S. Divya chats up with Sarath Kumar on his passion for racing and more...
Sarath Kumar's only paraphernalia is his bike. As the first Indian to make his presence felt in the Italian Championship, this new racer has shown that he is here to stay.
Where does your love for racing stem from?
When I was 15, I saw my friend's cousin racing one evening and my love for racing was unleashed. Within a week I participated in the championship conducted by TVS and bagged the first place. Since then, there has been no looking back.
At 21, you have made your presence felt. What were the hurdles you had to overcome?
It has been hurdles, hurdles and more hurdles along the way. We've survived on my mom's salary. At one point, I had to even borrow money for a helmet. But my mother's constant encouragement has made me what I am today.
In a country where racing is not crafting its spaces, do you feel you are at a disadvantage?
Yes, pretty much. It's quite a task to adapt to international methods of racing. India lacks the presence of tracks and circuits, which hinders our practice sessions. Even in terms of sponsorships, there are a lot of issues.
You were the first ever Indian to participate in the Italian Championship. How does it feel?
From a very young age I've been fascinated with the idea of going abroad. The Italian Championship paved way for that.
So it has been a very enriching journey. Valentino Rossi and other ace racers began their racing careers with this tournament. So I'm hoping that it serves the same purpose for me as well.
I'm unsure about what the future holds for me.
I'll just have to wait for my sponsor to make the next move. I'm certain that if I can get the opportunities to train better, I will go places.
Divya is a II Year M.A. Communication student at M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women.