Motorsport returns to Chennai with domestic season starting in bio-bubble

Hemant Muddappa - the reigning champion and Nivetha Jessica emerged the fastest riders in the first round of the MMSC-FMSCI National Motorcycle Drag Racing Championship in Sriperumbudur.

Hemant Muddappa (c) flanked by second-placed Hafizulla Khan (l) and third-placed Harish-Naik.   -  Special Arrangement

The Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) on Sunday started the domestic 2020 motorsport season by conducting the first round of the MMSC-FMSCI National Motorcycle Drag Racing Championship in a secured bio-bubble environment at the MMRT circuit at Sriperumbudur near here in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bengaluru’s Hemant Muddappa (Mantra Racing), the reigning champion, emerged the fastest rider, a press release said.

Managing some 116 entries besides a host of officials, volunteers and employees, the MMSC went to great lengths to strictly implement the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and protocols as mandated by government guidelines designed to contain the pandemic, the release said.

“Following weeks of preparations and working on the SOPs as dictated by the government guidelines, it was great to go racing again after a break of seven months. Though we had to make do without a sponsor, we spared no expense to create a secured bio-bubble at the track,” MMSC vice-president Vicky Chandhok said.

“Of course, as per sporting regulations, we had a fully-equipped medical team to deal with any emergency,” he added.

He further said top priority was given to the health of all those involved in the event.

“As much as the sport mattered to us, we gave top priority to the health of all involved in the event. The strict protocols, followed by all at the venue, involved temperature checks, frequent hand sanitisation and physical distancing. We also restricted entry to only essential persons, besides competitors,” he said.

The release said in view of the restrictions, no spectator or guest was permitted entry to the venue, while each competitor was allowed only one helper or mechanic, and the races were spread over two days (Saturday and Sunday) so as to limit the size of the congregation to under 100.

While Mudappa topped the time charts, clocking a blistering 07.783 seconds for the 302-metre dash in the Super Sport 4-stroke above 1051cc class, Chennai’s Nivetha Jessica won the title in the girls category (Stock, up to 165cc).

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