We got a chance to interview India’s Karting Technical Head and Entrepreneur – Sachin Mandody , Here’s what he has to say:
“Started to understand and know about Karting when my son Chittesh first showed interest when he was 7yrs in 2002.
The journey started from Kolhapur in those days it was only 4stroke karting and Jk Tyre were the first promoter.
2006 was a year when things changed for me and Chittesh,when Rotax came in India that time Chittesh was 12 when he first sat in a Rotax engine driven Kart the speed actually scared me as to see your 12 years old son driving these fast kart was not easy but Chittesh was very excited and wanted to persue it,but once I started to learn about the cost and the expenses it was very difficult for me to afford this, 2007 Mohite Racing was established as it was based in Kolhapur and the owners were our family friend I joined them and collected amount to buy a new kart (Birel chassis) and Rotax engine now the question was about the technical support and training which was beyond my budget, as I come from a Automobile background and personally worked for Automobile manufacturers and that time working for Honda as SM took up to Google on basics of Karting,training and technical know how I used to spend hours on reading and collecting information, the same i started working on Chittesh his driving technic his kart setup,every driver sitting in the Kart may show his bravery but everyone is scared this is one thing I learned and worked on it to remove this fear with my son this helped him a lot further ,I made it a day session in my training programme.
In 2007 the first round of Rotax in Coimbatore the first time for Chittesh on such a fast track and me his mechanic I felt I was looked down by the people around as everyone had technical support from abroad all the racing drivers with their instructors with racing experience in India done programmes, races internationally and we were on our first ever race,seeing the speeds I was scared I still remember telling my son if he is not comfortable we can call it off,as I felt it was a risk with no experience but when he started driving he had people turning their heads and he was on the podium finished 3rd in a grid of 15 it was unbelievable that gave me confidence.
Race 2 was in Kolhapur the Asian round with all the top drivers from Asia the grid was of 30 drivers and Chittesh in his second race and I as his mechanic with very little knowledge and for everyones surprise Chittesh was on pole with a big margin those days Richard Lim from Malaysia was our team technical head but due to financial constraints I could not afford him, but once Chittesh was on pole he helped me a lot to know about how the setups works.
After this race it was no looking back Chittesh became the National Champion at 13 this turned my carrier into racing, people started recognizing me as his engineer, we went to the world finals with this experience I learned a lot after this I was hired by Mohite racing Academy to look after training programmes and taking care of the complete academy I had tailor made programmes for the drivers interested, I had a few drivers like Dhruv Mohite, Krishnaraj Mahadik, Padam Danigoad,Mira Erda who become National Champions and are recently making their careers in different forms of racing there are few other drivers who joined different teams.
Financially I could not further pursue Karting for my son Internationally but I have kept on providing my services to drivers who could afford to oso,I also could do a session with Davide who is many time world champion and European Champion he was a great help to understand more about driving technic,
I would like to share my knowledge and help motorsports grow in India would like to see more and more talents from India racing Internationally for this whatever help required from my end will be always open.
At present Akbar Ebrahim has given me the opportunity to handle the technical side Mecomotorsports, this has helped me to be connected to Karting
I have also been able to start a small track in Pune where I want to help the talents from this side of the country to make a career in Motorsports.”
You have seen karting in India from initial stage.In your opinion how does karting help racers in their racing basics and techniques?
For me Karting is the basic of all form of 4 wheel racing infact it is also good for 2 wheel circuit racing,in that I consider 4stroke engine driven karts are the best form to make your basics strong, as it takes in very little error.
Which form of karting is more popular nowadays and why?
The single make chassis and engine championship like the x30 in India is getting popular as its cost effective,more relies on the driving skills, it’s good to develop yourself further.
Do our mechanics and technical team have the potential to compete in International races?
We have lot of talent, but we are deprived of the exposure as our mechanics and technical team has only 5 races to attain very few get a chance to go internationally,more over our Motorsports body should prepare a course where all the mechanics should complete this course either online or class room then they are qualified to be hired,the team principals need to back this, this will get them there initial knowledge then it’s all on job the more they attend races and practice session the more they will learn it’s all on field job,I will be more than happy to conduct programs for them, for me the more you give the more will come that’s what knowledge is all about, and no one can claim he knows everything everyday is a learning day, we have the talent need to explore it in a organised form.
We have seen many successful karting racers in the last few years.Are they contributing to racing community in India?
Racing is a passion it runs in your system in your blood I have seen them doing and giving back something whenever an opportunity to develop or promote Motorsports all the racers are doing there bit.
Your son Chittesh is also Multiple time National karting champion.What advice would you like to give racers to be successful in life?
For me again racing is a very good platform to develop the child’s approach towards life he becomes competitive, disciplined, I have seen this in Chittesh and also all the racers I am associated with.My advice would be, be the racer you have been, keep the same approach success will be yours, may it be racing or any feild you choose, I tell you nothing will be waste.
You own a karting track in Pune. Are you planning to train drivers there?
Yes that’s what our plan is to develop racing in this part of the country we have lot of talent but we lack the facilities and platform required, this is just a start.