TVS Apache 200 One Make Race Experience
Bike Tested: TVS Apache 200 (Track Spec); Test Location: Chennai
The track-spec TVS Apache 200 is completely ripped, it weighs 11 kgs less
Riding on the track is completely different from riding on the road. There is also a huge difference in the way both the bikes are built. Some bikes are built on the track and then a production version is brought on the road, while some go the other way round. TVS however got the Apache RTR series of motorcycles from the track and then put it on the road. As TVS has been into racing for quite some time, they had arranged an amazing track riding experience for the media. But Chennai was struck by the cyclone Vardha and the race got postponed. Later in 2017, the Madras Motor Race Track was opened for the final round of the national championship. We were there at the track not just to cover the event but also experience track racing.
Motor Quest: History of TVS Racing dates back to the year 1983, where there were about 100 racers racing all around on the TVS moped. 1991 was the year the Supra SS 100cc was developed for rally racing. The year 2000 was the time when the first 4-stroke 150cc engine from TVS came into racing under the TVS Fiero badge. TVS followed it up with the Apache 160 in the 2007 for road racing and the Apache 450 FX in 2013 as an adventure motorcycle. The Apache 200 made its debut in 2016.
So, the race weekend had a twisted story for me as I was on a vacation in Goa and getting back to work was pretty much amazing as I was going to race other journalists from the media. Well getting the hangover out of the body was necessary and hence a good sleep is all that I needed. When I arrived at the track on day 1, we had a practice session scheduled for us. As we reached the track, it was actually the second day of the National Championship where the Hondas and the open class racers had already completed their practice and few of the groups with their qualifying too. Although TVS had all its races in the days 2 to 4, the media race was planned for day 2 and day 3.
Every time you ride on the track, it counts, you improve lap by lap
The practice session was for a good 30 minutes while I was anxious on getting back on the track after almost two years. Got the riding suit yet I was facing difficulties even with the largest size of the racing suit available, cons of gaining excessive weight. Here at the event, one particular bike wasn’t just assigned to the rider for the whole 3 sessions of race. As the novice and expert category riders were also riding along, they were using the same bike which was kind of an issue as the requirements used to vary from rider to rider. We got 4 laps of riding in the practise session which was enough to get the hang of the bike and know the track well. There was an expert rider who rode along showing us the apex and the braking points.
So the first day was just getting over, we got to know the track and also could enjoy others racing. By the time we finished our lunch, there were multiple practice sessions and qualification rounds getting completed for the other class and manufacturers. We were pretty much excited, well at least I was! Looking at all the riders gunning out their motorcycles to its limit. There was a complete girls racing event too which was covered under TVS with the Apache 180. This bike was the completely ripped race-spec version of the street running Apache 180. These Apache 180’s have proven to have the fastest time around the track because of their astonishing power to weight ratio.
Coming back to us, as we were riding the race-spec Apache 200, there were some changes made to the motorcycle. While it looked a lot like the stock Apache 200, the difference was the covered headlamp and the tail-light with a free flow performance exhaust. The mechanical changes were more effective which included a lighter camshaft and ported valves helped for an extra 2 BHP bump in power. The weight reduction of 11 kgs from the weight of the stock bike aided more to the performance. The tyres on the Apache 200 were the set of Pirellis similar to the ones available on the road going version but these were of a slightly softer compound providing good amount of grip on the newly laid tarmac of the MMSC race track.