Also scoring impressive wins on the day in the National Championship were Bengaluru-based Anish Shetty who led a podium sweep for Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing in the Pro-Stock 201-300cc category and Venkatesan who topped the Novice (Stock 165cc) race.
Sethu, who missed the first round due to international commitments, is in a catch-up mode in the championship stakes, and his hat-trick of wins took him to third on the leaderboard with 75 points behind TVS Racing’s Jagan Kumar (94) and team-mate Sarath Kumar (78) going into tomorrow’s second race.
The trio was involved in a thrilling battle that went down to the wire with Sethu, having overcome a poor start from pole position, managed to get past seven-times National champion Jagan on the last lap for a well-deserved win while Sarath followed the TVS Racing ace home. Less than a second separated the three podium finishers.
Equally superb win was that of 21-year old Rahil Shetty who battled not just his rivals but also his own error-filled riding before squeezing past TVS Racing pair of Deepak Ravikumar and KY Ahamed in the last lap. “I made too many mistakes today, but somehow managed to pull through,” said a relieved Shetty who started on P3. Despite the second-place finish, Ravikumar continues to lead the championship in this category with 86 points, followed by Ahamed (73) while Shetty (35) is placed seventh.
Racing on the same grid as the 301-400cc bikes, Bengaluru-based Anish Shetty logged his second consecutive win with team-mates Abhishek Vasudev and Aravind Balakrishnan following him home. Today’s win took Anish’s tally to 65, well ahead of Mathan Kumar of Erula Racing (47) and Vasudev (45).
Earlier, in yet another close race, Venkatesan also registered his first win of the season in the Novice class after battling Mohan Babu (Rockers Racing) and Abhimanyu Gautam (Sparks Racing) over six laps. Lakshmipathy Balaji (Alpha Racing) missed out on the podium by a whisker as the four crossed the finish line covered by less than a second. Abhimanyu, though, continues to head the leaderboard with 80 points, trailed by Venkatesan (73) and Mohan Babu (57) going into the second race tomorrow.
The results (Provisional, all 6 laps unless mentioned):
Pro-Stock 301-400cc (Race-1): 1. Rahil Pillari Shetty (Sparks Racing) (11mins, 41.443secs); 2. Deepak Ravikumar (TVS Racing) (11:41.990); 3. KY Ahamed (TVS Racing) (11:42.201).
Pro-Stock 201-300cc (Race-1): 1. Anish Shetty (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:11.667); 2. Abhishek Vasudev (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:20.100); 3. Aravind Balakrishnan (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:20.245).
Pro-Stock 165cc (Race-1): 1. Rajiv Sethu (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:01.973); 2. Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) (12:02.073); 3. Sarath Kumar (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:02.833).
Novice (Stock 165cc) Race-1 (6 laps): 1. Venkatesan I (Motomaniacz Racing) (13:06.397); 2. Mohan Babu P (Rockers Racing) (13:06.447); 3. Abhimanyu Gautam (Sparks Racing) (13:06.628).
Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup – NSF 250R (Race-1): 1. Md Mikail (Chennai) (11:04.391); 2. Varoon Sadasivam (Chennai) (11:12.581); 3. Kritik Vasant Habib (Gadag) (11:13.432). CBR 150 (Novice, Race-1): 1. Lal Nunsanga (Aizwal) (13:16.118); 2. Samuel Martin (Bengaluru) (13:16.240); 3. S Deepak Kumar (Chennai) (13:16.528).
TVS – Open (RR 310, Race-1): 1.S Kannan (Chennai) (11:54.079); 2. Soorya PM (Chennai) (12:02.607); 3. Aravind Ganesh R (Chennai) (12:02.680). Novice (RTR 200, Race-1): 1. Venkatesan I (Chennai) (13:24.694); 2.Lakshmipathy Balaji (Vellore) (13:25.047); 3.Ullas Santrupt Nanda (Bengaluru) (13:25.380). Girls (RTR 200, 5 laps):1. Nivetha Jessica (Chennai) (11:30.986); 2. Lani Zena Fernandez (Pondicherry) (11:31.075); 3. Lakiya Lee Charles (Chennai) (11:32.354).