National and International

Why did 70,000 fans flock to a town in Tamil Nadu to watch Indians motor-racing in the early 1970s?

Eleven years, Ranvir Ranjit and his friends spend the whole year from the month of February. The first weekend of the month that I would go to Sholavaram. Packed in makeshift bamboo is with a maximum of 40 000 to 70 000 spectators, who would wait with encouragement for the climax of its year.

It was an airstrip in dispute World War II, where every year during the first two weekends of February until the late 1980s, the engines screaming, the smell of burnt rubber, machinery the exotic and crazy men that they all Gathered at a great carnival speed for today is still flown the largest celebration of Indian motorsport.

“You’re not going to believe the people in the stands.” Today, a good cricket stadium, on average, will receive about 50,000 people. Imagine then that Indian motoring attracts a group of 40,000 to 50,000 people. Used to wait two weekends throughout the year, “he added.

Tickets in all categories of motorcycles and cars, counted to more than 800, according to Vicky Chandhok who ran there in the 70s and 80s. The state government will put the bus in the process of transporting the fans who traveled from all over the India, and from the track.

There was even a thriving black market for counterfeit tickets. Much of Sholavaram’s appeal was the cars and motorcycles that have run. It was the pre-liberalization of India. There was no television and certainly no F1 or MotoGP beams to people’s homes.

Sholavaram was where they had their stroke and perhaps the only chance to see the exotic cars in action, just like the Formula 1 cars Vijay Mallya or Chevron B42 Chandhok and a number of other pure race racing machines. “I remember that in the 1970s when someone says BMW, eyes pop up,” recalls Anand Philar, a journalist who covered domestic motor sports for about 30 years.

“That’s why when word got out that the boys brought all the imported cars, including their Formula 3 cars and Formula 2, that turbocharged vehicles is one of the reasons why they had so many people in the races.” “I have a television or other distractions, if you want to look at something, you had to see literally,” he said.

“But now, for a period of time when everything is open, I had access to the information, I had access to the images.Now, for example, I look at the guys like Rossi and all those guys. To stay home and see that, without bothering to travel 200 miles to see a race, “added Philar.

Driving the rockets were a group of characters that were so varied and exotic cars as they ran. Starting from Mallya and Chandhok, it was not the legendary S Karivardhan, who later built the Formula Maruti cars have professional leisure stores and gave young Indian drivers a base to build their sports career.

Indy 500 regular Jim Crawford also ran Sholavaram, as Tiff Needell, who made a summary of Formula 1 and is best known for his role as presenter in the fifth gear a television show. Also attended were drivers and motorcycle drivers Sri Lanka.