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Rajiv scored first points, Hada gets two podiums at ARRC
The fourth round of the Asia Road Racing Championship took place in Chennai over the weekend. This was significant for two reasons because firstly, an international motorsport competition with the pedigree of the ARRC was taking place on Indian soil, and secondly because there was a local team taking part. Idemitsu Honda Racing India is fronting three riders in the ARRC this year – two of them Indian racers.
The ARRC runs three separate race classes, all for production motorcycles – the UB150, the AP250 and SS600. The UB150 are for underbone motorcycles –they resemble a cross between a scooter and motorcycles. These vehicles are immensely popular in South East Asian countries, and are not sold in India. The second class is the AP250, which stands for Asia Production 250. 250cc twin cylinder engine motorcycles like the Yamaha R25, the Honda CBR250 RR and the Kawasaki Ninja 250 take part in this class. The Idemitsu Honda Racing India team was fielding two Indian riders in this class – Rajiv Sethu and Anish Shetty.
Both race for the Honda factory-supported team in the Indian national championship. In fact, Rajiv gave veteran TVS Racing factory rider Jagan Kumar a run for his money in the SuperSport class last season, with the championship going down to the wire. He currently leads the championship this season. Anish, on the other hand, won the ProStock competition at home last season. Honda is giving them international exposure by allowing them to race in the ARRC. The crowning glory of the ARRC, though, is the SS600 class. These Super Sport 600s include the likes of the Yamaha R6s, Kawasaki ZX-6Rs and the Honda CBR 600 RR. The Indian team has 20-year-old Tiaga Hada racing for them in this class.
Rajiv and Anish put up their best times around the MMRT in qualifying, and managed to qualify 19th and 20th on the grid. However, Rajiv managed to make up a few places in Race 1 and finished 13th. This was his best finish yet, and the first points for the team in this class. Anish, however, had a crash and could not finish the race. Rheza Danica Ahrens from Indonesia, who was also on a Honda, won the race. Rajiv and Anish started from the same positions in Race 2 – 19th and 20th, and finished in 16th and 19th respectively. Indonesian Rafid Topan Sucipto on his Yamaha won the second race.
The SS600 class had a mix of experienced riders and greenhorns, which made for an interesting match up. The experienced Anthony West set a blistering lap in qualifying – besting the current lap record on a 600cc supersport motorcycle. He also went on to win both races of the weekend. However, Taiga Hada didn’t make it easy for him. Hada actually lead the first race for quite a while before West made a move and took the win. Hada finished third in both races of the weekend himself, giving the Idemitsu Honda Racing India team two podium finishes.
From here, the ARRC will continue to rounds in Thailand and Indonesia.