Nine-year-old Yuvraj Deshmukh sets the track on fire

The Pune biker is making heads turn on India's motocross circuit

It seems like consistency is Yuvraj Deshmukh’s middle name. For, the nine-year-old from Pune has won all the three rounds of the prestigious eight-race Dubai Motocross Championship that have been held so far.

Yuvraj Deshmukh
Pune lad Yuvraj Deshmukh(above and inset) practising at the Ajmera I-Land racing academy in Wadala, Mumbai. Pic/Atul Kamble.

Yuvraj, in fact, is so talented that come January 18, the nine-year-old will take on a field of 10-12 riders — all older than him in the U-14 moto-cross race to be held at Ajmera I-Land Racing Academy’s track at Wadala.

“Nobody is as good as me in the U-10 category. That is why I chose to participate in the U-14 category as well as the
U-10 event,” Yuvraj said.

At first, these words might seem cocky, but that is not the case. Coached by eight-time motocross national champion, Rustom Patel, the nine-year-old is just very confident of his ability on a bike, which was first spotted by his mother, Swaroopa, when he was just three years old.

Testament to his calibre is the second-place finish he notched up against a strong field at Virginia’s Lake Sugar Tree Motorsports Park in a motocross race organised by AMA (American Motosport Association). This after he had finished 10th against the same bunch of racers in an earlier race.

Talking about his experience in the USA, Yuvraj said, “US was tougher than Dubai. The riders in US are faster and the track has more muck. “In the US, we learn new tricks. I prefer big tracks. I have a liking for tracks that have big jumps.”

The Class IV student’s performances caught the eye of Atul Ajmera, the director of Ajmera I-Land Racing Academy (Wadala), who sponsors the Vibgyor High School (Pune) student. The life of a moto-cross racer isn’t easy. At an age where chocolates and ice cream are almost a daily staple, Yuvraj, for the sake of his racing career, has learnt to control himself, says his dad Sandeep.

Food for thought
“No chocolates and ice cream for Yuvraj. He needs to follow a strict diet. The diet includes high protein items like egg-whites and grilled chicken. He needs to keep his weight under control.

“His stamina should be good. Hence, he goes for swimming and cycling. This sport demands fitness and Rustom sir ensures he pushes Yuvraj to stay fit,” says his father. Yuvraj trains three to four days a week but says balancing studies and racing is not tough.

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