Chennai, Feb 13: The Indian Motorcycle League took a big step forward from conceptual to reality following the formation of eight city-based franchise teams after an auction of the riders here Thursday.
The eight teams will be representing the cities of Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin, Hyderabad, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Coimbatore (Kovai). Each team comprises of five riders headed by an experienced racer.
Among the eight owners are former Formula racing driver Armaan Ebrahim, former National champions R.A. Abdullah and Ashwin Sundar.
IML chairman Rasheed Khan said during the auction: “We are happy to announce that we are ready to kickoff the races now with the teams and riders in place.
“This IML format seeks to change the motorcycle racing scenario in India as well as guiding and nurturing talented riders by providing them with a right podium to showcase their skills.”
The IML is supported by TVS Racing who are providing Apache RTR180 to the riders. The riders were selected after a two-day training-cum-trials at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore earlier this month.
The inaugural pre-season testing will be held in the last week of February in Coimbatore, followed by three rounds in Comibatore, Chennai and the Buddh International Circuit in Noida, Khan announced.
Bangalore Bullets: Rohit Giri (Franchise Owner), Emmanuel Jebaraj (Chennai; Rider/coach); Naresh Babu (Chennai), Arun Muthukrishnan (Chennai), Parthiv Selvaraj (Chennai), Rajiv (Chennai), P Anand Raj (Chennai).
Chennai Crackers: Ashwin Sundar (Franchise Owner), Senthilnath (Chennai; Rider/coach); Jagan Kumar (Chennai), Prakash SK (Chennai), Kannan S (Chennai), Akash Desai (Bangalore), Balaji U (Tiruppur).
Cochin: Sreekumar Gopinathan (Franchise Owner), Dinesh Kumar (Chennai), Lal Rindika (Mizoram), Harshit Rao (Bangalore), Thamarai Kannan (Chennai), Vamsi Krishna (Chennai).
Delhi Dragonz: Dilip Rogger (Franchise Owner), Emmanuel Clarke (Ooty; Rider/coach); Shyam Shankar (Chennai), Satish Kumar (Chennai), E Saravanan (Chennai), Deepanshu Bondwal (Delhi).
Hyderabad High Riders: Armaan Ebrahim (Franchise Owner), TK Vishwanath (Bangalore; Rider/coach); Vivek Pillai (Chennai), Ramesh Kumar (Chennai), KY Ahmed (Chennai), B Naveen Raj (Chennai), S Murali (Chennai).
Kovai: Sreekumar Gopinadhan (Franchise Owner), Deva Kumar (Chennai; Rider/coach); Harry Sylvester (Chennai), Vivek Mani (Chennai), Sandesh Prashana (Bangalore), S Anand Kumar (Chennai).
Mumbai Dons: Mrs A Sheeba Hussain (Franchise Owner), Sriskandarajah (Chennai; Rider/coach); Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai), Vidhuraj Meka (Vijayawada), Sunil Gopi (Chennai), Abdul Waheb (Chennai), R Karthik (Chennai).
Pune Panthers: Ansar Ahmed (Franchise Owner), RA Abdullah (Chennai; Rider/coach); Rajini Krishnan (Chennai), Abhishek Vasudev (Bangalore), Arvind Ganesh (Chennai), Akash Chandra Mohan (Chennai), Mithun Kumar (Chennai).