Coimbatore, March 7 (IANS) With the cream of country’s two-wheeler racing talent on show, representing eight franchise teams, the inaugural Motorcycle Endurance League (MEL) will take off at the Kari Motor Speedway this weekend.
Modelled on cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL), the MEL boasts of India’s leading bike racers like international Rajini Krishnan, national champion Jagan Kumar, Deepak Ravi Kumar, Harry Sylvester and their ilk among 40 riders who will take to the track.
Promoted by the Indian Motorcycle League (IML), the MEL comprises a 90-minute run featuring all eight franchise teams that have been bought by the likes of FIA GT star Armaan Ebrahim and reigning MRF 1600 champion Ashwin Sundar.
TVS Racing has signed on as the key partner and will provide their Apache RTR 180 bikes for all riders.
Rasheed Khan, founder and chairman of IML, said: “I am really happy and can’t wait for the season to kick off tomorrow. I have to thank my entire team who have all worked tirelessly to make this happen. We had only one objective when we thought about this concept and that was to maximise the potential of these young Indian riders and give them the opportunity that they deserve.
“We have never had any sort of two-wheeler racing of this format in the country and there is so much buzz around the pit-lane. An endurance event is not about outright speed but more about strategy and the team that plans well will be in with a best chance of victory.”
Each franchisee will have five riders. There will be two bikes per city team with two riders sharing a bike over 90 minutes and a reserve rider. There will be a mandatory rider change after every 25 minutes.
To help develop young riders, there will be two junior categories with the Enduro 130 and Enduro 165 classes. These categories will be for novices who have a great opportunity to impress the franchisees for future rides.
Rajni Krishnan, who was the only Indian rider to win internationally last year at Losail, UAE, said: “After a long time, there is great excitement around motorcycle racing. MEL can change the landscape of motorcycle racing in India and I am happy to play a role in it.
“The riders are all talking about different strategies, ensuring we get to the finish line and who is going to ride when. This is going to be a challenge and I hope I am on the winning team at the end of it.”
Pre-season testing for the MEL took place at the KMS last month and Chennai Crackers were fastest ahead of the Pune Panthers. The Mumbai Dons were in third place with less than two-tenths of a second separating the top three