The KTM RC Cup 2023 was one of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences of my life as an auto enthusiast and journalist. The event was the first-ever RC Cup hosted in the country, and it brought together some of the best riders and journalists in the industry.
On Day 1, I reached the track at 9 am, and the practice sessions were already in full swing. I got to meet fellow journalists and riders and learn and grow as a rider. Since it was my first-ever track experience, KTM was kind enough to train me for the track under the guidance of Mr Kartik, who is a multiple national championship winner. I got two solo sessions on the track, and it changed my perspective of riding in general.
It was an incredible experience, everyone was analysing and helping each other. Since we were not hardcore racers, we didn’t really care who won, so every time we were together, everyone had questions, and someone had the solution. We were all there to have fun and become better riders. It was an experience that I will cherish for life.
The next day, we left early in the morning for the track, excited to apply my new learnings. The super pole happened, and the grid for the final races was set. After the briefing, we all suited up and went to the practice session. Unfortunately, due to some discrepancies, I couldn’t make it in time. Just as I was going to exit the pit and enter the track, the green light turned red, and the pit was closed. I was frustrated, knowing that the only shot I had at knowing how fast I really was was in the qualifying.
Main race qualifiers were over, and I exited the pit with the first group. The first lap was slow, but I got my rhythm by the end of the lap. We got almost 3-4 laps, and by the end of qualifying, I had a good feeling about my performance. Once all of us were back in the pits, we rushed to the person who had the timings. I had qualified P14 with a lap time of 2 minutes 17 seconds. I saw the timings of every lap, and I was very satisfied with the fact that every lap, I was faster than the previous one.
The main race was thrilling to watch, and Navaneeth Kumar, Amarnath Menon, and Allwin Xavier got at each other on the track. They were clocking in times under 2 minutes! Once they were back, the main races started, and Navaneeth Kumar won the race and also set the fastest lap time of 1 minute 59 seconds!
It was our turn to go all out on the track, nervous but excited, and ready to start the first-ever race of my life. As the lights went out and the race began, I made a rookie mistake and popped a wheelie, causing me to lose some positions. However, I managed to regain my composure and started to make my way up the pack. Unfortunately, a small error caused me to lose a position to Karan from EVO, but I remained focused and kept pushing. Laps went on, and I felt more comfortable, but there were a few instances where I braked too late in lap 3, trying to overtake Karan, and I almost went off-track, quite scary, made me realise the importance of safety gear. This is where the distance grew between me and Karan. By the end of the start-finish straight, I was back with the group ahead of me, trying to push further, and when I thought I had got the feeling of the bike and the track, the race was over.
When the race ended, I was extremely pleased with my performance. Although I did not win, I managed to complete a total of almost 8 fast laps and shaved off a total of almost 5 seconds, which is a big achievement for a first timer like myself. My fastest laptime was 2 minutes 15.6 seconds, which was faster than most people on their first track attack.
However, the winner of the race was Sagar Sheldekar, who totally schooled all of us with the fastest lap of 2 minutes and 5 seconds! Second place went to Deepak Vishnu A.K.A The Clutchless, with a lap-time of 2 minutes 6.62 seconds, and third place was Janak Sorap, with a lap-time of 2 minutes 6.79 seconds.
The KTM RC Cup 2023 Media Race was an incredible experience that allowed me to push myself to the limits and test my skills as a rider. I cannot thank KTM enough for repeatedly giving me opportunities to prove myself and improve as a rider. Moreover, I am grateful to KTM for taking such an initiative where owners of KTM Motorcycles can experience the track and be safer, more responsible and obviously faster riders.
In conclusion, the KTM RC Cup 2023 Media Race was a resounding success that showcased the true potential of KTM motorcycles and their riders. I cannot wait for the next event, where I hope to push myself even further and maybe even take home the win!