20th JK Tyre FMSCI NRC - V. Prasad dominates in first round
It's been an exciting weekend of racing at the opening round of the 20th JK Tyre FMSCI National Racing C'ship (JKTyre NRC in short). There were quite a few red flags, flying front ends and even a barrel roll.The four categories this season are the Euro JK17, the LGB04, the Suzuki Gixxer Cup and the Suzuki Gixxer Red Bull Rookie Cup. The main category being the Euro JK17 saw Vishnu Prasad offer a masterclass in consistent racing, winning all four races of Round 1. Not that the wins were easy, but the 23-year old drove hard and drove well, going for the overtakes and defending well, his advantage in terms of experience with the car showing. Vikash Anand had a good Sunday but made a mistake midway through Race 3 which cost him his lead over Vishnu and finished third. A crash in Race 4 after a good fight was the end of his weekend. Meanwhile, Nayan Chatterjee and Anindith Reddy seemed to be simply swapping spots on the podium in Race 1, 2 and 4. Second place in Race 3 went to 19 year old racer, Akash Gowda.Plenty of eyes on Mira Erda too who had a bit of a disappointing weekend with a drained battery on Saturday and being slower on Sunday too. It has to be said though that she finished all four races and was didn't lose any places even when down the order. She's likely hoping for a much better weekend at the next round taking in the experience from her first races in the Euro JK car.The Rookie Cup is for young talent aged between 14-16 riding on the same 150cc track-specced Suzuki Gixxer SF. Of the 13 competitors, 8 of them were youngsters scouted from Aizawl. While Sri Lankan teen Jaden Gunawardena took both the wins this weekend, Aizawl rider Lalhruaizela secured two podium finishes, 2nd place on Saturday and 3rd on Sunday. The other Aizawl-based rookie who got on the podium was Lalnunsanga finishing third on Saturday while Chennai-based Varoon S came second in the race on Sunday. Jaden led the races from start to finish.The JK Tyre Suzuki Gixxer Cup races were won by favorite-to-win, Joseph Matthew. The Aizawl talent pool shone through here as well with two third-place finishes for Lalmawipuia who was racing on a circuit for the first time. Second spot on the podium went to Mumbai-based rider Sanjeev Mhatre on Saturday and to Malsawmdawngliana (another Aizawl kid). The second race in this category was a lot more competitive in the battle for the lead but Joseph's experience gave him a clear advantage in tight situations.Winning all three races this weekend in the LGBF4 category was Chittesh Mandody of team Avalanche Racing. The Kolhapur-based racer gave the team its first victory on Saturday after a hard-fought battle with Diljith (Dark Don Racing) and with privateer Saran Vikram finishing a close third. Saran's car had the advantage on the corners but lost out on straight line speed to the others. Sunday was an even tougher day for Mandody who put on a brilliant display of defensive driving, battling it out with Vishnu Prasad (Meco Racing), managing to keep him behind in second. Sandeep Kumar, also of Dark Don Racing, came second in Race 2.The final race of this category in Round 1 was packed with drama and accidents. Two red flags, the first when there was a five car pileup at turn 2 on the opening lap. The second one came soon after when Yash Aradhya (Meco Racing) had a bit of a coming together while rounding turn 1 and was thrown into a barrel roll in mid-air before the car came to a rest on its side. Yash was unhurt but the car would need serious work before the next round. A penalty of 10 seconds added to the total time and one grid position, has been given to a few drivers after the last race including Vishnu and Saran.There was plenty of wheel to wheel racing this round and we expect even more in the next one in August, so stay tuned.