Gau­tam Kulka­rni is No More

Bike India - - IGNITION -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.