VSA News speaks with Ms. Sharitha Madesh, Parent of karting champions at Vidyashilp Academy, Rohaan Madesh (6th grade) and Ishaan Madesh (4th grade). They have brought glory to the country on the World Stage by representing India at the Le Mans track- France competitively finishing 15th and 11th of the 76 participants from 46 countries.
1) How did Rohaan and Ishaan’s Karting journey begin?
My husband Madesh Lakshman is a huge fan of the F1 races and has been glued on for over 20 years! This interest made him scout for opportunities in the same field. We were unaware of the Karting possibilities and how huge this motorsport was until one day he came across an advertisement in an Indian based Motorsport magazine and the rest just followed.
2) What was their first championship like, how many have they participated in so far?
Both the boys started their Karting career in 2017 so they’ve participated in 3 championships in India till date across 2 seasons 2017/2018. And 1 season in Asia in 2017. Due to a clash of dates between the Indian Championship and the Asian championship they were unable to participate in Asia in 2018. Their first championship was a learning for all of us, we were unaware of the hard work that it required in terms of practice and focus, fitness was an issue and it was a huge eye opener on how important many other factors are for racing!
3) Le Mans in France was an impressive feat, how has the international exposure helped with their current training goals?
Le Mans was a wonderful experience and the boys did exceptionally well in comparison to the exposure that they’ve had so far !! Despite racing in Malaysia and Singapore it was their first time racing in Europe the hub of racing. They completed every race and kept moving up slowly showing that they possessed the capability of learning new tracks within a week and coping with racing in larger grid sizes. They qualified into the finals to finish 11th/15th at the world level. A lot of learning and a proud moment for the entire family when the boys raised the Indian flag to represent the country on foreign soil. France also taught us that with the right amount of dedication, hard work and practice, we can easily be competitive with the best from across the world.
4) What is planned for 2019-20
We are still in the process of exploring possibilities and working on logistics keeping school in mind, options being Asia or Europe next. As they have now won the National Championship, we need to look at higher learning for the boys in terms of competition and larger grid sizes.
5) How has the school supported you?
Vidyashilp Academy has been always understanding and encouraging the boys with all their achievements. When I had met the Principal, Ms Selvi with my concerns in regard to their academics she advised me to let them explore and enjoy their passion to the fullest and to trust the school with the academic part. This support from the Principal and the teachers has been extremely motivating and encouraging.
6) What is the Family ritual like?
During race weekends the boys follow an extremely rigid routine in terms of sleep timings and diet. Sleeping early is very important. At the beginning of the weekend, they have strategy discussions and a set game plan. The weekend is tense filled with excitement, especially with both boys racing !! After which we are on the track with qualifying then the heats followed by pre-finals and the Finals. After the weekend we review the weekend and look back at all that happened and the things that could have been changed. The entire family is a part of every decision made or discussed.
7) What advice would you give families who want to set out on similar paths?
Motorsport is a lot of hard work like any other sport, dedication and commitment more from the parents is the key to getting the children to reach that same state. It’s glamorous and an expensive sport so to be prepared for the same. Now the boys have reached a stage in the sport where they are way more committed than us which wasn’t the case initially. Another very important thing about this sport is that even if you’re on the top it just takes a fraction of a second to spin off or have a spark plug failure keeping you always grounded. Because it’s a combination of driving skills/machine/weather/fitness and not to forget a bit of luck. It requires a lot of hard work, long hours and extreme focus with sharp reflexes. Introducing kids to a sport or hobby is one thing but never force your interest on your kids. If they show the passion and interest in the sport they will be willing to put in the hard work. They will excel in any field if they love it.
Le Mans track- France Rohaan and Ishaan Madesh