Friday, December 27, 2019

racing is a sport ! certainly not on public roads !!


On the city roads, vehicle drivers instil mortal fear ! ~ one feels it more as a pedestrian or as a fellow user.  Vehicles zip past unmindful of those walking glued to their mobiles. There are some experts driving with mobile locked between head & shoulder too – at signals, it is always the fear & dilemma – vehicles fly past when it is amber before turning Red and on the other, some take a sharp shoot just as the Red closes and Green is yet !

Do you know what connects - Cigar,   Monterosso, Victoire Pisa, Glória de Campeão, Well Armed, Curlin, Invasor, Roses in May, pleasantly Perfect, Moon Ballad………………….  Sure, you would have crossed Guindy many a times and wondered why it attracts so many people vastly different from each other ! – have you ever ventured inside to see what happens inside ??  Sometime back I had posted about the  Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta held at Weymouth, Great Britain.  More than 1000 sailors participated in the Regatta battling across a total of 13 classes.   There is also another famous one -  The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race),  a yacht race around the world, held every three years.  One of the highlights of the event is the in-port race where spectators can watch closesly the action where man and machine engage in battle. 

There are various other races from the 100M sprint to long distance running, F1, snake-boat races of Kerala and races involving horses, dogs, elephants and more.  Cycling too ! ~ before becoming President, Donald Trump was the face of one .. The billionaire-turned-politician’s exploits and business dealings are  legendary, -  and there was this  Tour de Trump, a cycling event that was supposed to become America’s very own Tour de France. It was to be a cycling event the likes of which had never been seen before in the United States—with big-name bikers, international teams and a course that spanned the Eastern seaboard.  In the end, the race found a new and more stable corporate sponsor, became sanctioned internationally and rode on for another five years.

Anything on racing would not be complete without reference to F1.  Formula One (F1) is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix (French for 'grand prizes' or 'great prizes'), which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads. The results of each race are evaluated using a points system to determine two annual World Championships: one for drivers, the other for constructors. Drivers must hold valid Super Licences, the highest class of racing licence issued by the FIA.

                           Formula One cars are the fastest regulated road-course racing cars in the world, owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce. The cars underwent major changes in 2017, allowing wider front and rear wings, and wider tyres, resulting in peak cornering forces near 6.5 lateral g and top speeds of up to approximately 350 km/h (215 mph).  While Europe is the sport's traditional base, the championship operates globally, with 11 of the 21 races in the 2019 season taking place outside Europe.  Blown front axles were banned in the 2019 regulations. Previously, teams would direct airflow through a hollow axle, bringing a high-pressure jet of airflow out to meet up with the flow coming around the front wheel, thereby boosting the power of the vital outwash. Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari all sought to compensate for this by fashioning their wheel rims to induce a flow through the wheels, with cut-outs on the inner faces of the wheelrims.

Robert Kubica is in advanced talks to join Alfa Romeo as a development driver for the 2020 F1 season. The 35-year-old has been in negotiations with Haas and Racing Point about similar roles after announcing his departure from Williams. RaceFans understands Alfa Romeo is now the front runner to secure Kubica’s highly-rated services as a development driver.  Orlen, the Polish petrochemical company with close ties to Kubica, is also likely to play a role in the deal. Alfa Romeo’s sponsorship deal with Shell is set to end this year. While Shell is believed to favour continuing, the forthcoming merger between Alfa Romeo owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA has cast doubt over that.

On a totally different plane, there have been races on city roads, threatening and sometimes killing and maiming people too and this news in Times of India Chennai edition offers solace. In a Christmas eve crackdown on bike racers, the Chennai police have seized more than 80 two-wheelers and registered about 100 cases against 150 youths for rash driving and endangering others. Based on a specific tip, police laid traps on Kamarajar Salai, Anna Salai, Sardar Patel Road and Dr Radhakrishanan Salai to catch the racers. They set up barricades at various points and closed some stretches to funnel bikers towards spots where law-enforcers waited in strength.

A police officer who was part of the crackdown said bikers use Whites road and Westcott road to access Anna Salai so they set a trap near the clock tower at Royapettah. When police barricaded all the main junctions along the Marina, the racers had to cross the clock tower to reach Pattulas road. Since it was a turn, they did not know that police were waiting ahead of them. Once they reached the spot, police blocked the road from behind as well, trapping them on Westcott road alongside the Royapettah government hospital. Similar traps were set at Mylapore and near the Kannagi statue, said police.

While 120 people were booked under IPC section 336 (Act endangering life or personal safety of others) and sector 114 (Abettor present when offence is committed), the other 30 people were booked under various sections of the Motor Vehicle Act for overspeeding and rash and negligent driving. Police said that all the men were released on station bail and this time, instead of calling their parents, they were asked to collect the two-wheelers from court. These racers for sure scare the life of other road users and a Police officer said that such attempts to scare people would be dealt with an iron fist !

Welcome !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Dec 2019.

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