Motoring

From tank to track

Off-road racing champion CS Santosh recalls his early days on two wheels

As this story goes to press, I will be busy bashing dunes in the Peruvian desert, as part of the prestigious Dakar Rally. But before I learnt to accomplish wizardry on wheels, my relationship with two-wheelers witnessed a slow evolution.

My first interaction with a motorcycle was my father’s Yamaha RD175. I remember my father used to take me to school on it, and I would sit on the tank, like many kids those days. He had that motorcycle until I was in Class IV or V.

The very first vehicle I purchased was a KTM Duke 200 that I bought in 2011. I practised off-road skills on a TVS Suzuki Shaolin that my father bought me when I turned 18. That Shaolin was my ticket to racing. I took it to a local garage and removed all the non-essential components, like lights and electricals, and then I used to go to a dirt track on an empty lake on the way to Yelahanka, where I practised. I did my first race on that bike.

Palace grounds in Bengaluru used to be another favourite riding spot. Of course, it is much more commercial now, but back in the day, I used to go there and ride and then get chased by guards. I have fond memories of that.

The Shaolin was the stepping stone to acquiring off-road skills, but I do not own it now. I think I had it for about three years or so.

As told to Sooraj Rajmohan

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:16:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/from-tank-to-track/article22403577.ece

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