Catch the First Formula racer from Assam
Motor racing is a sport which gives an adrenaline rush. It gives one a sudden burst of energy and oodles of effervescence. It is a popular sport in India and took off in the country in the year 2000. The first ever Formula One Indian Grand Prix is taking place in 2011 at the newly built Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.
Narain Karthikeyan is the first Formula One motor racing driver from India. Closer home, 22-year-old Alex Bora from Dibrugarh in Assam is bringing a name for his State by participating in Formula 4 races in Bengaluru. Right now, he is preparing for Formula 1600 which will again be held in Bengaluru. He occupied the first spot in the Formula Junior Racing Series 2016 held in Bengaluru and is all set to up the ante in car and bike racing.
Raised in a middle class family, Alex did his schooling from Tinsukia. Says the racing enthusiast, “I always had this craze for speed since my childhood. It is in my DNA. I started driving when I had walked the earth just for eight years. Though I had a yen more for riding bikes, but, sadly, there is not much scope in the Northeast for bike racing events (speaking strictly at the professional level) and also for motorsports events.”
After completing his Grade 12 in Assam, Alex headed for Bengaluru and got into bike racing in a big way. His father stood behind him “like a rock” in this endeavour of his. Soon, the racer decided to take a “full-fledged dive” into motorsports. He started with Go-karting at E-Zone and Grips karting track in Bengaluru and actively participated in many races.
He further narrates, “The journey has been smooth so far. In the year 2014, Volkswagen motorsport conducted a driver selection programme. From hundreds of entries, 23 drivers were shortlisted for the final selection and only 12 drivers were selected to participate at a national level race. I was the only one to get selected from the Northeast. That was my first professional race.”
Alex faces an uphill task when it comes to “arranging money” for motorsports as it is one of the most costly sports in the world. It is a tough job to find sponsors in India and he has to open up his purse strings to participate in the racing events. “As there is no motorsports event happening in Assam, I had to come all the way to Bengaluru to chase my racing dreams,” says Alex.
“Hitting the race track is a whole new ball game. It is not at all like the regular driving which one does on the road. There is a huge set of rules and regulations which one has to follow while participating in motorsports,” informs the racer.
Alex also informs that while hitting the race track, one is under “tremendous pressure” and the situation is similar to football penalty shootout. He also says that one has to be “totally focused”. “Sometimes, one does not come out trumps because of a mechanical failure in the automobile and, in most cases, it is engineered by one of the fellow racers. But, one must maintain one’s calm,” states the 22-year-old.
Alex idolises James Hunt and Ayrton Senna, ‘the names’ in the world of racing. “I totally focus on the vehicle and how it will have to be handled. One has to be totally fit, focused and determined and will also have to be very patient to stay in the race,” he remarks.
What is the difference between bike racing and car racing?
“Riding a bike is much more of a body movement whereas driving a car entails sitting in just one position. Cars are fast in the corners and bikes are fast on the straights,” informs Alex.
He wants to participate in the higher levels of Formula racing. He knows that to participate in these races, one must have “deep pockets and go in for aggressive training”. Alex dreams of changing the motorsports scenario in India and feels that if anybody has a yen for racing, one should “start young”.
Right now, he is driving Formula 4 and Rotax senior max Go kart for 2015-16 seasons. He sums up by saying that in the future, he sees himself in the international racing series and, if possible, he wants to open a racing track in Guwahati to give the sports a shot in the arm in this part of the country.