TVS YMRP: A Thrilling Motorsport Experience
Racing Diaries: A Thrilling Friday At MIC With TVS Racing

Close to forty riders on one of India’s most historic circuits, plenty of rookies, and plenty of fun to be had under the Chennai sun—TVS’s eighth-edition Young Media Racer Programme proved to be a highlight that changed my perspective on two-wheel motoring, safety, and a certain je ne sais quoi about closing your eyes, staying undaunted, and going for the finish line 

Let’s set the scene. Seven years ago, TVS Motor Company kicked off the TVS Young Media Racer Programme (YMRP). Initially starting with barely twenty participants and moving on to a record-breaking roster of close to forty in its eighth edition this year, the idea was simple. TVS, which has been pioneering racecraft in the subcontinent since the eighties, aimed to bring Indian media personnel—ranging from journalists to content creators—on one track, duking it out in a race series complete with a rigorous training programme, full sets of gear, and of course, the machines themselves. In these seven years, over two hundred media pros have found themselves upskilling and competing in various formats of motorsport. ‘No pressure’, I thought to myself. 


Meet the race-spec TVS Apache RTR 200 4V. Its agile base chassis gets an upgrade with a leaner weight reduction build, a free-flow race exhaust, ECU tweaks to the 200cc engine, and more under its frame


We kicked off our sessions by drawing lots to divide into batches of three, before getting acquainted with two of TVS’ major figureheads. First up was Brand Experience Manager Pradeep HK, a seasoned racer and racing enthusiast with roots in TVS Racing’s pioneering years. He gave us a lowdown, diving into the principles of the YMRP as well as TVS Racing’s many achievements over the years. Business Head Vimal Sumbly then spoke to the riders present, making a clear note on inclusivity in racing being a key point for the company (of the two women with qualifying credits to their name at the event, one of them was a seasoned podium finisher).  

Soon, our first-of-three lessons by veteran racing trainer Harry Sylvester took place, and on track, 10-time national champion Jagan Kumar and Moto3 history-maker KY Ahamed put us through our paces with a set of drills focused on racing lines, braking, acceleration techniques and even racing flag terminology; all of which contributed, lap-by-lap, to a riders’ confidence. By the time we left the briefing room for our final training session, I was riding harder than I ever had before, pushing the limits of the racing bike beneath me while, conversely, tempering and relaxing my stance. It takes a certain degree of ‘unlearning’ to perform on track, as opposed to the open road, it would seem—from focusing on lower-body movements to staying conscious of aerodynamics and of course, lean angles. Suffice to say, as a person who largely rides on an overweight (if charming) retro-cruiser, scraping pavement while a race exhaust bellows in your ear two seconds after an overtake is very, very difficult to forget. 


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After breaking for lunch and finishing our last session (which involved timing boards and race-start launches), it was time to get going. Though overcast, the humidity was certainly getting to many of us. While no serious crashes occurred, we did experience a few training incidents, including some riders zooming off track at a misjudged corner, or symptoms of an incoming heatstroke making themselves apparent within our helmets. Still, we soldiered on and found ourselves finally on the cusp of the 15-minute trial that would determine our fates. 

What ensued was dramatic to say the least. While my modest effort fell four seconds short of the qualifying mark, I did get to push harder, faster, and more aggressively than I ever had before on two wheels, and the feeling was exhilarating! Five-odd laps later, our batch crawled off the race bikes and climbed out of our suits, airbags and all, collapsing onto a chair and grabbing a bottle of water. Despite the physicality of the challenge, we all had a smile on our faces. 


Following on a key brand partnership in late 2023, TVS equipped every single rider with an Alpinestars airbag kit—bringing MotoGP tech to the world of Indian racing 


As I write this, I’ve had some time to reflect on the experience itself, and the training certificate that’s sitting on the left side of my desk. I haven’t taken it off yet, and I probably won’t for a long time to come. The TVS Young Media Racer Programme is more than just a race; it's a journey of learning, excitement, and personal growth—one that’s taken motorsports away from the television and into my personal memories. As for next year’s competition? You bet I’ll be giving it my all. 

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