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DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008

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Journey on a bike to a hopeful future



Pic: Thilak Perera

Don Manualge Don Gayan Sandaruwan is one of the finest motor racing sportsman in Sri Lanka who recently became the winner of the Fox Hill Super Cross event. After the victory Gayan was a bit busy with his after event activities and soon after he was free from his busy environment he came to the Sunday Observer Sport Desk to have a chat.

About yourself?

I am 24 years old and a product of Thurstan college and Gateway International school. I live at Batteramulla.

My father is D.M.D.Jayatissa a businessman by profession and my mother is Ruwani a housewife. I have a sister and a brother and are still schooling. My brother Shanuka Jayana too participated in the Fox Hill super cross event. Iím currently assisting my fatherís motor cycle spare parts business - Gayan Motors at Baththaramulla .

When did you start motor racing?

In 2001 just after my O/Ls. That was Colombo super cross -2001. The second event was Wijeyaba motor cross -2002 in Kurunegala in which I became the winner. I became the Sri Lankan champion in 2003 in 125 CC bike event and in 250 CC bike event in 2004. I am also the winner of the Fox Hill - 2008 held recently at Diyatalawa.

What is the make of your bike?

At the beginning I had CRM 80. Now I have a 250 CC.

What made you to choose motor racing?

Both my father and uncle were into motor racing. My uncle Raja Perera was the motor racing champion in 1998. Since motor racing was connected with my family I had a passion for it since my childhood. But my father allowed me to enter the field only after my O/Ls in 2000. My father promised to buy me a bike if I could achieve good grades at O/L.

Were you able to get good results?

Yes. I got 8Ds at O/Ls. My father was happy over my achievement and gifted me a bike. Then I became interested in motor racing. During a short span of time, I could excel in motor racing and take part in national events.

In the Fox Hill 2008, you were riding behind your competitor and you could only over take him in the air at the penultimate hour. Could you explain your experience?

Yes, I could overtake Pasindu in the air at few distance away from the finishing line. At the start I was at the fifth place. But after two lapses I could overtake him. I like performance in the air. Jumps in the air are longer than on the road. I have different styles of jumps.

How did the Nuwara Eliya climate affect your performance and what is your favourite track?

the climate was quite good. I had to take part in three races, Radella hill climb, Nuwara Eliya motor cross and Fox Hill super cross. I enjoyed all three tracks because tracks are different from each other. I could gather different experience from them.

I didnít face any problems because settings of bike were done according to the climate. Due to the cold weather I was not tired. It helped me to always give a good fight. Fox Hill track was the speediest one. But a small mistake could make a big difference. I had to draw full attention on the track.

In order to give a good fight you should have a good training. Where and how often do you practice?

I practice at a land belonging to a friend of mine at Hanwella. I spend the whole Sunday rehearsing on track.

That means Sunday is the only day you have dedicated for practice. Do you think it is sufficient?

I am too busy assisting my fatherís business. Sunday is the only possible day for my practice. It is better if I could at least dedicate two or three days a week for practice. Although practising once a week is sufficient to participate in national events.

But when it comes to international events it is always better to practice at leat thrice a week. And another important fact is that if I am to take part in international events I should practice on international tracks.

We donít have enough facilities for that. Such good tracks are available only inside Army camps and due to security reasons those tracks are out of bound for outsiders.

How is the support you get from your family?

I am truly happy and grateful to the support receive d from my family. My parents never neglect my requirements. They always try to keep my mentality and morale intact. They motivate me with courageous words and in every possible way.

Not a single event of mine which I took part in was left unattended by them despite their busy schedules. Support from my family is the secret of my success journey. Apart from getting a morale support from my family, my fatherís motor spare parts business is an added advantage in enhancing my performance.

What about your friends and fans?

Apart from their verbal support which means a lot to me in maintaining trust and confidence about my performance, their presence at every event I take part in is a great motivation and an encouragement too.

The cheerful applause and calling out my name during my performance is highly appreciated and I am thankful to my audience. I truly love them. My vast fan club never misses a chance to wish me before and after an event. I believe their blessings work on me for my victories and success.

I am happy to get to know variety of people. Having loved by many is a blessing for a person. I am proud to be one of them. I am lucky. My importance is felt by them. That is why they carry autographs when ever and wherever they see me to get my signature. And also they donít forget to share their comments on my performance.

They explain how I performed at an event which I hardly remember or forget altogether due to the nervousness during the performance. That is important since it helps me to correct if there were shortcomings. My audience is excited more than me when I perform.

That is because they love me and expect my victory. My friends recollect that when I had a fall at the Fox Hill event, the whole audience became silent at once and anxiously expecting what I would do in the next moment, whether to get up and continue the race or to stop altogether.

What are your future plans?

To win Asian Championship and then World Championship. I want to be a professional rider.

What is your message to those who are interested in motor racing?

This field is open to everyone. There are clubs like SLADA (Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers and Riders) where a person who is interested in can go and get information and get trained. I like to train those who are interested in riding since I have done many training camps for novices. I would extend my fullest support for them to come up in this field.

 

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