If I met Dean Mascarhenas somewhere else I would have mistaken him for a normal 18 year old teenager who does things which any guy at his age does (facebooking,twittering,bunking etc etc). He is a thin, frail guy with abnormally curly hair and his eyes have a sparkle which ignites whenever you talk about motor sports. At 18 how else would you explain 3 dislocations in the leg, a missing bone and infinite number of bruises unless it’s the love for motor sports.
We recently caught up with Dean Mascarhenas (the driver) and Shruptha Padival (the navigator/co-driver) from Mangalore – winners of 1400 cc category in Odisha Car Rally 2011.
When did you start driving?
Dean: I started driving when I was 8-9 years old. Since my legs wouldn’t have reached the accelerator, I used to sit on my dad’s lap and steer the car.
Which team do you race for?
We race for Team RAC. It is headed by Mr. Ranjith Ballal who is an ex-rally driver himself. Our car was completely worked upon by Team RAC.
Which car do you guys use and what are the modifications?
We use Maruti Esteem – Stock car (A stock car is a car that is purchased from the showroom/dealership without any modifications). In the 1400 cc category not many modifications are allowed except struts and there are stringent rules. We have to use specific suspensions as prescribed by FMSCI (Federation Of Motor Sports Corporation of India). The rear springs have to be original. There is a very narrow scope of any car modifications in this category of rally driving.
How do you guys (Dean and Shruptha) communicate during a rally?
When you are at speeds of 140-150 kmph, we have no choice but to trust the navigator (Shruptha) completely. He is the one who takes all the calls and tells me the direction. I just do whatever Shruptha tells me to.
We took a glance at shruptha’s notes to see markings like
500 + 1L * 1R – turn on L
This is just a simple way of communication between the navigator and the driver where it means:
500 m straight – then 1 degree left – then 1 degree right and a turn on left.
It’s a very common notion that motor sports is a very dangerous sport? What do you have to say about that?
The risk level has drastically gone down now-a -days due to the safety measures taken on and off the track. Any race car has to undergo many tests to prove that it is road worthy and safe. All these tests are carried out by FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Corporation of India). The temperatures inside the car go up to 70 degrees sometimes. A high risk insurance of the driver, co-driver and the car is also compulsory. Apart from this we use compulsory safety gear like
The game has undoubtedly become faster but also safer.
Who sponsors your team?
Finding funds for car rally is tough. For the Odisha Rally 2011 WOODLAND SHOES is our principal sponsor. The game is a very costly affair with each trip for a rally event costing us around 3 Lakhs including the fuel charges. It would be great if we got more sponsors who support and share our enthusiasm towards the sport.
How do you think events like Odisha Car Rally 2011 would improve the scene of motor sports in Orissa?
It would definitely help the motor sports community if more events are organized. Kalinga Motor Sports Club has organized a fantastic event. Even the tracks that were laid out were very tricky and world-class. The press has been pretty supportive in their coverage and this would go a long way in giving a boost to motor sports in Odisha. Also increasing the prize money of the Moto Cross events would ensure better participation in the sport.
Did you guys try Odiya Food?
Hmm not much. We were on a pretty strict diet during the race. But one thing that is very evident is people here are big foodies. We ordered a plate of Veg Chowmin and it was sufficient enough for around 3 people. We have a lot of issues about eating as I(dean) am a non-vegetarian and Shruptha is a pure vegetarian. But Shruptha has now adjusted to my weird eating habits <chuckles>.
Where is your next stop?
We will go down to Durgapur for a rally in the same category (1400cc). We are still skeptical about the race but we will try and make it.
After the interview both head down towards the lobby with us wondering where they can get good odiya food for dinner and even promised us a spin in a rally track if possible.
Dean Mascarhenas and Shruptha Padival are examples of the indomitable spirit and romance in the field of motor sport (Dean is racing in December only after getting his NRC license and driving license in June). A commerce graduate in St.Aloysius College Dean has come a long way from driving cars sitting on his dad’s lap to driving the beasts on his own.
Dean Mascarhenas and Shruptha Padival of Team RAC are also looking for sponsors. If anyone is interested please contact them at Dean Mascarenhas
We now leave you with photographs from their win in Odisha Car rally 2011 in Ekamra Haat.
Article Courtesy : Aditya Kiran Nag and Vishal Sharma