Kandy Musings by Hafiz Marikar: CEAT Kotmale Speed Hill Climb in December
The motorsports ‘drought’ to end in upcountry
The management team of the Senkadagala Motor Sports Club (SMSC), which is a newly-formed motorsports club by some experienced riders and drivers in the country along with some motorsports lovers in the hill capital in association with the Sri Lanka Motor Cycle Club (SLMCC), has now finalised all arrangements to conduct the most looked-forward-to ‘CEAT Kotmale Speed Hill Climb’ in December.
The hill climb will be held in the month of December with 10 December being the practice day, 11 December being the day for motorcycle and club events, and 12 December being reserved for car events, which are to be held at the Kotmale hills.
Previously, this hill climb was to take place on 1 and 2 of May but it had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the event is slated to be held in December and is going to be the first speed show of the year.
Amunugama and Malagamuwa
All top motor sportsmen and women are expected to take part in this hill climb. On Sunday (7), they had a successful meeting at the Kandy Eagle Residence to finalise all arrangements of the event.
It was also decided to invite Minister Dilum Amunugama as chief guest and the guest of honour will most probably be one of the motorsports icons of Sri Lanka, Dilantha Malagamuwa.
At the above meeting, members observed two-minute silence and prayed in memory of veteran motor racer Hafiz Cader who passed away.
The events list
President and the committee of the SMSC and officials of the SLMCC had another meeting a few days back and made all necessary arrangements to make this hill climb a huge success, in spite of the challenges of the present pandemic.
The events of “One-make Nissan march”, car events including GT car events, Formula car events, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) events, truck and jeeps events, and high-speed motorbike events ranging from 250 CC to 1,000 CC, are to be conducted this time and, in addition, there will also be a special ladies’ event too, in addition to an event specially organised for medical doctors.
An exciting prospect
For most people, ‘hill climbing’ is an activity involving things ranging from ordnance survey maps (OS maps) to rainproof clothing as well as car and motorbike lovers who are enjoying racing. Yet, it is also a sport that involves driving quickly up a narrow, asphalt hillside course, often a little wider than the car itself.
Hill climbing has been part of our motorsport calendar since the early days and many famous drivers and riders have competed here on the hills. Cars and motorcycles tackling an uphill course, one by one, with the quickest timer becoming the winner has always been an exciting prospect.
Over 200 entries
Competitors are given practice runs before the races start, and you are bound to get a minimum of two competitive runs, with your best time counting in the final results. The good thing is that, if you make a mistake the first time, you will still have a chance of making amends on your later runs.
According to the Secretary of SMSC Poorna Dahanayake, they have got 200 entries – 75 for motorcars and 125 for motorcycles. So, it is good news for the motorcar drivers and motorcycle riders that the much-awaited hill climb is finally fixed.
Hill climb sport events had been a part of Sri Lanka motorsports since the early days and many famous drivers and riders had taken part in those hill climbs over the past decades.
SMSC organising committee
According to John Baskaran of the Senkadagala Motor Sports Club, this time they have got entries from pioneer drivers and riders such as Ashan Silva, Ushan Perera, Kushan Pieris, Suraj Perera, and Maduranga Caldera.
The SMSC organising committee comprises motorsports promoters like Thusith De Silva, Poorna Dahanayake, Dammika Bambaradeniya, John Baskaran, P.H.N. Solomon, Errol Kemps, Lakshman Issack, Oshada Wijesekara, Sarath Tennakoon, E.M. Dissanayake, Akila Senanayake, Darshana Abeyasinghe, Gihan Deerasekara, Avishka Jayasinghearachchi, Eranga Ranasinghe, Madushanka Alawala, Thilanka Abeysinghe, Anuradha Navarthne, Taranga Dahanayake, Sena De Silva, and Weenu Braun.