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Father's interest, son's passion: 12-year-old biker Shreyas on track to make it big

Shreyas Hareesh, also known as 'the Bengaluru kid', created history by becoming the first Indian to reach a World Championship final in two-wheel racing earlier this month.

Fathers interest, sons passion: 12-year-old biker Shreyas on track to make it big

Shreyas Hareesh


Rajdeep Saha

Updated: 26 Nov 2022 7:25 AM GMT

More often than not, a child takes after their parent's profession, either willingly, or unwillingly. In 12-year-old bike racer Shreyas Hareesh's case, it's mostly the former, with some impetus provided by his father.

"I used to follow MotoGP a lot because of my intrinsic interest in racing, but our parents could never afford the sport," recalled Hareesh Parandhaman, young Shreyas' father.

"In a way, yes (on living his dreams through his son), but Shreyas knew where he wanted to be by age 7-8. It was because of his determination," he said on his son's career path, which mirrors his own interests.

A young Shreyas training with his father

While Parandhaman believes that forcing his own dream onto his son wouldn't have been fruitful, his fondness for the sport has helped the to-be-teenager in some ways.

"One of my friends had bought a bike for his son to teach him. Out of the blue, he called me and asked both of us to join in on their training session," the father remembered his son's first time riding a bike.

Once Shreyas' riding skills had become more apparent, an interesting question was thrown at the child by the father, "Do you want to be an India champion or a World champion?" The wide-eyed youngster chose the latter, and as they say, the rest is history.

Rubbing shoulders with the best

"I always enjoyed riding on my father's RD350 (Yamaha), and then enjoyed riding my bicycles and motorcycles a lot," said a very straight-faced Shreyas to The Bridge on what made him gravitate towards this unique sport.

Shreyas with his father on the very Yamaha RD350 bike

Earlier this month, the sixth-grader created history after he became the first Indian to reach a World Championship final in two-wheel racing after he appeared at the MiniGP World finals in Spain.

After encountering some bumps in his free practice sessions and qualifying race 1, Shreyas, also known as 'The Bengaluru Kid' on the circuit, finished in the top 10 in qualifying race 2 after starting from the last position.

The racer's father believes that more budding racers like his son should be given exposure abroad, especially in countries like Spain and Italy.

"If the world standards are higher in Spain and Italy, then our kids should train there. It's important to get used to an entirely different environment and competition," he said.

Next, Shreyas has another target set in his mind: becoming the first Indian to race in the MotoGP. However, having such heavy dreams at such a tender age, especially when you are balancing studies with sports, can become counter-productive.

Having a former state-level hockey player for a sister, who later went on to choose studies, is a testament to this fact. "So far, I have kept a 100% focus on my goals, and I intend to do that going forward as well," Shreyas said.

The 5-year-plan

"My family is my strength, and my dad is my strongest strength," Shreyas said quite innocently. While this line from the kid might not make much sense grammatically, it does carry a lot of weight in the grand scheme of things.

Hareesh gave up on his career five years ago to fully focus on guiding his son to the dreamland. Being a pharmacist by training and a biotechnologist by trade, he had to trade 22 years' worth of knowledge on cancer with engines, chassis, and suspensions.

"I had to un-learn a lot of stuff, but that has been an exciting part of this journey. It took us five years to get Shreyas from a bicycle to represent India," the father smiled.

Assistance for the long-run

The world of bike racing is capital-intensive, as mentioned by Shreyas' father. The young racer is on his 13th bike already.

"Every time he maxes the power of a motorcycle, I move him on to the next level," Parandhaman said. The former corporate man and his family had to dig deep into their pockets to fund his son's expensive dream, but nonetheless have no qualms about the same.

It is known in the household that Shreyas is putting his heart and soul into this sport and hence everyone is putting in whatever they can. However, it only gets tougher from here.

"Now that he (Shreyas) has reached the World Championships level, the costs are going to increase now. This year, I'm looking forward to getting some corporate support. I would like to openly request the corporate companies in India to support children like Shreyas and other aspiring racers," he concluded.

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