Jigar wins a thriller

THE fourth round of the JK Tyre National karting championship was set on one of the finest tracks in India — the Hakone Go-Karting Sports Centre in the Hiranandani Gardens in the Mumbai suburb, Powai. This is the only track in India that is built on an incline on a mound, reminding one of some of the stretches in the Formula One tracks.

The winners of the Senior Class in Mumbai (from left): Ashok Jadhav (runner-up), Jigar Muni (first) and Saif Rais (third).

Timed practice started the proceedings for the weekend. The qualifying heats slotted out the grid positions and the stage was set for the final of the Mumbai round, the next day. Pop star Remo Fernandes and his troop kept the crowd in high spirits as the racing began.

The first final of the day featured the Junior Class (12-16 years) and challenging the male-dominated sport was a young girl, Dishali Patel. As the race was flagged off, Sharan Parekh went into the lead. Dishali was close behind him, followed by Hursh Timori. Sharan maintained a slender lead, but the competition was intense between Dishali and Hursh. In the end, Kunal Khopkar, who was sixth on the grid, displayed grit and surprised everyone to take the third spot. The race had to be stopped and the results were declared after 12 laps, as a collision on the track had two of the karts blocking the route. Sharan, the winner, was modest in his comment. "Dishali was very good and could have overtaken me any time during the race", he said. "I want to make a career in motorsports," said a daring Dishali. Sharan will race at the Grand Finale in Delhi where the winners from various regions will race for the National Championship and the winner there will be awarded a KnK Genesis Sport Kart and a trophy.

The next race was for the Cadet Class (8-12 years), which had a 4-driver grid. Parth Ghorpade, who took the lead, had a crash in the final stages of the race. Mihir Patel, who showed a high level of sportsmanship, allowed Parth to move on, but even as Parth was accelerating to lead, Brijesh Singh, who was third until then, passed him and went on to win the race. Mihir finished second and Parth came third. Brijesh will now race in the Grand Finale in Delhi, where the top prize is a KnK Colt Kart and a trophy.

The race for the ladies was next in the agenda in which Perissa Banajee, Anuja Parikh and Noorjehan Anees finished 1-2-3 respectively.

The Grand Finale of the day was the race for Senior Class, which gave the crowd the thrills and chills that this sport offers. Mumbai's Jigar Muni was quick to race ahead, but right behind him was Ashok Jadhav, another well-known racer from Mumbai.

It was exciting to watch the eight karts race around the Hakone track fighting for the finish. Jigar and Ashok drove `bumper to bumper,' with Ashok making a valiant attempt to overtake the leader on many occasions. Even in the dying moments, Ashok made a valiant attempt to touch the finish line ahead of Jigar, but the leader would not let go and the two finished close to a `photo finish'. Saif Rais finished third. Jigar and Ashok will represent Mumbai in the Grand Finale of the National Championship in Delhi and the winner among the 16 finalists from all the regional rounds will drive home a 1.1 Maruti Alto Vxi, and get a Pro-Drive in the JK Tyre National Racing Championship, 2003.

The results:

Senior Class: 1. Jigar Muni, 2. Ashok Jadhav, 3. Saif Rais.

Junior Class: 1. Sharan Parekh, 2. Dishali Patel, 3. Kunal Khopkar.

Cadet Class: 2. Brijesh Singh, 2. Mihir Patel, 3. Parth Ghorpade.

Ladies Class: 1. Perissa Banajee, 2. Anuja Parikh, 3. Noorjehan Anees. — Scorp News