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|7th December 2007, 10:43||#1|
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World class racing track in Kolhapur
Father Fuels Son’s Motorsport Dreams By Building A Race Track!
James Jose I TNN
WHEN most kids in towns struggle to find a place to play in this day and age, Dhruv Mohite has his own playground. One fine day, the nine-year-old expressed his fondness for racing. And what did dad Shivaji do? The former motocross rider and businessman went ahead and built a sprawling Go Kart circuit in Kolhapur for his son!
And there were no half measures when it came to it. They went ahead and built the Mohite’s Racing Academy Circuit, which is the envy of the rest of the tracks in the country.
It also holds a National Grade A licence, which means it can hold National and Asia Zone events. In fact, it has witnessed many a thriller within a span of a year, since its inception. It has already hosted seven National championship events and one Asian event.
Land wasn’t a problem at all. With 200 acres of it which also houses the Mohite’s group of industries, Dhruv couldn’t have asked for anything better. Starting off with 750 metres back in 2006, it is now a whopping 1.2km with a really, really long straight and lots of tight corners and hairpins. “It is not one of the best. It is the best,’’ says Abhishek Mohite, his chest swelling with pride, when told about it being one of the best. Abhishek, who is also Shivaji’s nephew, oversees the Academy and the Racing team.
“As a family, we were into motorsport. My uncle (Shivaji) took part in motocross events. Dhruv showed a passion for racing but car racing was way out of the question because of his age. That’s when we decided that we will train him gradually and built a go kart track,’’ explains Abhishek.
Former motocross rider Ashutosh Kale, who rode for Team Yamaha and Team TVS Racing from 1995 to 2003, was put in charge of designing the track. Ashutosh owned a track called Hot Drive, five kilometres away, but it shut down due to financial problems. “They (Mohites) approached me with the idea. They told me they wanted to have a track for Dhruv. They also made it clear that it
shouldn’t be just a fun track but of international standards. We researched a lot, drew influences from the CIK (Commission Internationale de Karting, the governing body for karting), books about track designs, discussed it and came up with this,’’ says Ashutosh.
“We did quite a bit of research. We even went to Malaysia and had a look at the track there,’’ adds Abhishek.
“We are into construction work, earth work, dams. So we had the equipment to get the work done. I had the stuff and I laid it out here,’’ says Abhishek, when asked about the costing.
At present, with the current length of the track, some stretches have a maximum width of 12 metres and a minimum of eight metres. “We can have seven different layouts on this circuit,’’ says Ashutosh, a Hotel Management and MBA degree holder.
What about running it during the off season? “It is commercially not viable right now. If it was in a metro, it would have worked out. But then, running this track is peanuts for them (Mohites). Anyway, they run a dedicated Karting Academy here, so, the circuit is in use all the time. We have some very good drivers in Chittesh Mandody, Parth Ghorpade and Rounak Patil, who are all part of Team Mohite’s Racing. Moreover, it was not made with commercial success in mind. It was built only for racing,’’ Ashutosh elaborates.
“We plan to also have autocross events if possible, depending on work done on the run off areas,’’ says Abhishek. And this is not the end. Abhishek has bigger plans in mind. “We are thinking of building a racing circuit. It is just a thought as of now. We have identified the land for it. And by proper racing circuit, we mean on the standards of a GP2 track,’’ he adds.
Kolhapur may be a sleepy town in southern Maharashtra, with just a sprinkling of hotels and only one airline operating out of there. But with a circuit like that and a growing racing culture, it may well be India’s answer to Kuala Lumpur!
MOHITE’S RACING ACADEMY CIRCUIT
Track length: 1.2km (originally 750 metres)
Work started: March 2006.
Ended: September 2006
Width: Minimum 8 metres, maximum 12 metres
Events held: 7 National
championship events; 1 Asian event
Mumbai: The Mohite’s Racing Academy Circuit (MRAC) in Kolhapur has got the thumbs up from the governing body for motorsport—the Motorsports Association of India (MAI).
Robin Shroff, who is administrator and president of
the Karting Commission, India, says, “The layout of this track is very good. It mixes a lot of straights and corners, 90 degree turns, hair pins and no sweeping corners. And if you compare it to circuits internationally and Asia, it is not a tiring track. It is not that much of a technical circuit.’’
And Robin rates his very highly. “I would put it in the top 5 in Asia along with tracks in Malaysia, Thailand, Macau and Coimbatore. It is well equipped to run Asia Zone events,’’ says Robin.
Robin reckons it has a good chance of holding even bigger events. “They (owners) are applying for the CIK (Commission Internationale de Karting) homologation of the track. But first, they want to be get everything, including the facilities, in place.
They need to work on the paddock area, rooms for officials. They track surfacing also needs to be done. The run off areas are good enough,’’ points out Robin.
“As of now, it has a National Grade A licence which means it can hold Asia Zone events. After the CIK homologation, it will be upgraded to a International Grade B licence which means they can hold all events upto but not including World Championship rounds,’’ explains Robin.
With just a handful of exclusive go-karting tracks left in the country, the MRAC and the Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore are among the best on offer. “The track at Coimbatore is 1.1km but it is not an exclusive Karting track. It is a racing circuit converted into a go kart track. Goa is not a proper Go Kart track in the sense that the first corner encourages accidents. The first corner should be more than 90 degrees. Even the start/ finish straight is not long enough. Nagpur has a pretty decent track which is 700 metres but maintenance was a problem,’’ compares Robin.
Robin says to hold a big event, the minimum track length should be 900 metres. He plans to get a round of the Asian Kart Open Championship to Kolhapur and is in touch with the organisers.
Source - TOI
MOD NOTE: Post copied here to create new thread
Last edited by Mpower : 11th December 2007 at 05:36.
|7th December 2007, 22:49||#3|
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Abhishek mohite and gang are very very chilled out.Had the opportunity to stay with them while in coimbatore,..no high-handedness whatsoever.
Its good that they are doing do much to help the sport ..
|11th December 2007, 05:39||#5|
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I feel it should be possible to do a 1.0 liter racing series.
|11th December 2007, 09:52||#6|
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seems like a good effort in the right direction. Once we get an international circuit - the trickle effect will be sufficient for other companies to start looking seriously at motorsports.
Fingers crossed that MS now gets more TV coverage, rather than just news coverage.
|11th December 2007, 10:36||#7|
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|11th December 2007, 20:40||#9|
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