Record entries for national motorcycle championship

Coimbatore: The 2016 season of the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship kicks off on Friday with the Rolon round at the Kari Motor Speedway here with a record 250 entries and 20 races involving the country’s three top manufacturers -- TVS, Honda and Suzuki. Championship promoters Madras Motor Sports Club have refurbished the tourney which will now consist of three categories -- Stock 165 (previously Group D, Novice), Pro-Stock 165 (previously Group D, Open) and Super Sport Indian 165 (previously Group B) which is the premium class with a clutch of experienced riders with international exposure on modified bikes. Honda, TVS and Suzuki will run their separate one-make series comprising of two categories, the Novice and Open. Over the past couple of seasons, these one-make races have gained in popularity, attracting an ever increasing number of entries. More than 250 entries across all categories for this weekend’s races reflect the growing status of the championship as one of the premier events in the Indian motorsport calendar. Meanwhile, in a first of its kind, two all-ladies races have been scheduled. They will be run under the banners of Honda Ladies Race and Alisha Abdullah Racing Academy Ladies Race which is supported by TVS Racing. The TVS-MMSC one-make series has been upgraded in terms of introduction of the TVS Apache RTR 200 which will replace the Apache RTR 180 while the Honda-MMSC races will see the CBR 150 (Novice) and CBR 250 (Open) in action as previously and so also the Suzuki Gixxer Cup series which will have the Gixxer 150 SF in both Novice and Open categories. The new-look championship is expected to be as fierce and competitive as ever with the various grids boasting of country’s top riders who were in the thick of action last year representing leading teams such as Moto-Rev Yamaha Factory Racing, Ten10 Racing, Apex Racing, Sparks Racing and United Torque Racing among others.  As per the provisional programme, Friday will be devoted to briefing and practice sessions. Saturday will witness qualifying sessions in all categories followed by seven races in the post-lunch period. Thirteen races have been scheduled for Sunday.