The two-wheeled motorsport scenario in India has grown by leaps and bounds and we can safely say that Indian motorsport is finally waking up to cope up with the international standards and hence young riders of all age groups are increasingly being encouraged to follow their passion for high-flying and dirt-splashing motocross competitions. Though this time the spotlight is on two young talents who have proudly raised the Indian tricolour beyond our shores. We got in touch with two international motocross champions, an 11-year-old Sarthak Chavan and a 13-year-old Yuvrajsingh Konde-Deshmukh to find out what drives them towards such competitive feats at an age when they’re supposed to be playing with toys.
Let’s begin with the younger of the two. At 11, Sarthak Chavan has 37 national trophies to his credit. Sarthak hails from a middle-class family but his father’s automotive knowhow and uncle’s motocross expertise has been a driving force behind his motocross portfolio. He was mentored and coached by his father Shrikant Chavan who acknowledged his passion and skill at an early age and encouraged him to start riding motocross bikes. His motocross journey started in 2011 when he participated in his first motocross event in India, where he piloted a KTM SX50 two-stroke motorcycle. He was soon recognised by Pune-based independent racing team called 9T9, and became their youngest rider.
Sarthak participated in his first ever national championship in 2012, the MRF Super Cross, after which he participated in numerous such events and went on to win 21 podium trophies by the end of 2013. Taking into account the rising number of children participating in motoring events, in 2014, FMSCI started a brand-new kids class for the first time in India. Soon, Sarthak’s international journey commenced in USA, which started off with a month-long pro-riding training session before he participated in few of the local American races. In 2016, he took his talents to Dubai, where he finished third on the podium at the Dubai DMX Motocross Championship, riding a KTM SX65. Over the years, the podiums and trophies kept piling on and today he has 37 trophies in Motocross and Supercross championships to his name. Despite his age, Sarthak has no intentions of stopping and aims to gather more experience at the international level. He plans to participate in the 2018 Dubai MX Championship and in the following year he will take on the Asian Junior Motocross Championship.
While others his age are bunking school classes and fiddling with their expensive phones, Yuvrajsingh Konde-Deshmukh was quite frankly on a different tangent in life and his parents were a constant support to make sure he lives up to these dreams. Yuvrajsingh is a motocross athlete and has been competing professionally in this form of motorsport since 2013. Yuvrajsingh’s international training started in 2014 in South Carolina, at the South of the Border MX Training Facility. From the very beginning Yuvrajsingh was a part of the Ajmera Racing Team, and was trained by eight time national motocross champ and KTM factory rider, Rustom Kersi Patel. However, his talent, skill and training first started to shine at the Gulf Supercross National Championship in Nashik which was his first professional outing. After this, in 2015 he enrolled for an MX Summer Camp (MotoX School) headed by Christian Rostagno.
Yuvrajsingh was lucky enough to be trained by former Belgian professional motocross athlete, Harry Everts at his MX Training Camp in Spain. Dusty Phares, a professional Motocross rider, who runs DJP Moto Training in USA, helped nurture his talent and skill. We already know that Yuvrajsingh has numerous National and International trophies and titles to his name, but like all riders, he has also started from rock bottom. His professional streak started right here in his own country back in 2014, after which he kept showcasing his talent on international shores. He participated in the Lake Sugartree Motorsports MX Championship in Axton, Virginia, USA in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015, Yuvrajsingh had a whopping 20 national podiums and four international podiums in his name. The silverware did not stop there; in 2017 he participated in three more national championships, one of them being the infamous MRF National Supercross Championship where he reigned in all the stages to top the rankings with 78 points in the Class 8 (Junior SX) with his KTM SX65. Sarthak Chavan managed to earn 30 points over the stages in the same stages and finished in a commendable sixth place. By the end of 2017, Yuvrajsingh had added 33 national (India) podiums and eight international podiums to his MotoX career.
This is not the end of the road. Both the athletes have achieved quite a few accolades at a young age, but they are far from done with their adrenaline pumping motorsport careers. They have a distinct goal in mind, which is winning the prestigious World Motocross Championship (MXGP). We are eager to see them perform at this global event while bearing the tricolour on their overalls.
A day with the Dakar hero, CS Santosh! Read about it here!