Racing riders made pawns | Sunday Observer

Racing riders made pawns

Pull out of Katukurunda meet in protest at massive increase in participation fees :

Racing riders in the Super class up to 1000cc have decided to skip the Rotherham circuit race to be held today at Katukurunda organized by the Sri Lanka Automobile Drivers Association (SLADA).

Nineteen riders who were listed to compete in this special class came together and decided to protest against what they claim are the Club’s unacceptable rules that have been introduced for this main event according to the leader of the group Maduranga Caldera who has been a champion rider.

Caldera made the disclosure at a media conference on Tuesday at the 80 Club in Colombo.

Caldera who has raced in local circuits for 22 years says that the organizers have taken a sudden decision to increase the entry fee from Rs. 4,000 to 10,000 which is an unacceptable change.

He said the event is run together with the 600cc class which too is something that cannot be accepted by riders who are risking their lives for the sake of the sport.

“We are never recognized by the Federation of Motor Cycle Sports in Sri Lanka or any club which conducts these races. They use racing riders to make profits as most spectators pay to witness motor cycle races rather than motor cars. None of our riders are professionals and they ride for fun spending huge sums of money just to entertain the crowds while enjoying their riding.

“Though these nineteen riders compete in one event only three will reach the podium but still they continue to race because they love the sport and have been doing so for many years.

These riders, especially in this class, spend huge amounts of money to maintain their bikes. Fuel and spare parts too costs a heavy amount,” said Caldera.

He displayed a tyre that he said cost Rs. 85,000 and many other equipment that are used when racing at meets.

“This year too many events were run and the entry fee was very much lower. Why this sudden rule was introduced to increase the fee only at the penultimate meet of the year is the question that matters for all involved in motor sports,” added Cadera.

Caldera further said that their protest is not to tarnish motor sports but with the sole intention of highlighting the heavy burdens imposed on racing riders.

“In support of our decision all riders in other classes too have come forward to support us by pulling out from the meet,” said Caldera.