Shafraz Junaid in Dakshin Dare Cross Country Rally, India

Published on 30 Jun 2023

Shafraz Junaid of the Maxxis Xtreme Racing team opened a new chapter for motorcycle rallying for Sri Lankans being placed 19th overall amongst 35 competitors in the Ultimate Bikes category at the popular Dakshin Dare Cross Country Rally concluded recently in Sirsi in the Karnataka state of India.

Riding a Hero Xpulse 200cc supported by Maxxis tires, he was also sixth best in the standard Group D up to 260cc class amongst the complete group of riders.

“Post Covid I wanted to rejuvenate my motorsports interest. So I attended a training camp at Big Rock Dirt Park, which is a training school run by Dakar rider C S Santhush. This eventually led to this participation. At 46, my goal was to finish the rally, but I am happy to have opened the minds of local riders on expanding their competitive possibilities”, said Shafraz Junaid of his participation, having had many accolades on bikes during his youth.

Shafraz Junaid is not new to riding - being the course record holder of the Mahagastotte Hill Climb for ten consecutive years from 2007 to 2017; having participated in local rallies and international enduro and gymkhana events for motorcycles.

“This is a milestone for us in (motorcycle) racing in Sri Lanka. Shafraz is the first cross-country rider in Sri Lanka. It is an honour for me as I just took over the presidency of the federation and have Shafraz bring glory to Sri Lanka. Competing in the standard category and finishing among the top 20 is something to talk about. This is what we need to do and expand beyond the stereotype of racing in Sri Lanka”, said Shane Gunawardana, President of the Federation of Motorcycle Sports in Sri Lanka (FMSSL) who welcomed the rider upon his return.

Shafraz Junaid’s participation is also noteworthy for the Dakshin Dare rally in itself as he joins a select group of competitors who have participated in both in four wheels and two wheels. Previously, he was placed 9thoverall and third in the T2 – 2WD above 1850cc class driving a modified Nissan cab in 2018 competing with the Mahindra and Suzuki factory teams.

The participation was enabled by Maxxis tires, Chint Electricals, Fits Air, Mobil and J Homes with competition logistics being coordinated by his rally co-driver Akhry Ameer and Nikhil Balakrishna of Big Rock Dirt Park with technical service and support by Bengaluru Motorcycles.

The 12th Dakshin Dare Rally 2023 was held from 28th May to 2nd June 2023 in the Karnataka state of India and drew a lineup of 35 bikes and ten 4 wheel vehicles. Sri Lankan rally drivers Samin Attanayake and Rizmin Razik also participated in their Mitsubishi Evolution and were placed ninth overall having had to skip the first leg due to technical issues. Their participation also earned them the class title as the only vehicle in the T2-4WD above 1851cc class.

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