TVS Apache Racing Experience - Taming the TVS Apache RR310 OMC Race Bike

  • Apr 23, 2024
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We got a chance to participate in two races alongside the TVS ARE GP championships astride the TVS Apache RR 310 OMC race bike

TVS Motor Company has been heavily involved in the racing scene in India, conducting various training sessions and One Make Championships at race tracks over the years. Their latest initiative was the ARE (Apache Racing Experience) Championships which gave a chance to TVS bike owners to showcase their talents and participate in a motorcycle racing championship.

What are the TVS ARE GP championships?

The process for this championship series included selection rounds in 20 cities under four categories: 160cc, 180cc, 200cc, and 310cc. This championship finale took place at the MMRT (Madras Motor Race Track) in Chennai and gave an opportunity to 48 top customers to ride the TVS OMC race-spec variants of the TVS Apache RR 310 and TVS Apache RTR 200 4V on the race track. Alongside these races, we were also given the opportunity to take part in a separate category, especially for the media. Here is a report on the experience of taming the Apache RR 310 OMC bike in a race.

Taming the TVS RR 310 OMC race bike

One of the main reasons I got into motorcycles was because of watching MotoGP races as a kid. So, race bikes have always been an obsession of mine. Considering that I had raced on the RTR 200 OMC bike in the YMRP (Young Media Racing Programme) in 2020, I was going to be levelled up by TVS to race on the RR 310 OMC bike this time around. My introduction to the race track was astride the RTR 200 OMC bike and it was surely an experience that allowed me to learn the basics in a safe and controlled manner. Some might think that the most powerful bike will be the most fun out on track but starting with the smaller machines is more insightful and acts as a stepping stone before riders jump onto more powerful machines.

The RR 310 OMC bike was developed in collaboration with Petronas and is surely a beast of a motorcycle. Before this weekend, I had only ridden this bike around for a few laps on track a couple of years ago. With all of the modifications, it is lighter, faster, and ergonomically, way more aggressive than the stock motorcycle which we are all so familiar with. Usually, we progress over a weekend, but this time it was four sessions (practice, qualifying, Race 1, and Race 2) spanned out over a Sunday, so I was going to have to learn and adapt quicker than usual. Moreover, the heat in Chennai was just adding to the challenge.

In the practice session, I felt really uncomfortable astride the bike and was just trying to figure out the perfect riding position to attack the corners. The RR 310 OMC bike has aggressively set clip-on handlebars and footpegs, making you feel like you are sitting over the bike and its front end pointed towards the ground. It also uses a quick throttle that you have to be gentle with while powering out of corners. I did have a few slippery moments as I got greedy with the throttle but the grip from the TVS Eurogrip Protorq Xtreme tyres was phenomenal and always had my back. 

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Instead of working on everything at once, I broke it down and decided to enter corners in a gear higher than usual. This allowed me to smoothly power out of corners while I focused on what lines I was going to use. A few laps later, I was back to adjusting my hand to the throttle action and trying to find the limit of lean angle that I could carry through the flowing corners. To my surprise, I entered the pits after practice and realised that I was second-fastest, with a time of 2:08:003 minutes. That surely gave me a boost before going in for the qualifying session.

Like any other motorcycle, I was getting used to the bike a couple of laps into the qualifying session but it was still a demanding bike to ride. The qualifying session was all about being as quick as possible but without making any mistakes. The latter is the harder part. In racing, one mistake can ruin progress that you've made over a full day or a weekend, and while pushing, you're bound to make mistakes. I could have very well entered the pits after a couple of laps, but I decided to keep riding until I saw the chequered flags that ended the session. This way, I would get in as many laps as possible and hopefully get an even better timing. The work paid off and I was around 1.5 seconds quicker than my time in practice (2.06.649 minutes), which meant I qualified P3 on the grid.

Riding a bike out on track alone in qualifying and racing are very different experiences. The pressure gets to you and as friendly as we all say media races are, you know it's going to be elbows out as soon as the lights go out. In qualifying, we fixate on finding the fastest lines through the circuit, but when it's a race, the focus is either on getting ahead or defending your position until the very end. This shift in focus is a major adjustment for a rider and mistakes are what get made in turn.

Fortunately, by now, I felt like one with the RR 310 OMC bike so the races went great and I managed to bag a third-place finish in Race 1, followed by a second-place finish in Race 2, putting me at an overall third place in the championship standings in this category. And by the end of the day, the best part was clocking a personal best time of 2.05.330 minutes. All of this wouldn't have been possible without slowly progressing over the years and honing my skills on the race track. I still made a couple of mistakes in the races and learned where I need to improve in the future. The RR 310 OMC race bike was an aggressive and challenging machine to master, but it surely taught me a lot about racing astride a ‘proper’ race-spec machine.

TVS Apache RR 310 Video Review

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