Motorsport in India has never taken center stage when it comes to audiences’ interest. Despite oozing enthusiasm among the young motoring aficionados, the lack of motoring culture in the country, along with an absence of proper infrastructure has meant that India hasn’t done too well in the international motorsport arena.
In the past decade, though, racing talent has emerged from the country and made its mark internationally. Some of the most well known names include F1 racers Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan, and motorcycle racers such as C S Santhosh and Rajini Krishnan, who have fluttered the Indian flag proudly on the global scene.
Despite these successes, the overall outlook for racing aspirants in the country remains grim, and there aren’t many opportunities for promising racing talent to find their place under the sun.
The recently introduced Red Bull ‘Road to Rookies Cup’, however, should bring a big cheer for these aspiring racers, as it gives them an opportunity to make a mark internationally, and potentially race for a MotoGP team in the future. Since its inception in 2007, the Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup has grown into one of the most thrilling 2 wheel spectacles in the world. The Rookies Cup has released new stars into the world of Grand Prix racing, both Moto2 and Moto3 World Champions in 2015 were ex Rookies. Every year the level of competition has climbed and this year’s intake are set to raise the bar yet again for the 10th running of the Cup.
The event has now come to India to give aspiring racers their chance to win their place on the grid. Young biking enthusiasts, between 13 and 17 years of age can showcase their prowess in the competition. The winner of the challenge will get a chance to be a part of the internationally acclaimed Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2016!
The schedule for the qualifiers is as follows:
- Round 1 – 24th, 25th and 26th June – KMS, Coimbatore
- Round 2 – 8th, 9th and 10th July – MMRT, Chennai
- Round 3 – August 12th, 13th and 14th, 2016 at MMRT, Chennai
- Round 4 – September 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2016 at MMRT, Chennai
- Round 5 – September 30th, October 1st& 2nd, 2016 at BIC, G.Noida or October 7th, 8th and 9th, 2016 at MMRT, Chennai
The Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup programme will be held alongside the Suzuki Gixxer Cup tour 2016. A first such championship for this age category, ten kids between 13 – 17 years will participate in the race and the best rider among them will represent India in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in Spain.
For India, the Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup was announced on 4th May 2016. Representing the event were Chennai-based motorcycle racer Rajini Krishnan and Lithuanian stunt-rider and two-time European stunt-riding Champion Aras Gibieza. The two also had a round of intense race at the ECR Speedway track in Chennai.
Rajini Krishnan, who is also the mentor for the Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup, said, “Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup is going to be of huge help to the young riders. It is a first time ever that we’ll have a category for 13-17 age group in India, in this sport. This is going to help Indian racers to be a part of the MotoGPprogramme overall. In India all riders start after the age of 20! I myself started racing at 20 – you only get your license at 18 – unlike Spanish and Italian kids who start at the age of 5 and have dedicated schools for training. I am hopeful that Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup will change things in the motorsport scene within India!”
“Red Bull Road to Rookies Cup comes as a great news for the Indian racers. This is my third visit to the country in the last two years and I can comfortably say that it’s high time we had a category for this age group,” said Aras Gibieza who is currently in the country as a part of his 9-city Suzuki Gixxer Day tour.