The Maldives National Motor Racing President’s Challenge will award event winners with prize money for the first time, although for some racers the trophy and their “pride” are more important.
The National Motor Racing President’s Challenge was launched on June 27 in Male’, a week ahead of the competition to be held on Hulhumale’.
The Maldives Motor Racing Association (MMRA) is receiving support to hold the racing event from the President’s Office and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), MMRA Chairman Yoosuf ‘Maaji’ Mazin told Minivan News yesterday.
“This is the first event in the Maldives that the president is giving and it will be continued yearly,” said Mazin. “This is the first time winners will receive prize money, presidential shields, and trophies.”
“MMRA has been doing events on our own, but now we have to do something big because every year there is a football event also, something like a president’s cup, so that means we must also have something like that,” he continued.
International racers from Sri Lanka will be coming for this event, “so we want to make it huge”, added Mazin.
There will be over 100 race car drivers and motorcycle riders competing in the two day event, which will take place on Hulhumale’ July 5-6. Seventeen separate race events are scheduled for the final.
Most of the competitors are “youth and youngsters”, so having sanctioned racing events is important for road safety, according to Mazin.
“This [event] is important because in Male’ the youth have been using the road for illegal racing and there will be a lot of accidents. After we started this there have been very few accidents in Male’,” said Mazin.
“It will be good to control all the guys like that by giving them a safe racing outlet,” he added.
Mazin explained that he approached Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and “asked him for a budget to help with the event this time”.
“He has given us a committee from MNDF to make this event successful,” said Mazin. “They will be with us during all the events.”
“Nazim actually likes bikes and cars, so because of his interest he’s doing this for us, for the youth,” he added.
Nazim spoke at the National Motor Racing President’s Challenge launch ceremony yesterday evening, which was followed by riders displaying the motorcycles and cars that will be driven in the race and a music show.
Following the July 5 qualifying events on Hulhumale’, a music show and fireworks are scheduled to take place at 8:00pm.
“This is the most popular event for youth – after football – everyone likes to do racing and stunts,” said a local racer nicknamed Xaim.
“It’s every young guy’s fantasy to become a racer because they want to compete internationally.”
He explained that previously races were only about “fun and entertainment”, but have now become more competitive because sponsors are providing financial support.
Each team will make “big investments” spending approximately 100,000 MVR (US$6548.79) total, with upgrades for one motorcycle costing approximately 30,000 MVR (US$1964.64), according to Xaim.
Despite the costly investments, racers are still only interested in winning the trophy, not the prize money, because it’s about “pride”, he added.
Earlier this year, amateur and professional racers took to the streets of Hulhumale’ to compete in the Piston Cup 2013 racing challenge, the Maldives’ first official motorsport competition.