Pannala races
Dilantha, Dinesh steal the show
By M. Shamil Amit
Motor cycle champion Dilantha Malagamuwa and motor car champ Dinesh Deheragoda were the cynosure of all eyes when the two landed a double each at the Pannala Motor Races held last Sunday at the International Track in Pannala. This was the first motor races to be held this year which was also held with new changes from power to weight classification to the internationaly practised cubic capacity classification .

Dilantha and Dinesh had no difficulty in winning their respective events with ease. Dilantha in particular risked injury on the eve of his departure for the Daytona 24 hr. race to be held in USA.

Dilantha, Sri Lanka's only international driver will be taking part in the Daytona 24 hr. as part of the British Rollcentre Racing team on Mosler MT 900 R. He completely outclassed the rest on the field to win both the Racing 125 cc event and the Open. However he had to withdraw in the 250cc event as he had a nasty fall but came back to win the open event.

Dinesh Deheragoda on his Mitsubishi Evolution VII came back to winning form with a grand double in cars winning both the Group A 1665 cc to 3600 cc event and the MRA Sprint for the 20 fastest cars.

Dinesh in the recent past has not got to the winning post on the local scene but he proved his mettle beyond doubt when he brushed aside stiff opposition from Thailand champion Chatchai Chaivan who was the sole foreign participant. Nevertheless Chaivan who was driving a car owned by Ajantha de Zoysa gave Dinesh some anxious moments.

The much looked forward Formula event proved to be a dissapointing one with many of the top contenders not taking part with only four vying for the race. In the third lap of the ten lap event it seemed the race were to be fought by only three. The leader 17 year old Thomian Dijen de Zoysa was way ahead of the others but in the eighth lap his machine gave way and a dejected Dijen had to give way to the eventual winner Dinesh Jayawardena.

The day started with the motorcycle event for Standard Novices upto 125cc which was won by Gayan Sandaruwan better known in the motorcross events. M. Manaf took the second race which was for Modified 4 Stroke upto 250cc. The third race for Standard Modified bikes upto 125cc went to Damien Goonetileke. The fourth event for Automatic Scooters upto 50cc for ladies was won by Kalpani Nadeesha.

Dilantha Malagamuwa won the fifth and eighth event. The sixth event for Standard Modified bikes upto 250cc went to Krishan Dias while the seventh event for 4 Stroke Bikes upto 600cc went to Bertram Fernandez.

The first event in the motor car category which was for Mini Saloons 1000cc went to Rohith de Silva. Stefan Furukhan took the second race for Novices upto 1500cc. One of the new events introduced which was the Ford/Laser 323 1500cc Carburettor was won by Sajaad Zuhair. The two Formula Ford 1600cc post and pre events were won by Dinesh Jayawardena and Harsha de Silva.

Simon Lourensz won the Group N 1400 to 1500cc event. While Nihal Premasiri took the Group N 1400cc to1500cc Carburettor race. The Group A 1050cc t0 1350cc went to Dinesh Jayawardena with Ravi Mayadunne taking the Group A event for cars 1400cc to 1600cc. Bri Ponnambalam took the Group N 1500cc to 2000cc event. And Dinesh Deheragoda won the last two events for the day.

The Pannala motor races was jointly organised by the Motor Racing Association and the Sri Lanka Racing Riders Association and sponsored by McFoil Ltd came under heavy praise from many motor-racing stalwarts including the motor racing governing body (SLAMS) President Suranjith Premadasa and Foxhill Supercross track designer Hans Ralf.

This is the way forward, because Cubic Capacity (cc) classification is what is followed around the world, Premadasa said. Ralf expert in desingning race tracks praised the surface and said that tracks like Pannala could improve the country's motor racing standards.

But for unknown reasons many leading drivers were not seen which otherwise the crowds that had thronged to witness the events would have enjoyed a better days racing. The majority of the crowd had come in the afternoon as the car races were scheduled from12.30 p.m. onwards. For the first time the motorcycle events were held first followed by the motor car events.

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