A fatal accident on Saturday at the FMSCI-Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Madras International Circuit claimed the life of 13-year-old rising star Copparam Shreyas Hareesh.
The young motorsports star suffered a catastrophic head injury after he lost control of his bike while negotiating a turn.
Hareesh was competing in the third round of the rookie race and had qualified for pole position.
Hareesh, who had just turned 13 last month, skidded out while negotiating the race’s first turn causing his helmet to fly off, according to the Indian Express.
Another rider who had been behind him then struck Hareesh, which caused the fatal injuries.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital via an ambulance that had been at the event as a precaution.
Hareesh was pronounced dead a short time later.
“He was the growing face of Indian motorsport, he had all the potential to be on a global platform. We will miss him,” said Arvind Singh, a former racer and a race organizer.
The remainder of the race was canceled following the death.
🚨| Very sad and tragic news coming from Madras International Circuit.— Desi Racing Co. (@DesiRacingco) August 5, 2023
13-year-old Shreyas Hareesh has tragically passed away after a crash while racing at the Madras International Circuit.
The youngster was competing in Round 3 of the Indian National Motorcycle Racing… pic.twitter.com/Y0RS57OVtp
“It is tragic to have lost a rider so young and talented,” MMSC President Ajit Thomas said in a statement. “Shreyas, who was making waves with his prodigious racing talent, was provided medical assistance on the spot immediately after the incident and taken to the hospital. Under the circumstances, we have decided to cancel this weekend’s program. The MMSC offers heartfelt condolences, and our thoughts are with his family.”
Hareesh was born and raised in Bengaluru and attended Kensri School. His love of motorsports grew from his father, who was also named Copparam Hareesh.
Hareesh’s father even left his position at a pharmaceutical company so that he could focus on helping his son prepare for a future in the sport.
“His father took him wherever there were racing competitions and gave him great exposure,” Arvind said. “In 2021, he participated in a race near Sringeri, which I had organized. I spent two days with him and most of the time, he spoke only about racing.”
Hareesh was expected to be a major star one day in the sport and had been excelling in the rookie ranks of the Petronas TVS One-Make Championship.
He was the first Indian MiniGP champion and Hareesh was going to race in the MSBK Championship 2023 in Malaysia.
The tragic death is the second Indian motorsports has suffered this year.
Veteran racer KE Kumer died following an accident also at Madras International Circuit.