious effect on the overall lap timings and to perfect this, we did a demo race start routine. Throttle the machine up to obtain a good rpm while holding the front brakes and clutch lever and then releasing the clutch a little, this is called going in the launch mode. After the lights go green, drag the clutch lever completely meanwhile firing the throttle to its maximum. And, I kind of perfected it in the second attempt.

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I might not be the fastest rider that day but this being my first time at a race track, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Corners didn't scare me and I felt more confident while approaching them. I also learnt something about race tracks, if you have ridden a motorcycle on a race track you'll ultimately become a more confident, responsible and calm rider on roads. At the end of the training session, we were awarded Level -1 completion certificate and now we can apply for a race track license.

FAQ

Q. How can I become a racer in India?

A. One needs to apply for a FMSCI license by attending and completing the training sessions organized by a motorcycle manufacturer. Then, participate in the One Make Race, after completing a few OMRs you can now head to the 2 Wheeler National Racing Championship (you need to arrange your own motorcycle and mechanic). Next step is getting enrolled in one of the racing schools present in India right now and learn everything all over again.

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