The 26th edition of the Fox Hill Supercross, Sri Lanka’s premier gravel racing event concluded today(21st) at the Fox Hill race track situated at the Sri Lanka Military Academy in Diyathalawa.
The reigning champions, Ashan Silva and Ishan Dassanayake were crowned the best driver and the best rider of the meet for the second consecutive year running. Ashan dominated the SL GT Cars up to 3500cc event from the qualification day while Ishan Dassanayake had to work hard for his victory.
Ashan Silva who had earned pole position with a pre-race day qualification lap time of 40.851secs was given stiff competition by Kushan Peiris throughout the two races. Kushan was on Ashan’s tail throughout the entire race waiting for an opportunity so he may capitalize on any mistake by Ashan but did not have any favors from the front running driver. 2016 Champion who has been out of form during the 2017 season came out the winner of the battle between him and the rest to clinch the third spot on the podium while Ishraq Wahab and Tyronne Hendavitharana finished in the 4th and the 5th places in the first moto of the competition. In the second moto the first two places remained unchanged with Ashan and Kushan fighting a battle of their own, miles ahead of the others. Aravinda Premadasa finished third with Tyronne Hendavitarane finishing 4th and Ushan Perera finishing 5th to make up the podium.
National Champion Ishan Dassanayake did not have an easy path to the Best rider award as he was made to work hard by the rest of the competitors who were all out to make an upset. In the first moto of the MX Racing up to 250cc 4 stroke, it was the two soldiers, Sameera Premarathne and Buddika Kasun who stole the limelight. Sameera got on to a brilliant start and was closely chased by Buddika while Ishan had a horror start and had to fight his way up from the 6th place. Buddika who holds the record for the highest jump on a motorcycle by a Sri Lankan, used his ability to good effect as he managed to gain on Sameera through his jumps and got on to the lead with a couple of laps to spare. Ishan who managed to ride his way to the 3rd place had too much work to do in the final few laps and had to be satisfied with a 3rd place finish. Evon Gurusinghe who had a nasty fall at the start of the moto fought his way back to finish in the fourth place while Ken Wedisinghe breached into the podium on his return with a 5th place finish. The second moto of the race started off with Ishan Dassanayke taking the hole-shot as the gate dropped but was soon overtaken by Evon Gurusinghe. Ishan however backed his experience to wait for the youngster to make a mistake and capitalized in a corner managing to outsmart Evon to momentarily disrupt his racing line and take the lead. Evon had to be satisfied with a second-place finish while Gayan Sandaruwan finished third a head of Ken Wedisinghe and Bhanuka Ratnayake who finished 4th and 5th respectively. Soldiers Sameera Premarathne, Buddika Silva and Lahiru Jeewantha were all involved in a nasty clash which ruled them out of the race which paved way for young Bhanuka Ratnayake who was riding in his first senior competition having competed in the 85cc category last year to win his first podium finish in his first senior competition.
While the aforementioned races were hogged the spotlight of the event, racing enthusiast were treated to a unique experience in the Supermotard event with jumps introduces to the competition. National Chmapion Imal Manchanayake was put under a lot of pressure by Sacheera Rajakaruna who held onto the lead for the bigger part of the first race but lost his balance in the landing after completing the jumps which paved way for Imal to capitalize. Deshan Solanki came in second while Buddika Dinesh was placed third ahead of Uddika Srimal in fourth. Sacheera who paid the price for an abrupt landing had to be satisfied with the 5th place.
In the second race, Imal and Sacheera both had to retire after having a nasty looking accident which paved way for Deshan Solanki to win top honors followed by Chaminda De Silva and R M Safras respectively.
Fox Hill Supercross, the first stop of the Sri Lanka Super series and also the season opener of the gravel season provided thrilling entertainment to the thousands of eager fans who had gathered in their numbers to the Sri Lanka Military Academy grounds. It also showcased the competitiveness amongst the riders and the drivers who battled till the checkered flag.
If the indications of the debut season is anything to go by, Sri Lanka is in for a thrilling season with heart stopping action coming our way. Make sure to click on www.ThePapare.com/motorsports to be updated about all the motor racing action of the Island.