The Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida hosted the 5th round of the Asia Dream Cup which saw riders across the continent go up against one another for victory on specially modified Honda CBR250Rs.
It’s not very often that one fine day, out of nowhere, one gets a call up to visit the most prestigious and respected racing arenas in the country. And when that day arrives, there’s no thinking twice before grabbing that opportunity as quickly as one can. Yes, we are speaking of the Buddh International Circuit (BIC), and while I wasn’t blessed enough to see Lewis Hamilton zoom past me at 350 km/hr, what I experienced was nothing short of overwhelming and breathtaking.
Following my arrival at the circuit, I could immediately sense the air change its calm, cool demeanour to that of a fierce, blood-thirsty dragon! The 600cc supersports were in the middle of a practice session and that sure was one sight to behold if you are a racing enthusiast. From the media room we had one of the best views of the track, with the bikes sweeping through the final corner and then hitting the straight as fast as they can, before heavily braking into the first corner.
Coming to the Asia Dream Cup, it is essentially a single-make series of motorcycle racing organised by Honda for promoting aspiring Asian racers to the international level. It consists of riders from over 12 countries riding similarly tuned Honda CBR250Rs, all fighting for a place on the podium. The motorcycles are slightly modified version of the stock machines, with modifications coming in the form of engine tuning, racing exhaust, quick response throttle, as well as a quick-shifter. Although I didn’t get an opportunity to have a go on the motorcycle, watching it in action gave a fair idea as to the performance enhancements of the vehicle.
During the day we also got an opportunity to interact with the Indian contingent of the ADC, namely, Hari Krishan, Sarath Kumar and S Rajiv. Young and passionate, they explained how they were trained by Honda Ten10 racing academy before being given an opportunity to showcase their talents here. Also, we were told that the ultimate goal would be to send the top riders from the ADC to the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC), which is the 600cc supersport mentioned above, and from there the best performers would be promoted to Moto3, followed by Moto2 and ultimately MotoGP. So to summarise, the ADC is an extremely good opportunity for aspiring riders to make a career in racing through Honda’s training academy.
The format of the races were something I hadn’t heard of before. You had the normal practice sessions followed by qualifying, but the final race was, however, split into two, Race 1 which was held on Saturday followed by Race 2 held on Sunday. Despite their best efforts, the Indian riders were unable to bag a podium in either race. But we had Hiroki Nakamura of Japan bag the top spot in Race 1 while the Race 2 was won by Broc Pearson from Australia.
As the final day came to a close and we started to head back, a lot of things started to revolve around my head. I was thrilled to watch such fierce two-wheeled battles right in front of my eyes, while at the same time wished there was one more day of top class racing. And the dream to ride on a circuit adored by the greats will still remain unfulfilled. Well nonetheless, a brilliant weekend at the Asia Dream Cup came to an end and I returned to Mumbai with nothing but fond memories.