While still in fifth grade, Allwin Xavier had his first good look at a motorcycle when a cousin visited his house. His feet didn’t reach the pegs, nor did he have any idea how the machine worked. But there was this unspeakable joy of sitting on the gas tank, twisting the throttle and mimicking the whir of the engine, pretending he was one of the many motorcyclists he saw speeding past his home in Thrissur.

Anfal Akdhar was no different. When he was 14 years old, he was sure that riding a motorcycle was what he wanted to do one day. He soon discovered the world of racing and was immediately drawn to it. But his parents’ reluctance meant he had to wait until adulthood to finally get a chance to hit the track.

Today, 22-year-old Allwin and 20-year-old Anfal race for their respective teams in the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship and dream of reaching the big leagues sometime in the future. Here, they share insights into their own journey and reveal how a bike enthusiast can break into the world of racing.

How to become a professional motorcycle racer in India? - MotoSportsNews

Start as young as possible

As with most other sports, getting into motorcycle racing at a young age is essential to having a bright future. The 22-year-old Allwin competed in the Novice category at the 2020 Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship against riders as young as 11 and 14.
“If a rider is under 18, he or she needs permission from a guardian to race. But at that age, the advantage is that multiple teams take care of the rider and manage all the expenses. For example, Honda has a separate category where they work with grassroots riders and nurture them through the years,” Allwin says.

He did a lot of his initial research through online videos to understand the nuts and bolts of racing before hitting the track.
“At 22 years old, my opportunities are almost over. Racing has a lot to do with age. If you look at the world stage, a lot of the guys my age are already established world champions in different leagues. And MotoGP is a competition to find the best among the proven champions. So if you start young, you can gain a lot of experience. Eight-time world champion Marc Marquez, for example, started riding a motorcycle at the age of three,” he adds.

How to become a professional motorcycle racer in India? - MotoSportsNews

Sign up for basic training and get your license for the competition

When Anfal had the opportunity to pursue his calling, he started looking for opportunities online. The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) has around 16 accredited academies that guide beginners through the basics of racing. In April 2019, Anfal joined CRA Motorsports in Coimbatore, where he received certification to drive on the track.

“My initial concerns were about safety, but I quickly realized that the riding suit, boots, gloves and helmet make for a very safe ride. Once you get past that, it’s all about the adrenaline rush,” Anfal says.

Allwin first completed an open-track session to assess his skills. He then moved to California Super Bikes in Chennai, where he was put through three days of theory and track sessions. In the end, he procured a certificate that made him eligible for a racing license.
“It’s hands-on training where a trainer follows you around the track and irons out your mistakes. The three levels of training give you all the fundamentals you need to race on a track,” Allwin says.

Certification by one of the accredited academies is essential to apply for an FMSCI license. For those under 18, a guardian’s consent is also required to obtain a license.

How to become a professional motorcycle racer in India? - MotoSportsNews

Get regular professional training with a team

In August 2021, Anfal made his debut in the national championships with Rockstar Racing. With the Palakkad-based team, he found a mentor in Mohammed Shafin, who prepared him for his first race. With only three professional race tracks in India – in Chennai, Coimbatore and Noida – the duo visited Bengaluru and used a 1km karting track for their training sessions.

“It’s a small track, but it really helps improve driving skills. We spent about a week there every month,” Anfal says. In Bengaluru, Shafin would guide Anfal around the track, instructing him on driving lines, braking lanes and body position. “I think it’s crucial to have a personal trainer if you want to get into racing. If you’re just racing on your own, the focus is only on the times you sign up for. With an experienced driver in front of you, a lot of the learning happens simply through observation,” Anfal says.

Allwin also trains with his team as a group once a month. However, he also organizes his own training sessions at home in Thrissur.
“Besides training on the track, I also do a lot of off-road training around my home. Not only does it help you understand your bikes better, but it’s also a great way to improve fitness levels,” Allwin says.

Try to find a sponsor early in your career

Motorcycle racing is an expensive affair in India. The most basic investment is Rs 1 lakh per season, which a rider has to pay to get into a team. If you perform well on the track, there is a chance that a sponsor will support you in the years to come.

Allwin had a good debut season with Rockstar Racing in 2020, picking up a few podiums and other finishes in the top-5, and it was enough to earn him a ride with Chennai-based Sparks Racing, which offered him a one-year contract at a subsidized fee.

“A rider only gets paid if he is picked up by a factory team. Only Honda and TVS currently have a factory team, which means most have to pay for a ride. The first year my parents supported my passion. This year I am supported by some motorcycle enthusiasts from Kerala. I also have the support of an established motorcycle accessory dealer for my riding gear support. It is encouraging to know that they see my potential and I am grateful to them,” says Allwin.

Anfal emphasizes that landing sponsors is more challenging than racing bikes in India, unless you can get on a big-budget team.
“It’s still manageable if you’re in the stock category. Once you are in the Pro Stock category, you need about Rs 6-7 lakh in the first year to build the bike. So it gets really expensive when you get into that category. After that, it costs about Rs 1.5 lakh for every season to maintain the bike,” says Anfal.

How to become a professional motorcycle racer in India? - MotoSportsNews

Sign up for smaller races to get practice

As a precursor to the national championship, most riders compete in pre-season races hosted by private promoters. These are single rounds of two races that set the stage for the upcoming season.
“There are about 15 races that a rider can participate in each year. In addition to these races, there is also an endurance race where drivers work in teams of two to complete the most laps,” Allwin says.

Focus on physical fitness to become a better racer

In addition to the work that goes into improving skills on the bike, a lot of effort goes into preparing the body for the rigors of motorcycle racing. Anfal has adopted a daily badminton routine that helps sharpen his reflexes and agility. He has also built his endurance through running.
Allwin has worked with Anish Shetty both on and off the track. As a professional racer and CrossFit athlete, Anish has a planned routine for Allwin to follow in the off-season.

No matter what level of riding you’re at, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of proper motorcycle maintenance. After all, your bike won’t last long if you don’t take good care of it. There are a few key factors to consider, so read on for more information.

What causes tire wear?
First and foremost, you need to be aware of the various factors that affect tire wear. There are numerous factors that can affect how quickly your tires wear, including riding style and frequency, suspension setup, weather conditions, total weight of the motorcycle, tire pressure used, storage conditions and tire maintenance frequency.

Look for indicators
Next, look for indicators that your motorcycle tires are fading. If your grip level is dropping, you’ll notice that your tires are moving in new ways. The change will be subtle at first and gradually increase over time. The shape of your tires will also change as they wear. For example, flattened sections of the tire may be present while other sections are normal. The middle third wears out the fastest. You should also keep an eye on tread depth, which naturally wears down over time.

Regular tire checks
You should perform routine motorcycle tire checks so you’re always aware of their condition and when they need to be replaced. Every week, check the overall condition of the tires, the depths read, and any signs of damage. At least twice a month, you should check tire pressure. Every six months, you need to check wheel balance.

If you stick to a schedule and perform these routine checks, you’ll have a better chance of catching problems early before they get too out of control. Not to mention, it will also keep you safe when you take your bike out on the road.

So when should you replace them?
Now that you know what to look for and how often to check your tires, how do you know when to replace motorcycle tires? When the wear limit of the tread is reached or exceeded, it is no longer safe to ride and they need to be replaced. If you have a flat tire, it may need to be replaced. Some punctures can be patched and repaired, others cannot.

If you notice unusual wear patterns, this is a warning sign that should not be ignored. This may indicate worn shock absorbers, improper tire pressure or a balance problem. When your tires are about five years old, have a professional inspect them and confirm that they are still safe to use. After ten years, your tires will need to be replaced regardless of their condition.

If you have any other questions about replacing motorcycle tires, we’d be happy to help. We can also help with parts, services, accessories and much more.

With the changing of the seasons, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for all conditions. If you intend to ride your motorcycle this season, here are some safety tips that will help you continue to enjoy the thrill of the road.

Don’t ride during an active snowfall
One of the most important things to remember when riding your motorcycle in the winter is to not ride during an active snowfall. Even if you are dressed appropriately and have a good grip on the road, it is still very dangerous to ride in these conditions. Wait until the snowfall has stopped and the roads have had time to clear before riding.

Park your motorcycle in a safe and dry place
If you ride your motorcycle in the winter, make sure you park it in a safe and dry place when you’re done riding for the day. This is especially important if it has been snowing, as now more than ever moisture from the road and air will accumulate on your bike. If you don’t have a garage to park your bike in, try to find a covered area that will protect it from rain and snow.

Don’t ride thirsty or hungry
Make sure you never leave your home on a motorcycle when you are thirsty or hungry. Riding in these conditions can cause dehydration and loss of concentration, which is dangerous for everyone around you. If you feel the need to refuel your body, stop and grab a quick snack and drink before continuing.

Make an occasional pit stop to warm up
If you ride a motorcycle in the winter, you’ll likely be riding longer than usual due to slower speeds. Be sure to take regular breaks during your ride to warm up and refresh yourself. This will help you stay alert and focused on the road.

Keep your speed in check
If you ride your motorcycle regularly in the winter, practice riding at slower speeds. Not only will this prevent you from slipping, but it will also increase your visibility and reduce the risk of accidents.

Make sure you keep a greater distance from other vehicles
Since riding a motorcycle in the winter is slower and more dangerous, make sure to always follow other vehicles at a greater distance. If they have to stop suddenly or lose control of the road, you will have enough time to react accordingly.

Use anti-fog eye protection
When you drive in cold weather, your breath and body heat can fog up your glasses. Make sure you use anti-fog helmet visors or goggles to prevent this so you can maintain vision on the road.

Wear the appropriate layers of riding gear

Layer 1: Base layer with full leg and long sleeves.
The base layer is the foundation of your riding gear. Make sure you wear a baselayer with long legs and long sleeves to keep your skin covered and protected from the cold. Thermal or dry underpants are an affordable and easy to find option for your base layer.

Layer 2: Middle Layer
The middle layer is important to keep you warm and comfortable while riding. This can be a fleece, down jacket, or other type of lightweight insulated coat.

Layer 3: Waterproof outerwear
The final layer is your riding jacket and pants. Make sure you wear a riding outfit that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable so you can stay warm but also regulate moisture on your body. If it’s freezing outside or snowing heavily, consider wearing an extra pair of riding gloves under your regular riding glove for added warmth.

You may also want to purchase a pair of ear warmers designed for use with motorcycle helmets. These fit more comfortably, don’t clash with the look of your headgear, and keep your ears from hurting in the cold air.

As with warm weather, also be careful not to ride without a helmet. Doing so could put your life in danger in the event of a skid, accident or car crash. Buy a helmet that is at least DOT certified for head protection.

Make sure your bike is well maintained

Before riding your bike in the winter, perform all necessary maintenance. This includes checking tire pressure, fluid levels and chain tension. Some key things to look out for are:

  • Physical damage to the motorcycle
  • Fluids and fuel
  • Condition of your tires and brakes
  • Chain tension

If any of these maintenance issues arise and you can’t fix it yourself, schedule a professional service with a nearby motorsports dealer. They can help you get your bike back in great riding condition so you can stay safe on the roads this winter.

Keep your tires warm

Cold tires don’t grip the road as well. To warm them up, accelerate your bike and brake a few times to generate heat from friction on the road. The engine will continue to provide ambient heat around the outside of the tires.

Watch out for black ice

Black ice is a thin layer of frost that freezes on roads in the early morning hours. It is common in winter driving conditions and can be difficult to see when riding a motorcycle on the road. If you see black ice ahead, slow down immediately so you don’t lose control or slide off the road.

Have a towing service in case of emergency

If an emergency does occur while riding your motorcycle in the winter, it’s important to have a reliable towing service on hand. This will ensure that you get the help you need as quickly as possible and minimize further damage to your bike. Look for a towing company in your area that offers motorcycle-specific services.