The Pune-based rider has been associated with the machine for 25 years and he is the only Indian to have been crowned national champion in all the three disciplines of motorsports (motocross, rally and dirt cross).
He has participated in about 480 races and have won 317, out of these 223 were motocross events and also won many awards in Road Racing Championship and in Rallying field too.
Though Kothari retired from active racing in the year 1996-97, he began his second innings on the track as an organiser. Who also served as the chairman of the Motocross Commission, FMSCI.
Born in Pune, in 1965, Shyam Kothari comes from a transport business family. Shyam is into excavation business of building dams and irrigation canals.
He gives an interview to indmotorsport.com
How did you enter this sport?
My friend Raju Shaikh was a racer and he also used to maintain my imported motorcycle. So one day I went to service my motorcycle and he was going for his motocross practice as there was a big event coming up. He asked me to join him. I started practicing with him and maybe he thought I had some potential and asked me to participate in the event which I finally did. He asked me to participate in the novice class but I wanted to race with the big boys. I participated in the expert’s class and with God’s grace I finished second overall in that event and the rest is history.
Shyam, you have been awarded the prestigious “Chatrapathi Shivaji Award”, how do you feel?
The ‘Shiv Chattrapatti Award’, is given to the best sportsperson during the year. This most prestigious award is awarded by the State Government. It was a great feeling that motorsports got its due recognition and the award was a bonus.
Tell us about your childhood?
I have always been attracted towards speed. The spirit of adventure and the will to win got me racing motorcycles. I have also represented the state for football and cricket at the junior level but when I got involved in racing everything else was forgotten
I started out with motocross as you know that Pune is also known as the Mecca of Motocross. Pune also has to its credit the maximum number of International, World Championship , National Championship , open and closed events for motocross. I also feel that Motocross requires a lot of skill more than road racing and rallying.
But Shyam, don’t you think that the 2 wheeler events in India, has not got its due recognition?
Yes, I do agree with you. But there are a lot of criteria to look into. Firstly people think that it is too dangerous. There is no backing from the Government. Events have to be held more frequently and not one off. Sponsor backing, right equipment, lack of training, the list would seem endless but I feel now considering the amount of entries, we are receiving at our events, the sport is heading in the right direction and would soon get the place it deserves.”
Why our riders are not competent with International riders, what would you suggest as a remedy?
With the right training facilities and with proper racing motorcycles we could be in competition with some of the foreign riders but it will take some time. Well, I think as far as the riders are concerned we are trying our best for the training and provide them with proper machines and other facilities. But I think a lot of awareness should be created. Other organisers must also conduct motocross events in other parts of the country, we must have ‘motocross stewards/scrutineers’ seminars which would go a long way in improving the efficiency of our officials too.
Shyam, with your experience, don’t you think that it is high time that you start a Motocross training school?
Yes, I do propose to start a school. Now that the sport has got its Government recognition at least from the State Government, we propose to get land and build a track as soon as possible. We are also trying to import motorcycles to provide training facilities to the participants.
Your future plans Shyam ?
Our future plans are to start a training school and have an international event at the end of this year and with the kind of team backing me I am sure we would succeed in whatever we plan for.