Travis Hall: New to the podium but not to tracks

Competing in the Round 4 of the Underbone 150cc class, he finished third and secured the first podium finish of his young career.

14-year-old Travis Hall rightfully stood out among all the winners across the various categories. (Representative Image)   -  PTI

While Anthony West took the plaudits at Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) on Sunday with his comfortable victory in the first round of the fourth leg of the SuperSport 600cc class championship, 14-year-old Travis Hall rightfully stood out among all the winners across the various categories.

Competing in the Round 4 of the Underbone 150cc class, he finished third and secured the first podium finish of his young career.

Speaking after the race, the Aussie said that Underbone 150 is a tough category but the humidity at the track made it harder. It also did not help that “the level of competition was harder than usual.”

For a boy his age, Travis speaks with clarity of thought. On Sunday’s race, he said, “First of all, I had a good start. I was in the front pack. I thought, so, ok, front pack, push ahead do your best. And then, by the end of the race, I found myself in the third position, and I said, ok, stay in third, do not let anyone pass.”

Speaking on why he chose to be defensive rather than take on the leading pair in the final laps, he said that the competition behind him was too strong to make any moves on the leading riders.

“The people behind me wanted to go past. I didn’t want them to go past. So, I tried to shut the door in every corner,” he said.

He mentioned the need to hold on to his position and having belief in getting the first podium finish of his career, saying, “I was pushing myself so hard and I knew I could get podium, that if I believed in myself I could get it. And I believed in myself. I thank the team.”

SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda Racing, Travis’ team, is understandably proud of his achievement. Yeow, the team coordinator said that Travis performed well but was quick to add that “he still has a lot of learning curve to be done. And he’s still young.”

With Australia not having any Underbone championship at the moment, he emphasized on the need for Travis to “learn more about his bike and be more aware of the racing conditions.”

Travis, in his eighth grade, might be new to the podium but not to race tracks.

“In this championship, I competed in Australia, Suzuka (Japan), now here in India. I’ve been racing on the road race since nine, and the dirt track since five,” he said.

Though the love for the sport runs through Travis’ family, he is the first person to take to the track rather than the stands.

Venessa Hall, his mother says, she loves Moto GP and watches it in Australia with her husband. It was his father who spotted his interest in getting behind a bike and has supported it ever since.

Travis has a 12-year-old brother Joshua who is also into racing but is “not old enough to compete in this”, says his mother, before adding that she hopes to be back in two years with her younger son at MMRT.

Travis, for now, flies back to Australia to get some rest. With his school helping him with a customized learning program to aid his racing interests, he has some catching up to do academically before he jets out again.