Nashik 14th Dec 2008: C S Santosh dished out yet another flawless display to win the glamour events in the Gulf Cup ‘Clash of the Titans’ in Nashik on Sunday and emerged the undisputed king of dirt track motorcycle racing in India.
The TVS Racing Bangalore rider, who topped in all the earlier held four rounds — in Mangalore, Pune, Jodhpur and Nashik — and was an overwhelming favourite in this ultimate leg, again proved a distinct class above the field featuring only the top riders from the previous rounds. Besides winning the Indian Expert Class Group A Foreign Motorcycles upto 260 cc, he also won the Indian Expert Class Group B upto 260cc 2 & 4 stroke to emerge richer by Rs 54,000. His picking from the meet was the highest takeaway of Gulf Oil’s overall prize-money purse of Rs 3.91 lakh and trophies worth Rs 40,000.
Like in all the previous rounds, Santosh was a clear winner, winning the Indian Expert class Group A for foreign motorcycle after being challenged by his TVS Racing teammate Pradeep H K, who finished second and Veer Patel, who placed third. He was always under pressure as he went through the motions on the serpentine course but to his credit, he did well to strike the perfect balance on the sharp bends to stay ahead of the rest of the field and come out trumps. If his first race was rather easy, his second outing in the Indian Expert Class Group B was a close affair, with another TVS Racing teammate,, Arvind K P, who ran him close in the previous rounds, tailing him right through. Arvind, however, again had to settle for second best, with Pinkesh Thakker taking third place.
Much was anticipated from this Clash of the Titans, and none disappointed as they went through the motions on a specially-laid out course at high speeds, their superbly prepared bike raising a dust storm all over. The course laid out by organizers Sportscraft was really tough. In addition to the sharp bends there was also loose gravel and water-logged areas which made riding a dicey proposition, but all riders displayed excellent skills to come through this test of man and machine in flaying colours. If the experienced riders, like Santosh, Arvind, Eshan Lokhande Vishal Barguje, Eshan Lokhande and Rustom Patel, dazzled on their bikes, young novice Sudeep Kotegar was equally good as he won two of the three classes for novices. Watching him ride around the course, it was not surprising that TVS Racing decided to pick him for their team for the next season. He won the novice class for Group C bikes upto 165cc 2-stroke and upto 130cc, with Dilip K denying him a clean sweep by winning the class for bikes 130cc upto 165cc, where Kotegar placed second. Eshan Lokhande won the Private Expert Class for foreign motorcycles 260cc 2 & 4 stroke, beating back a strong challenge from Yogesh Barguje and Fabio Chindy, who finished second and third respectively. Vishal Barguje won the Private Expert Class Group B upto 260cc 2 & 4 stroke, with Snehal Chavan and Rustom Patel coming in second and third place respectively.
While the goodly crowd that turned up was appreciative of the event, the riders too were all praise for Sportscraft’s conduct of the Gulf Cup which saw four legs being held at different venues and culminating with the Clash of the Titans. They thanked both Gulf Oil and Sportscraft for giving motorcycle riders an opportunity to parade their skills and expressed hope that the event, despite the economic meltdown, will be held next year too.