Published: 23rd February 2017
From jealous girlfriends to burning rubber, here's what the life of Chennai racer Arun Muthukrishnan is like
Arun Muthukrishnan is one of those guys who decided pretty early on that he's never going to work in an office. His life was always going to be closer to the asphalt than most other people
Vroom.. Vroom. Vroom.. you often hear kids on their four-wheeled bicycles pretending to be racers. There’s something about speed that boys just love and continue to love even as they grow up. But not everyone gets to SPEED for a living. That way, Arun Muthukrishnan is a lucky young man.
“Like every other kid, I always had a liking for speed and adrenaline. My cousin and I used to collect a lot of automotive toys and try to figure out how they worked. I still remember how we used to tweak those small toy motors and make them faster,” says Arun, who ended up studying Mechanical Engineering at King’s Engineering College, Chennai. After a lot of protests with his parents, he finally got his hands on a sports bike - a sleek Yamaha R15. “I wanted to feel it, so I took my bike to the race track at Sriperumbudur for the first time in 2010 and loved the adrenaline rush,” he adds.
A lot of people still think racing is an illegal or irresponsible act of riding/driving on the streets. The reality is that we do just the opposite. We need more stamina than a cricketer or relay runner. During the race, our heartbeats go up to 190 bpm
Arun Muthukrishnan, Biker
Since then, Arun has been consistently climbing the ladder having been part of HelloCars Motorsports in 2012, Bangalore Bullets in 2013 and a privateer in 2014. He now works as an instructor and rider at Gusto Racing. Arun was also among the top three Indians to be selected to represent India at the Yamaha ASEAN cup in 2012. The highlight of his career though, was in the Indian National Motorcycle Championship 2012, where he won all the races.
There have been quite a few speed bumps along the way, he admits.” We riders compete at high speeds and even the smallest mistake can hurt and cost a lot - but that’s what makes it special. With improving technology, our riding gears are becoming really safe and so are the race tracks. I have had broken bones, deep bruises and flesh wounds. Every single relative of mine had tried forcing me out of the sport, but they were unsuccessful, he says, and adds, “Can’t blame them, who would let their loved one go in circles searching for glory and ready to die for it.” In fact, racing has even affected his social life, “Relationships are hard for a racer, as there won’t be much time to spend. Your girlfriend getting jealous when pit girls pose with you, is another problem. The worst is you end up talking about bikes and racing on a dinner date,” he laughs.
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In a country where motorsports is not recognised much, Arun feels that a racer’s career is no bed of roses. “A lot of people still think racing is an illegal or irresponsible act of riding/driving on the streets. The reality is that we do just the opposite,” he says. Reflecting on the intense training that racers undergo, Arun says, “We need more stamina than a cricketer or relay runner. During the race, our heartbeats go up to 190 bpm.”
Relationships are hard for a racer, as there won’t be much time to spend. Your girlfriend getting jealous when pit girls pose with you, is another problem. The worst is you end up talking about bikes and racing on a dinner date
Arun Muthukrishnan, Biker
With role models like Casey Stoner, Mick Doohan and Kevin Schwantz, Arun now hopes to win more national championships, compete in all possible Asian championships and win the Asian Road racing Championship in the 600cc class. His biggest dream is to compete in the Moto GP. “You can’t afford to make a mistake at such extreme speed. As the late Italian racer Marco Simoncelli said ‘You live more for five minutes going fast on a bike like that, than other people do in all of their life.’