Nalin and Vijaya, heroes at Foxhill Supercross
By M. Shamil Amit
Nalin D. Perera of Team Caltex and India's Vijaya Kumar stole the show at the 11th Foxhill Supercross held at Diyatalawa on April 19 2003. Nalin with his dare devil driving won the trophy for the best driver while Vijaya clinched the best riders trophy. It was a day of incidents where as much as five events having to be given a restart due to mishaps which forced the organisers to stop the race. In whole 33 events were conducted though the stipulated events scheduled for the day were 28.

A notable absentee at the events was motorcross specialist Nalin Perera who had to be a spectator due to a shoulder injury. Nevertheless the spectators were given a day of top class and interesting racing events with the hoo's and haa's being uttered when mishaps took place.

Talking of the mishaps it was unfortunate to see two cars one that of the only lady driver Shehara de Silva's Nissan March and Pradeep Jayawardena's Mitsubishi Evolution V being total wrecks with Pradeep's car being damaged and deemed not suitable to race again. But fortunatley Pradeep escaped any serious injury though his car tossed to the air and turned over several times.

Another unfortunate incident was the disqualification of ace driver Dinesh Deheragoda due to the restrictor not being in place after winning the first super car event. There were objections of many sorts but the stewards stuck to their word and declared Pradeep who finished second as the winner with Aravinda Premadasa coming second and followed by Nalin D. Perera.

Nalin in his Subaru Impreza 2000 after a tense battle and tactful driving won the second super car event from Deheragoda who was on powerful Mitsubishi Evolution VII with Riyaz Farook on a Mitsubishi Evolution V in third place which earned him the best drivers title. Twenty year old Vijaya Kumar from India had a wonderful day when he won all the four motorcycles events he participated. Local rider Udesh Wedisinghe trying his best was no match for this young man who rode like a professional making no mistakes.

Udesh was stronger at the straight but Vijaya never gave up, his leap and the bends were too much for Udesh. In the open motorcycle event Udesh was leading by a good 200 meters but Vijaya closed in at the fourth lap and overtook Udesh to win the event. In fact Vijaya was on a Suzuki TVS 125 as against his opponents Yamaha YZF 250.
Rizvi Farouk of Team Caltex and Upulwan Serasinghe were two drivers who had a double.

Rizvi in his Peugeot won event number 15 for Cars 8-10 kg/hp from Zakie Ismail and Nalin D Perera and then in his Honda V Tec Rizvi took the 18th event for Cars upto 1665cc with Dilantha Malagamuwa in second place and Rameez Mahmoor third. Upulwan in a Ford Laser won event number 20 for Cars over12 kg/hp from Shantha Priyankara and Nishan Wasalathanthri and then went on to win the next event too.

The days proceeding began with the three lap event for Forces Cars which was won by Bandula Seneviratne with Ravi Mayadunne second and Mahesh Parakrama third. The second event for Group T & J which was also a forces event saw Wasantha Madola taking the race from Indu Samarakoon with Duminda Jayasinghe in third place. A race that the large crowd of over 30,000 enjoyed was the kids Under 8 race where Joshna Hans Karpinski prevailed from Rushdi Irshan from Haritha Pilapitiya.

The fourth event for Motor Bikes upto 125cc-250cc went to Rohana Jayaratne on his Kawasaki KDX 125 followed by Indika Gurusinghe in a Yamaha Mobil and Manjula Liyanage. Nihal Weerasinghe took event number five for cars Nissan March 1000cc with Dinesh Senanayake second and Tharindu Lokuge third. The Motorcycle race for kids upto 12 years was won by Ishan Dissanayake with Shazni Irshan second and Aqeel Rizni third. Event number seven for Mini Saloon 1000cc went to Susitha Gunawardena followed by Hafiz Cader and K. Balasingham.

Vijaya Kumar succeeded in both the 125cc (2 Stroke) -250cc (4 Stroke) event which were numbers 24 and 25 pushing Udesh Wedisinghe to second place in both the races. Other successful winners in the Motorcycle category were Pasindu Peiris who took the 85cc event from Ishan Dassanayake and Sasindu Peiris. The second race for the same event went to Ramesh Buultjens who got the better of Pasindu Peiris and Rehan Buultjens. And the event for Motor Bikes 250cc (2 Stroke) -450cc (4 Stroke) was won by Thusitha Gunasekera with Indika Gurusinghe second followed by Rohana Jayaratne.

The T & J Non Turbo upto 3000cc went to Roshan Ratnayake with Prasanna Peiris second and Duminda Jayasinghe third. Nihal Premasiri won the event for Cars 10-12 kg/hp followed by Ravi Danawardena and Shantha Suraweera. The Group M & T Cars over 1050cc-1350cc went to Rameez Mahmoor, Dilantha Malagamuwa second and Rohan de Silva. Dinesh Senanayake won the Group T & J open event from Ravi Mayadunne and Gamini Nelson.

Mahinda Premaratne came first in the Group T & J Diesel 4500 T and Petrol 1600 Non Turbo event from Wasantha Madola and Indu Samarakoon. Javed Wahab the son of former racing driver Cassim Wahab won the Cars 6-8 kg/hp event from Team Caltex members Rizvi and Zakie.

Two captains concept
A lot of careful planning is required in the modern game to stretch the careers of players and make the most of what they can contribute to the team. A captain has to be able to find a place in the team, so that applies to him too. Add to that this is the sport where the captain plays the biggest role on the field. He has countless number of decisions to make within a playing day and each one can have such a telling effect on the game.

The Australians have come up with many bold, innovative moves in the past decade and almost all have paid rich dividends. They introduced the two-captain system. First it was Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh and now, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. It boils down to the physical and mental demand on the players. In 1985 a total of thirty tests were played around the year. In the forthcoming twelve months, commencing May, sixty four tests are scheduled to be played.

The number of one dayers have increased. Tours and travelling is chalking up a numerous of hours and thousands of kilometres. First class cricket has become more demanding. This calls for the players to be absolutely professional. So too those who are greatly responsible for guiding their destiny - the administrators, coaches, trainers and selectors. They have to be thorough, positive and always have a short-term, medium and long-term vision.

Hashan Tillekaratne has been persevering, dedicated and determined throughout his cricketing life. He has been rewarded by being elevated to national captain. Although there are two captains my opinion is that the test skipper is the national captain. His appointment at the outset seems to be a short term, if at all a medium term task. At age thirty five he is in the twilight of his career. It could be termed as a defensive move to hand over the reins to Tillekaratne. The selectors should give themselves a deadline on when they will be looking long term, on who will be succeeding Tillekaratne.

When Sanath Jayasuriya announced his retirement Marvan Atapattu looked likely to fill the vacancy. The present arrangement gives him a further period of time to concentrate on his batting in the longer game. Atapattu is at the peak of his cricketing career and this is also the time to develop and reap the most of his leadership abilities.

Should results be produced having two captains is certainly justifiable. At present with a World Cup competition completed it is the time when most teams reach the crossroads. a time when the direction of approach is crucial. It may not be possible to make all the correct decisions. However, should it become evident that the path being taken is not the best, immediate changes must be made.

The opportunity has also arisen for a few younger players to establish themselves. A season of domestic cricket has been concluded recently. It should have been recorded that a few batsmen should have notched up half-a-dozen or more centuries and similarly bowlers picking up five wickets in an innings on a similar number of occasions.

That has not been so. Cricketers aspiring to reach the top must not be satisfied with scoring thirties and forties or capturing two or three wickets. They must aim high big scores and noticable hauls of wickets.

Michael Van Dort and Kaushal Lokuarachchi are players with promise and in the test squad. Tillekaratne Dilshan gets another opportunity. New Zealand are not the toughest of opponents and these players must make the most of it and grab what comes their way with open arms.

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