For a few seconds more….      
Alameen Merchant, TVS Young Media Racer Programme

For a few seconds more….     

Our chief filmmaker returns from his first full-fledged racing championship with a few battle scars, a set jaw, and a spark in his eyes

As the weekend started out, I left home with the thought that I must make it to the podium come what may…I mean, after all, I had more than put in the efforts, and yet the results didn’t shine as much as I had wanted. So, I broke down what was missing, and I chalked it down to timing; after all, the quicker your qualifying times, the better your grid position, and hence the better your chances at snatching victory. With that, and nothing else in mind, I set foot, once again, at the MMRT, for the final round of the TVS Young Media Racing Programme.

Day one was the practice session and it ended with a small victory, what with yours truly coming in with the third fastest time! This definitely buoyed my spirits, as seeing my name in the top three was exactly what I needed. Added with the fact that I started the program mid-way and hence needed that much longer to ‘hit my stride’, these events held that bit more significance. Hitting the hay that night, my mind felt a wee bit more at ease.

Qualifying, however, didn’t really go as planned. Going at a competent clip, I felt at ease until I chanced upon some traffic. Going at speed, our eyes need a few reference points to judge how far and fast we’re going. Unfortunately in my case, my eyes latched upon the rider ahead of me. Now, though he was a fair bit faster, chasing him for a lap (and a bit more) ended up hurting my chances of setting an all-out blazing fast pace. Ah well, I was still fourth on the grid for race day, and had learnt a bitter lesson of what not to do, come race day.

Race day, again, could have gone better. Right from the off, I dropped a spot, coming in fifth, the chip on the shoulder early on in the race meaning I was determined to fight back. And so I did. After lap three, I started pushing in earnest, finally catching up with the guy who was in the fourth spot. Gunning past, I caught up with rider number three, who was already prickly and blocked my way (pretty aggressively I must add, which is par for the course, though) just before getting on the MMRT ‘bridge’, which cost me valuable kmph and, finally, kept me out of contention for the podium.

Yes I was dejected. Yes I could have done better had I joined earlier on in the programme. After all, I had shaved off an unbelievable eight whole cotton-picking seconds in one goshdarned weekend! But, racing’s the name of the game, and it takes no prisoners. You either win, or you learn. This time I learnt. Next time, the tables will turn!

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