iconimg Saturday, April 18, 2015

Vinayak Pande, Hindustan Times
April 25, 2012
Anyone who reads newspapers and watches television can tell that Indian drivers and bikers have a 'need for speed'. How else do you explain the endless news of mangled cars and bikes after their owners' impromptu and illegal joyrides went horribly wrong. While the root cause is more than likely the general sense of lawlessness on public roads (not to mention very suspect means of acquiring a license), at least now there is an outlet for those who fancy themselves as speed demons.

The Buddh International Circuit hosted it's very first open trackday on Sunday in which 90 drivers and 30 bikers took their own vehicles for a spin on India's only Formula 1 grade racing facility.

The trackday was open to anyone from the public who had a road-legal vehicle willing to pay the fee that would allow them to drive as fast as they could. Provided, of course, that they had the Rs. 4,999 and Rs. 7,699 to drive in a 20 minute session for bikes and cars, respectively.

Former rally driver and TV host Rajeev Khanna was one of the bikers to take part and gave an enthusiastic vote of confidence to the event.

“It was just an amazing experience for people who like to race,” Khanna told HT. “The whole event was pretty much amazing and I have never seen a more professional group of organizers.”

This year's Desert Storm cross-country rally's runner-up Gaurav Chiripal was one of the participants in the car category and was similarly pleased about having taken part in the event. “The facilities are the best in the country,” said Chiripal. “Overall it's a good way for people to test their skills on a proper track instead of going crazy on the roads!”

Chiripal was, however, critical of some of the other aspects of the event. “At the last minute they set up a very expensive food stall,” said Chiripal. “There also wasn't any place for families or onlookers to sit and relax.”

The owners of the circuit are planning five more such trackdays before the end of the year with the next one tentatively scheduled for sometime in the end of May.