Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Supercross walking down the ‘popularity’ path!

This piece was published in Sportskeeda

It’s a sport that lived the days of oblivion in its nascent years and has gradually shot into prominence. Supercross has indeed witnessed soaring popularity over the years ever since the sport was introduced in India in the early eighties. Supercross first provided the ‘international flavour’ in the country with the staging of the prestigious international motocross race (Rodil Trophy) at Pune in 1984.

The craze for Supercross is not difficult to fathom. Sport buffs relish adrenaline-pumping action and Supercross fits the bill with riders wowing the spectators with their table tops, berms and camel jumps. Basically, it’s a sport the crowds get their money’s worth.

Supercross is run in India by one central body - The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), who have steadfastly worked towards giving the sport a more ‘organised look’. The FMSCI National Supercross Championship was first conducted in the mid-nineties and with passage of time, the sport spread its wings.

It won’t be wrong to say that Pune was the place where Supercross had its birth as the first ever event was believed to have been staged there. Supercross has been immensely popular in Pune and soon the popularity percolated to the other pockets of the nation like Mumbai, Nashik and Kolhapur. Supercross also enjoys a loyal following in areas
like Bangalore, Mangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore. “Supercross is fast catching up. It is spreading beyond these pockets. Now we have riders emerging from Madhya Pradesh and Delhi for various competitions. It won’t be long before it spreads to the Northern belt as well as in the eastern part of India,” observes Praful Sacheti, FMSCI Chief Steward.

The FMSCI organises a decent number of Supercross events every year. Unlike the earlier National Supercross Championships which featured five rounds, the 2014MRF Mogrip FMSCI National Supercross Championships featured six rounds with the event being held in Nashik, Pune, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mangalore and Bangalore.

Watching a Supercross event undoubtedly provides extreme joy, but hosting an event of this kind is always fraught with challenges given the fact that dedicated dirt tracks are few in India save for a couple of them in Nashik and Kolhapur, both of whom are privately run.

“Preparing a makeshift dirt track is not easy. The involvement of technical experts is a ‘must’ so things like proper curves, jumps have to be taken into consideration,” says Sancheti, a former Supercross rider of the nineties.

Of course, taking up Supercross can never be an easy proposition as it is an expensive sport. A Supercross bike can cost anywhere between Rs 7-8 lakh, while the kit (includes jersey, trouser, helmet, chest guard, kidney belt, racing boots), of a rider can cost you around Rs 1 lakh. Supercross has all the moral support of the government agencies,but since they are not directly recognized by the government, the sport hasn’t been able to wear a ‘fully professional’ look, with most riders vroom for the sheer passion. “Most riders do jobs related to the automotive industry and are into Supercross for the unbridled passion they possess.”

The 3rd Ceat Pune Invitational Supercross League, which will witness its third and finfinal round from December 12, will surely provide an extra fillip to the growing popularity of Supercross in the country. The event is being organised by Vilo Event, whose Event Director & Partner is former international rider Eeshan Lokhande.

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