The philosophy of motorsport
What is the most important thing for success on the track? A few tips from professional pilots
Why do racers not exceed the speed limit on public roads? What do motorsport, juggling, and playing musical instruments have in common? How has motor sport changed over the past three decades? And why is it worth starting the path to future victories today from childhood? About all this — in the final part of the cycle of materials about the history of the formation and development of motorsport in Tatarstan.
What do racers dream about?
It is clear that one of the main aspirations is new starts and new victories. After winning the final stage in Grozny and the new championship, the pilots of TAIF Motorsport are already planning winter track races and are beginning to estimate the upcoming starts for the summer of 2024. Technical staff with the support of sponsors — TAIF-NK and TAIF-SM companies belonging to the TAIF Group — prepares equipment and replenishes repair kits.
And the veterans of Tatarstan motor sport dream of reassembling the “old guard” and measure swords on the track. This desire was voiced by the master of sports of international class, winner of the European Autocross Championship, champion of Russia, founder of Genghis Khan racing team and the karting club of the same name, Dzhaudat Minnakhmetov, during an interview with Realnoe Vremya:
“I would like to hold competitions among the elders of motorsport. To hold the stages. At least once or twice a year. The heat of star pilots over 60 years old. The organisation at the proper level. It would be very interesting. What is more — on standard vehicles. Not so that everyone prepares for himself, but precisely on standard vehicles. By doing this, we would also raise the youth, and attract the attention of other clubs that are going through hard times today.
His colleagues in his hobby — those with whom, at the end of the last century, he began the chronicle of motorsport in the modern history of the republic — liked the idea. And the idea of equal starting conditions, too.
“Yes, Dzhaudat Midhatovich thinks big! And the fact that it is necessary to have six identical cars is also absolutely correct. It won't work any other way. Otherwise, every experienced racer will come with a car for himself, and it will be a massacre. They will defeat everything. Similar races already exist: Samara and Tolyatti hold the winter Race of Champions. They have such a project: six cars of the same configuration and preparation. The drive the control time, decide on a place in the tournament schedule and drive. And necessarily the same rubber. That's where the skill is!” the idea was supported by the master of sports of international class, European champion in autocross Radik Shaimiev.
The champion of Russia in autocross, co-founder of Suvar club, Ilkham Rakhmatullin, recalled that a similar start had already taken place in the republic. Moreover, even then the initiator was Dzhaudat Minnakhmetov:
“There were five prepared Lada cars, and we gathered all the veterans. There was a whole table. And they made parallel races — contactless ones. It was an interesting track. Edik Kupriyanov took the first place, Mudrik — the second, I — the third. It was interesting. This was in about 2018-2019. And then, someday after a professional race in Naberezhnye Chelny, at the stage of Russia, I think, they announced a race of veterans. Who was there? There were probably about eight of us there. Petrukhin won then. It was interesting. Dzhaudat was also there. Nobody gets tired of it," he said.
If such start takes place again, then, judging by the mood of the interlocutors of Realnoe Vremya, few will resist the temptation to compete in speed and skill with rival friends. Not only for the sake of the competitions themselves — motorsport for those who stood at its origins, also a kind of huge club of enthusiastic people, and such races will be a great occasion to get together again as before.
Emotions have become less
In general, according to the observations of Tatarstan motorsport veterans, a lot has changed in this discipline over the past almost three decades. Many current athletes have changed their attitude to the discipline itself: not all, but a significant part of pilots and technicians treat motor sports exactly as work, and this leads to a loss of emotions both on the track and in the stands.
“We ourselves had already had a rich life experience when we came to motorsport. I started at the age of 35. And Airat (Shaimiev — editor's note), and Rustam Nurgalievich, and Dzhaudat Midkhatovich — they also started as adults. Mature already, having seen life. Everyone had a job, and it wasn't so easy to keep up everywhere. But if you succeed at something, and you are so passionate about it that you just can't not do it, then, of course, you will find time at work. No, motorsport was not a toy for us, we were professionally engaged. But, apparently, due to age, there was a brighter emotional atmosphere. Now young people, it seems to me, are not so interested. Maybe there are too many opportunities, and therefore that sense of value is lost. I won't say that at one time we treasured every nut, but we treasured the sport. And when I received the title of Master of Sports almost at the age of 39, it was a huge achievement for us. And we were very proud. But now they have somehow blurred this title. And it was interesting for us to drive. And it was very difficult to get into the tournament table. Everyone has been through it," Ilkham Rakhmatullin shared his opinion.
“It's probably true: it's interesting when something is missing. And now, as it seems to me, people in motorsport are a little spoiled. They say other routes are needed, other uniforms... but before we had a helmet... we rarely had a uniform, and dirt (laughs), mesh… That time was much more valuable than today. When there is a ring track, there is a rally track, this is one thing. But when there is nothing, you will draw the track yourself, then you will seal it with bulldozers, then you drive along it. This is completely different. Yes, the machinery is progressing. People, uniforms — of course. Tracks. Relationship… But the best period I had is the first 5 years. When it was necessary to compete not only with colleagues by hobby and not only with oneself, but also with circumstances," recalls Dzhaudat Minnakhmetov.
“It was a hobby for us. But such a serious hobby — at the level of almost professional. But definitely not a profession. Maybe that's what allowed us to reach heights faster. We did not set the goal of our life to reach these heights. We did it in parallel, as it were. It's no secret: when your brain is freed from some ossified such cliches, when they don't put pressure on it by promoting the pace: you have to, you have to, you have to, then you make everything easier," Radik Shaimiev believes.
Brain, sincere love for motorsport, a little selfishness and good luck
This quartet is the basis of success. This is the opinion of the elders of Tatarstan motorsport. But at the heart of everything is the mind and love.
“The brain is the basis of everything. In any sport. Also in life. Everywhere!” Radik Shaimiev is sure. And he adds: “What is the specifics of the classic rally? Here the load on the brain is unique. In a road or circuit race, you know the track, you know the points — there can be a maximum of 32. You memorise them and just fly. Here, every turn is an improvisation. It's like in music: blues, jazz… You can't tell yourself that I'm going to drive it just like that. Cars passing in front of you can knock out a stone that will be on your trajectory, or some other surprise. At this speed, you have to make a decision. And that's exactly what I liked the most there — this load on the brain.
Plus the need to work in two planes at once: the real one — the one that is right now in front of your eyes, and the one that is just ahead — around the corner, and which the navigator warns about. And all this at a tremendous speed, with which you strive for another victory. And without the desire to win, the meaning of racing as such is lost. And this is only part of the philosophy of motor sport, says Radik Shaimiev:
“A person is a sane, normal egoist. And, probably, this is right, there will be no victories without it. But there must be a balance: if you have developed this selfishness in yourself too much, then it will be so difficult in society. Here are the signs “yin” and “yang”. This is a great sign of the great Chinese nation. All the answers are there. The most important thing is balance. In both the good and the bad, there are antagonistic particles and the whole question is solely about balance. There are two wolves in each of us: white and black, the question is — whom you feed. But there is still a second one (smiles). Without this, there will be no balance.
And this balance in the soul is preserved outside the track. An interesting point: professional fans of speeds, overtaking and sharp turns on public highways demonstrate much greater law-abiding than most car owners.
“We, like any other athletes, understand the difference. A professional fighter will not use his fists on the street. So we, professional racing drivers, do not strive for recklessness on a regular track and do not just drive around the city to attract attention. Motor sport — it even disciplines," says Ilkham Rakhmatullin.
“Daredevilism on the highway?" Dzhaudat Minnakhmetov was even surprised by the question. “It's out of the question. On the track — you can. On the racing one. But on a public road, how can you take such a risk? You have “dummies” on the left and right. First of all, you will scare them, and secondly, they can touch you. And you will be responsible. Why all of this? You've already left so much adrenaline on the track, why do you need to drive on a public road? You can't do that. And we don't do that. It seems to me that this does not happen among us, professional racers.
Karting is the cornerstone
During the interview, they also talked about the future of motor sports: in Tatarstan, in the country as a whole. And here the opinions of the masters of autotracks completely converged: there is no need to compose make up new. Everything that is necessary for the development of motorsport has been invented for a long time and today needs only attention and support. And you need to start your journey to future victories as early as possible.
“I would wish those who is attracted by motorsport to start with karting. To get all the basics from childhood. And the sooner you start, the better. My son started at the age of 8. He became a six-time champion of the republic in karting until the age of 17. We did it without any club, just by intuition, and he knew and said: “That's where I need to soften the front a little, because I'm being carried around the corner.” I say again: the first step is karting school. This is the basis. For children, this is the ABC of motorsport," Ilkham Rakhmatullin is sure.
“It is necessary to invest in clubs. There used to be DOSAAF, and technical sports were very clearly supported. Now we also need to help young people, if, of course, we intend to grow in this. We have motorsport at the hobby level: it began and, it seems, will end at the hobby level. I have such a feeling. Why? We have a good material base, but it would be good to have an ideological basis there now. Enthusiasts alone are not enough. We need systematic work. We definitely need coaches. Shafranov was unique in this regard. How he worked with children! Many masters came out from under his hands. Timerzyanov is the same. Karting is the foundation. Everything is there: trajectories, combat school... All this should be brought up from childhood. I would put a big emphasis here. If we want motorsport, we need karting. Technically, we have developed it, but we need enthusiastic coaches. And they should be on a good salary. Shafranov was a pure enthusiast. But he was a fan, he was crazy about it, he knew how to inspire. But there are few of them," Radik Shaimiev shared his opinion.
“Yes, karting is very seriously practiced in our republic. And there are the best tracks today. But we need to study even harder, even more competently and even more thoroughly. I don't see any other future for the boys. We all drive today. And developed motorsport means safety, it is a reaction, it is an interest in technology and technical sports. In karting, they don't just ride. I've probably been supporting the club for 20 years now. I have 30-40 people attending the club. It is called Genghis Khan. The guys themselves know what and how: they assemble themselves, repair the equipment themselves. It's also a kind of sport. A technical sports — with brains," said Dzhaudat Minnakhmetov.
And what else did all the heroes of this cycle agree on: future champions of motor disciplines, just like in other sports, need support at the moment of transition from one stage of skill development to another: when boys and girls are already outgrowing the time of karting, it would be good if at least the brightest stars could count on more more attention from the existing clubs or the Motorsport Federation of the republic.
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