Rider stripped of title for grabbing rivals brake lever mid-race

Bengaluru rider Abhishek Vasudevamurthy, winner of the TVS One-Make Championship 2020 (RR310 category), has been stripped of his title in addition to the penalties imposed by Race Direction for his “unsportsman-like act” in the season-finale race last December.

The penalty is in accordance with the ruling by a three-member Indian Motor Sport Appellate Court (IMSAC) panel comprising Senior Advocates Silambannan (Chairman) and PR Raman (Member), and J Balamurugan, Chairman, FMSCI Disciplinary Committee (Member), after a hearing, attended among others, by Abhishek via Zoom Video Conferencing, on February 13.

In its ruling, IMSAC said: “Mr Abhishek Vasudevamurthy, competitor No.12 in the FMSCI TVS One-Make Championship 2020, be divested of his 2020 Championship title in the said Championship. The other penalties awarded by the Race Direction shall remain in force.”

The IMSAC hearing and subsequent ruling was a consequence of an incident in the eighth and final race of the TVS One Make Championship 2020 at the MMRT on December 20. On the start-finish straight, Abhishek grabbed and depressed the brake lever of fellow-competitor Anup Kumar (Chennai). Incidentally, Abhishek had already sealed the championship going into the final race.

After the race, the Race Direction summoned Abhishek for a hearing, following which docked him a fine of Rs 30,000 besides disqualifying him from the race. Further, under the provision in the FMSCI Disciplinary and Arbitration Code, the Race Direction referred the matter to IMSAC, recommending a minimum ban on Abhishek for one round of the next Championship he takes part in.

During his virtual disposition to IMSAC, Abhishek stated that he had apologised after the race for his action and accepted Race Direction’s decision (disqualification and monetary fine) while preferring not to appeal. During the hearing, Abhishek also conceded that “the worst-case outcome of the incident could have been one or more fatalities and accepted that it was a serious breach”.

After viewing the video recording of the incident and due deliberations, IMSAC observed that “the incident was a very serious and unsportsman-like act on part of the competitor (Abhishek) and that it deserved exemplary and deterrent penalty so that such actions are not repeated by him or by others in the future”.