Two of the most experienced racers from India are racing for the Dakar rally 2019, being held in Lima, Peru, now.
By Rohit Chatterjee
Bangalore, Jan. 17, 2019: CS Santosh from the Hero Motocorp and Aravind KP of TVS are currently in South America, taking part in the most grueling rally in the world, the Dakar Rally.
In the previous edition, the two riders completed the rally with an impressive show, which was not quite expected from Indian participants in the world. While Aravind finished in 17th position, Santosh managed to capture the 33rd spot.
Even though the ranking is quite down the pecking order, it has been an impressive run from both the racers, considering India has been at par in the world of automobile or motorsports.
In the year 2018, CS Santosh received an all-new 450cc motorcycle manufactured by Hero MotoCorp to take on the 9,000 kilometers rally, whereas Aravind KP is on the spot with the TVS RTR-450. Both these teams have been a part of the motorsport world for some time now and are expected to do well this year.
But with competition from other manufacturers from the European and Asian market, the chance to finish in the top 10 slot looks somewhat grim.
Both the riders have been an asset for India. Over the last nine years, CS Santosh has managed to win everything off the road and taking awards like Topgear Man of the Year and Shell Honour Roll Award. On the other hand, Aravind KP was a rookie joining the Dakar rally in 2015 for the first time, and finishing at an impressive position of 36th. Last year, the young rider crashed at the rally. His participation this year was gloomy and the rider made a strong comeback with TVS Sherco.
As of the first stage, CS Santosh has managed to grab a spot in the top 20 along with team mate Oriol Mena, whereas Aravind KP is struggling to cope up, lagging behind the 70th spot.
As per Sughosha Ramakrishnan, a former instructor of a racing team, “The scenario of Indian motorsport is improving, but there is still a long way to go as we are struggling to compete with manufacturers like KTM and Yamaha who have been a part of this rally and also of the automobile industry, even before we were born.”
To bring in a performance like this, it is important to put the same or even better kind of technology at work. On the riders’ part, it is essential that they are trained properly throughout the year to tackle the grueling conditions of the rally.