Stepping into this coffee shop on NIBM Road, Pune I am greeted by its owner. This gentleman like any owner wore this best smile every time whether we met over the cash counter to place the order or to strike light conversation while I sipped the brew served. It indeed is amazing to see him carry out business as usual and people like him are the ideal examples those of us who would like to call ourselves riders or “BIKERS”. You may not find this connection between a business establishment of this sort and a motorcycle, would you? Well the owner of the establishment – Vishal Sanghra happens to be an athlete, not just an athlete but an athlete who walked away a Winner.
Representing DSK Racing, Vishal Sanghra won the Pune leg of the Pune Supercross 2014 championship in the MX-3 category. What made this victory special for him was not that he won on home-ground or even that he represented a team that has its connection with the motorcycling junta, He won it with an injury. During the championship he had a fall, one that not only gave him an injury but two dislocated fingers of his right foot and was off the plaster 4 days before the race, limiting him to a bandage and a support to walk about. Google will give you a million similar stories about riders who made journeys to lands heard of either on the TV or seen in pictures, with similar situations, however finding one that has a rider celebrating his victory burning the last bit of adrenaline could only be counted in hundreds or may be even thousands – on a global level. Filtering this down to India, in a country that is “owned” by Cricket with other sports making headway through leagues, seeing a Supercross or even a Motor-cross race held in India on a global sports channel does seem light-years away. But for the efforts of the promoters of the sport as well as the team owners who are supporting this sport, indeed India will have its own Supercross or motocross championship aired on a Global television channel soon.
Adding to this would be athletes like Vishal who have had their fair share of falls only to come up strong and like in Vishal’s case win a race. Post the race when I met Vishal to congratulate him, he was seated in a folding chair pitched right next to his car. The adrenaline junkie who went berserk jumping for joy on track (incidentally right in front of me!) is also a father. Yes! like some of the riders today, Vishal is a “family man” and it indeed is commendable that he does enjoy that moral support to go out there and not just race but Win!
As a culture people are taking up biking or touring, as a sport every other road in the country would probably have its own wheelie popping teen. But understanding the risks involved which is not just injury but also loss of life is a reality that we ignore. Apart from the humility and courtesy that Vishal extended he also left a lesson for me – victory demands passion, passion demands dedication and dedication demands decision.Deciding to reach that victory lap indeed would have taken a toll on his daily life is what we may assume. As an option he could have sat out with the injury in the stands, however knowing the risks and making calculated decisions is what would have set Vishal Sanghra en-route to being on the other side of it – the side where I stood capturing moments of the Pune Supercross until he came by celebrating his Victory!!