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Sri Lanka Karting to go international a la David Pieris

David Pieris is a name synonymous with Sri Lanka’s Motor Racing as well as the Motor trading industry. Pieris was a renowned driver in his heyday, but with time, he withdrew from the Race track to build a Motor trading empire, though his love for Motor Sports never diminished.

In 2013, Pieris initiated a fully-fledged Karting facility with a 775-metre Karting track under Sri Lanka Karting Circuit in Bandaragama. The facility became a popular destination for local Karting enthusiasts, enabling novice drivers reach fulfil their dreams.

By 2016, Pieris had been instrumental in introducing a few youngsters into international Karting. His aim today is to make this Karting facility in Bandaragama an international venue. This he revealed during a orientation programme where the 2nd phase of the track, an expansion, is scheduled to take place.

“The Bandargama track was set up around 2013. I realised that this plot of bare land had the potential as a location for Karting. One thing led to another, and this is the end result. Today, this is virtually a world class track and are looking at what more could be achieved  in Karting as a whole,” Pieris told the Sunday Times.

The existing 775-metre track is to be extended to a 1215-metre track, which is the minimum standard to host international events, in time to come. The aim of David Pieris and his group of enthusiastic Motor Sports lovers is to bring a leg of the X30 Southeast Asia Karting Series to Sri Lanka.

David Pieris (R) and Richard Lim discussing plans

“We missed a very good opportunity of hosting the X30 Championship last season. It is a very popular and classy event, not only in Asia, but also in Europe and other parts of the world. The organisers of this Championship were keen on conducting a Leg in Sri Lanka. It has 6 or 7 Legs, with 50 to 60 drivers involved. Furthermore this track is already certified by the CIK. With that we hope to go forward,” Pieris added.

With that in mind, Pieris brought down one of the best Karting experts in the region, Richard Lim, who runs the RL Karting in Malaysia, which manages a Racing team and a Kart assembly unit. Lim, a senior stalwart in Karting from the Asian region, and known for his vast knowledge in the trade, is impressed with the Bandaragama facility. He is very confident that the expansion will popularise Karting in Sri Lanka, and make the country a popular destination for Karters worlwide.

“We have an arrangement with David Pieris Motor Co. (DPMC) to fly equipment to them. In addition, RL Racing handles Eshan Peiris for international Karting championships. When we first came here 3 years ago, we suggested an expansion of the track to be of international class. Late last year, I got a call asking for expertise for a design to expand the track. We are already on track and work has begun on that. We hope to bring down the X30 Southeast Asia Championship and hold a Leg here annually. We have to finalise with the international authorities, which I’m sure is a possibility, when they see the final product,” Lim stated.

Even the facilities available now in Bandaragama, it is considered one of the best in Asia. But its present length is insufficient, and the expansion will add to its stature, according to Lim.

“Once it is done, it’s surely going to be better  than what is available in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Maybe, at present, Suzuka in Japan, next to the Formula (F)1 track, has the best in Asia. But this, is special, and I can assure that it will be one of the best in Asia, in time to come,” Lim pledged.

The expansion and hosting a regional Championship is not the only ‘must do’ in Pieris’ agenda. His plans run far beyond, with his biggest aim being to ‘lure’ youngsters into Motor Racing through Karting, which is the ‘cradle’ for any top driver. Knowing that international races don’t generate income, but only prestige and thrills to Motor Sports lovers and promoters, while it is also a money-consuming project, Pieris’ plans to promote the country through Sports Tourism.

Work has already begun on the expansion of the track

“It has tremendous potential on that aspect. It will help the country, drivers and the establishment develop. It’s a very hard fight, but we are making progress. We have taken 3 young and committed drivers to Malaysia, and they are currently performing well in Karting. What one needs is the passion, dedication and commitment to do it. The target is the younger crowd, who have the potential to perform well and become top world class Karters. I have plans to build a team to represent the country. Now, we see that Indonesia has reached the level of producing F1 drivers, so has Japan. To achieve that, Karting is the foundation. But I sincerely hope there would be no outside influence spoiling the progress. What I have witnessed over the years with other sports is that, because of unnecessary outside pressure, most of the well-to-do sports in Sri Lanka have become under-performing units. I will not allow that to happen in Karting. We have many things to be proud of in Karting but never appreciated or recognised at all. Our intention is to change that mindset,” Pieris stated.

“We have to complete the track by October this year. Lim is helping us with the track and on how to obtain its approval from the relevant authorities. We have to submit the applications, while the registration fees has already been paid. Once it’s approved, I can assure this track would be world class. We understand that, to produce an F1 driver is not a possibility in the near future, but we have the ability to produce a Formula-class driver. We are determined to do that, and are doing everything possible to make it happen. What we want is committed youngsters with parental backing. We are setting the ideal platform for that, we can do it,” a determined Pieris affirmed.

Posted on 2017-03-12 14:12:18
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Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

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Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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