Gautam Kulkarni is No More
THIS OBITUARY IS THE SADDEST AND PAINFUL piece I have had to write to date. On the 20th of September, Indian motor sport lost one of the best motocross and rally riders Pune (and India) has produced. I had known Gautam Kulkarni since 1975 when he would come to our house on his blue 90-cc Honda. He would come with his now wife, Jyotsna, and sit on the steps and chat with us for hours about how he wanted to get into motorcycle racing.
He was not only a very good motocross rider but was also very good at rallying. If he had taken part in road racing, I am sure he would have been very quick. He was a natural with a lot of talent and he had speed in him.
I would like to narrate a story which involved me. It was 1982 and we were going to take part in the Pune Motocross. I had gone to the club office in the evening to give my entry and asked the secretary (a senior journalist today) how much I owed by way of entry fee. The response was, ‘Get out. Go and read the supplementary rules’. This happened in front of the riders from Jaipur and Delhi. Naturally, it did not go down well with me. Fuming, I rolled up the entry form and asked the secretary to shove it up you know where. As I walked out of the office, Gautam rode in and asked me how the bike was coming along. “I’m not building the bike as they are not accepting my entry,” I replied. His response: “Leave it to me. You go and prepare your bike.”
I don’t know what Gautam did but the next day the president and the secretary came over to the workshop and asked me not to take things to heart. “Please give us the entry form and the fee,” they said.
Even after Gautam stopped racing, we kept in touch. Sometimes he would call to ask me which car or bike he should buy.
He was soft-spoken but a real tough character. Above all, he was a gentleman and a very good human being. He leaves behind his wife, Jyotsna, two sons, Nihal and Ambar, and three grandchildren. It was a privilege and pleasure to know Gautam. We will miss him. May his soul rest in peace.