Lot more to motorsport development than just the riders, says Hogg
There is increasing interest in motorsport in India, but a lot more needs to be done for Indians to go to higher levels.
In a big country like India, there can be no doubt about tremendous talent lying undiscovered. The two aspects are finding the talent early and having a good championship.
“There is big scope in India. There should be a good championship but when I say that I do not mean just the teams, but the organisers as well. It is also to do with the classes that are run,” Ron Hogg (Director, Two Wheels Motor Racing) told Motorsport.com.
TWMR are the promoters of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.
Hogg is impressed with the races in the National Championship. “I have seen the local races and honestly, it is quite impressive,” he observed.
“The manufacturers throw in money, prepare the bikes but nobody watches the races. They have to work together to solve the problem.
“The top class is the 165cc with bikes available only in this market. But the top riders, along with the complete package, is probably just four. That is not enough. It is quite predictable about who is going to be in the top four,” he noted.
“There must be a situation in which 10-15 riders can win the race. The sport will grow. The talent of the riders will grow and everything will go along that path.”
Right now, in India, there is limited interest from manufacturers in motorsport. Obviously, that needs to change. But for that, a lot more needs to be done.
“When you talk of racing, it needs to be a complete package. There needs to be certain mileage for manufacturers. It needs to be telecast and there should be spectators coming,” he said.
“All this will tell how the sport will grow in the future.”
There is again a link. For manufacturers to get interested, there has to be strong marketing. “Marketing has always been the key. But today, one has to justify it with all kinds of numbers,” Hogg felt.
“Manufacturers find that racing helps to keep their brand young and active and target the right market. They have to do much more but the organisers have to do much more still. We can’t sit back and wait for the industry to grow.”
Hogg feels more money needs to be put into the sport. Equally, the market needs to be studied to see what is best.
“It all boils down to money. And the faster you do things, the better,” he said.
“Organisers have to adapt to the current market needs to survive. It is just not the two-wheeler market. The four-wheeler market is also huge in India.
“If you design a truly entertaining race weekend, I don’t see why people won’t come to watch the races. You need to stop thinking that you need to do it for the racers, but also for the people,” he added.
The other part of it is having more events and tracks. It is easier said than done in India, but Hogg feels it is necessary.
“For such a big country to have a five-round National Championship is nothing. And unfortunately, it is all in one place. A country like India should have five or six tracks and at the very least, two or three venues. More should be done otherwise I don’t see things changing for the next five to ten years,” he opined.
Having the infrastructure and putting in money are only a couple of aspects. If we need to see Indians racing at the highest levels, talent has to be spotted and nurtured early.
“There are talented riders but it is too late. It is difficult to find good riders below the age of 20,” Hogg observed.
“Realistically speaking, if you are not 14, you are too late for the world championship. If talent is spotted at the age of 20, there is no future in the world championship. There is no way you can quicken the process.”
Asked if getting the big events (MotoGP or World Superbike) would help the sport grow, Hogg said: “You can’t deny that having an event like the MotoGP will boost the sport. But, does India need an event like MotoGP is something that only India can answer,” he said.
“Formula 1 came to India. You have to see if it helped the sport and how it has helped.
“If you have good riders in the World Championship from your country, then it is a good idea to have the big races in India. You need the spectators to come out and support the local rider.
“Very few countries actually benefit from having Formula 1 or MotoGP as far as the industry is concerned. For the country, it is good because it is global and all are watching. But if a fraction of hosting big events is spent for the National championships, it will elevate the championship,” he said.
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