At the Madras Motorsports Club Irungattukottai race track, we sat with Prabhu Nagaraj, general manager, customer service, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), and talked about HMSIís participation in motorsports.
How has HMSI benefited as a company from its association with the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship?
Motorsports still remains a niche area in India. Therefore, the benefit, say, in terms of sales, is not much, but itís one of our objectives to expand the fun motorcycling culture in India. And motorsports is one of the best ways to expand that culture. Motorsports also promotes safe riding in perhaps the best possible manner. A biker who rides on the track in a full riding gear inspires so many enthusiasts to ride safe. Then, by participating in such events, HMSI is providing enthusiasts the opportunity to try their hand at motorsports. Indirectly, the branding HMSI receives from its participation in motorsports cannot be discounted. Motorsports is also an opportunity for us to prove our products on the track.
How much HMSI annually spends on motorsports?
Although it is hard to disclose the exact numbers, HMSI spends quite a lot on motorsports. Just look around, we have provided 100-odd motorcycles for the race. Then, we supply a lot of spares, safety gear, fuel, logistics and more.
Do you intend to increase the prize money, or maybe some initiatives to give more to the rider at the end of the day?
Motorsports is expensive. What we have done until now is provide bikes to the riders at nominal cost so that they can focus more on modification etc. Now, what we are focusing on is how to develop the riders further and how to give them global exposure.
There are only three companies who participate in this raceÖ
We welcome more participants. It will help develop motorsports in India.
Today we saw a crash during the Honda One Make 250cc raceÖ
It was unfortunate, yes. But please notice that both riders are safe. This sport is safe. Now, imagine such a crash to have happened on city roads or on highwaysóthat would be fatal. If youngsters really want to race, I ask them to please come to the track. That would help further motorsports in India. Why race on city roads?