Last weekend saw some of the top motocross riders in the country battle racing alongside international riders at the fifth edition of the Pune Supercross. The IPL-style league currently has six teams – Ajmera Racing India, Gagan Developers, IBEX Sports, Lilleria Motorsports, PB Racing and Stallion Riders. Each team has six riders from four different categories – SX-1 (Foreign Pro), SX-2 (Indian Pro), SX-3 (Indian Experts) and SX-4 (Indian Rider, Juniors). Dakar hero Aravind KP graced the occasion and he was seen interacting the riders and the people who turned up at the event.
Each team had to have one rider from SX-1 and SX-2 classes and two riders from SX-3 and SX-4 classes. Organised by Aashan Sports with the backing of FMSCI, the event was a two-day affair, with practice on day 1 and the main race on day 2. Ten races were conducted that started late in the evening and went on till late in the night. A motocross track was prepared at Mundhwa in Pune. The track consisted of short straights, whoops, tight turns and obstacles to provide double or triple jumps. There were also a series of bumps to give the suspension of the bikes a tough time.
The SX-1 category race was the opener, with the international riders lining up at the start line. The international motocross riders set the bar high when it came to making the jumps look effortless, as well as by performing some cool tricks while performing the jumps. Travis Pitt, Dustin Phares, Aaron Mare, Michael Docherty, Vitaly Gusev and Georgy Gusev wowed the crowd and kept them hooked with their antics. Vitaly Gusev (Gagan Developers) astride his Kawasaki KX-250 was the first through the holeshot and crossed the finish line first, this gaining the full 20 points and coming on top. Aaron Mare representing Stallion Riders on his Suzuki RM-250 and Georgy Gusev (Ajmera Racing) on his KTM-250 came second and third respectively, taking 17 and 15 points.
The combined race of SX-1 and SX-2 classes saw the international and Indian riders battling for top honours. The international riders dominated the race, with the top five positions occupied by them. Travis Pitt representing PB Racing astride his KTM-350 sailed through the course, bagging 17 points and 20 points in the Moto 1 and Moto 2, taking the total to 37 points ending up in first place. Vitaly and Aaron rounded the podium with 32 and 28 points respectively.
The next race saw the SX-2 riders and SX-3 riders race together. Drama happened in the very first lap as one rider crashed and the other rider behind him crashed into him and slowed down. The yellow flag came out and the race continued without any further incident. Ishan Dasanayake from PB Racing on his Apache RTR 250 dominated the race from the start – he did spectacular jumps; was fast and in the final laps, was lapping the other riders. He won both the Moto1 and Moto 2 classes to bag the full 40 points and finish first. Jinan CD from Gagan Developers and Yash Pawar (PB Racing) fought hard for the second position, but Jinan came second followed by Yash. Both of them bagged 34 and30 points.
In the SX-3 race, Yash Pawar had a good start and took a good lead. He was performing some good jumps and the crowd went mad cheering for this young lad. There was some drama tough, as a number of riders crashed and the yellow flags were out. Yash increased the gap between himself and his rivals and in the final laps he pulled off a massive lead. He went on to win the race bagging 40 points. The fight was for the second place between Zabi Mulla (Ajmera Racing) and Samuel Abraham (IBEX Sports). Zabi got the better of Samuel and finished second while the latter had to be content with third. Zabi and Samuel took 30 and 28 points. All three riders were astride a Kawasaki KX-250F. Abdul Wahid Tanvir of Lilleria Motorsports finished fourth with 26 points, on his RTR-250.
In the SX-4 category, Yuvraj Konde Deshmukh of Ajmera Racing astride his KTM SX-150 ruled the roost. He was unstoppable, as he had a very good start and got an early lead in the first few laps itself. It was not a surprise, as he has many achievements to his credit internationally, too. He was doing the double jumps effortlessly and in the last few laps, he was lapping some of his rivals. He passed the holeshot and was the first to cross the finish line, bagging full 40 points. Gagan Developers’ Sarthak Chavan finished second, racing his Kawasaki KX-100, while Kalhara Dilitha on his KTM-85 took the third spot. Both these guys were tied at 30 points. Brother-Sister duo Ikshan (Lilleria Motorsports) and Tanika Shanbhag finished in fifth and sixth position respectively. Tanika Shanbhag (IBEX Sports) was the only female racer in this category.
Last but not the least, the category which won the crowd over; which had the crowd cheering the most – the SX Junior Mini race. The kids participating in this class were aged between 7-11 years and had the crowd going gaga over their small bikes. Though the track was too big for them and these kids did do some small jumps. It was a spectacular sight to see the parents cheering their children on these SX bikes, fully geared up and tackling the bumps. Chiranth Vishwanath won this category with 20 points, followed by Sufiyan Shaikh with 17 points and Akshat Hupale with 15 points. These kids were astride a KTM-85, a Husqvarna TC-50 and a KTM SX-65. Aleena Shaikh was the only female kid in this category, racing her Kawasaki KX-110 bike. She finished in sixth position.
In the end, it was Ajmera Racing which came at the top with 167 points. The team made it coundt in the SX-3 and SX-4 categories, as the team made 119 points in these categories alone. Gagan Developers finished second with 115 points on the scoreboard, with the big points coming for them in SX-1 and SX- categories. 15 points behind them, in third place were IBEX Sports, with 100 points in their kitty. The team scored well in SX-2 and SX-3 class. Note that all the results are provisional.
On the 2019 Pune Supercross, Eeshan Lokhande, event director and partner, Aashan Sports said, “As a sport, Supercross is surely gaining in a lot of popularity in India. The kind of response we got was overwhelming. The quality of racing throughout the league was fantastic. With sold out crowds thronging the venue and leading to an increase in participation and growing involvement and support from the Supercross fraternity. The league has set a new bench mark and has revolutionized the sport in India.”
The Pune Supercross league is growing by the year, thanks to the participation of famous riders from India and abroad. The inaugural event happened in 2012 and the event is now five years old, as the Pune Supercross did not take place in 2016 and 2018. The 2017 edition saw Stallion Riders taking the top honours. Harith Noah and R Nataraj (currently in TVS Racing) were also part of the 2017 edition of the supercross league. Yuvraj Konde who was representing Pashankar Racing in the 2017 edition, put a stellar show finishing five out of six motos in the SX J category.