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.
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
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
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
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
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
What are your future plans?
To win Asian Championship and then World Championship. I want to be a
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.