Newbies, veterans, and professionals said motor racing in Mangalore was languishing because of lack of sponsors. The sport was expensive and without funds, it was not easy to keep even for the talented to continue, said rallyists.

Mangalore had good riders and drivers but needed exposure. Mangalore should be promoted, he said.

In 2001, one round of the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) was held in Mangalore. It was 10 years since then and no such event had taken place in the city, said Mr. Rao, who has been participating in races for a decade now, starting with an Esteem in the Rally Star Cup, which consisted of seven rounds all over India.

Baban Khan, veteran racer, who said he has participated in 919 national , said, about Mangalore, “The talent is good and in the middle (for some time) there was gap, but that keeps happening. Now it is picking up and the youth will come forward. Mangalore is one of the motor cross hubs of India.”

The other cities are Bangalore, Mysore, Chikmagalur, Hyderabad, Kodagu, and Pune. Now, Chandigarh is “happening” and so is Noida, he said. With Formula 1 racing coming to India, the sponsors would come, he said.

Yathish Baikampady, co-coordinator for the Maruti Suzuki Auto Cross 2011 event, said the motor racing scene in the city was alive in the 1980s with events such as the Karavali 500 motor rally, which was the most-awaited event and Motocross Rally. He said riders who show off noisily on their bikes in college campuses do not participate in such meets. Those who participate in races meets do not show off “normally”. Even if they do, it was with restraint, he said.

Suail Ahmed , part of a team of eight enthusiasts that participated in Kochi, Bangalore, Madikeri, Goa, and Hassansaid, “We don't get much support from sponsors. We spend Rs.10,000 for just one event. Rs.45,000 is just for the tyres...some help we need. People think we just hop on to the bikes and go, it is not like that.”

  • ‘With Formula 1 racing coming to India, the sponsors will come'
  • ‘Bangalore, Mysore, Chikmagalur, Hyderabad, Kodagu, and Pune are the motor cross hubs'