SRI LANKA ASSOCIATION OF RACING DRIVERS AND RIDERS
SLARDAR was formed in July 1983 by drivers and riders associated with motor sports racing in Sri Lanka. What prompted the formation of SLARDAR was that other motor sports clubs at the time were paying scanty regard to the sport and did not heed to the genuine grievances of the competitors and the expectations of many motor sport enthusiasts. Thus, the need arose for the formation of an association to safeguard and foster their interest in the sport and with the specific intention of improving the standard of the sport.
Mr. Ranjith Chandrasekera , a leading rider at the time took the initiative in organizing the drivers and riders for a discussion and a meeting. The first such meeting was held, haired by Mr.J.P.Obeysekera, a leading sportsman and a lover of motor sports. The meeting was well attended and the consensus was that a separate Association should be formed to further the interests of competitors and at the same time to pressurize other Clubs to take greater interest in organizing meets along the lines of accepted motor sport rules and regulations.
Thus, the inaugural Meeting held at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) at Maitland Crescent laid the foundation for the formation of SLARDAR. The enthusiastic gathering present at that meeting, elected the office bearers to function in the first committee of SLARDAR.
Mr. Dayendra Samarasinghe, a founder member and an attorney at law was instrumental in drawing the Constitution of the Association that was adopted in August 1983.
The first major event of the newly formed Association was a speed hill climb event at Karandupone in the central province. The Lions Club of Kegalle, led by its dynamic President Mr. Bertie Ranatunge worked tirelessly to make the event a success. The large number of spectators present thoroughly enjoyed the day's well-run events. The timing which done electronically was manufactured locally by a motor racing enthusiast and electronic wizard Mr. Neelantha Wijetunge. For the first time, trophies of high quality were awarded to the winners.
The Competitors greatly appreciated the awards as well as the way the meet was organized, thus prompting the Association to engage in more events in the future for the benefit of motor sports enthusiasts. The tradition of presenting awards at the venue of the event instead of presenting them on a subsequent date commenced at Karandupone Hill Climb and is practiced to date.
A time, speed and distance rally (TSD) plotted by two veterans - Naufer Nizar and the late Karmil Hassen, coined "Opposite Lock" was the next major event held and the success of this event laid the foundation for the most looked forward rally event in Sri Lanka -" The SLARDAR 1000 " rally covering approximately 1000 km. through varying terrain and climatic zones. Held annually this TSD rally draws the cream of rally drivers and riders in the country, pitting their skills in driving over two to three days, involving both day and night driving under varying conditions.
The Association has, since, organized Rallies, Hill Climbs, Circuit Meets, Super-cross events etc., on a regular and in a most professional basis. Since the formation of the association most of the popular & premier events in the motor sports calendar of this country are organized by SLARDAR. The popularity of the Association and its events is highlighted by the fact that the membership, which now stands around 200, is growing rapidly.
The Association is responsible for the conduct of very popular autocross events in the island. One conducted in the central highlands, designed by Mr. Hans Ralph Karpinski, a member of SLARDAR and the Diyatalawa Military Training Academy, the " Fox-Hill Super Cross " which is considered the birth of “Super Cross” in Sri Lanka back in 1992 and “Gajaba Super Cross” and “Gunners Super Cross” both in the north central region, and the “Commando Super Cross” in the deep south of the island. The Association also provides subject matter expertise and trained officials to other racing clubs & associations to conduct both gravel and tarmac meets, hill climbs and rallies. Some of the collaborative meets conducted yearly are “Colombo Super Cross”, Katukurunda Circuit Meet” and “Pannala Circuit Meet”. “SLARDAR was awarded the “Best Motor Sports Club Award” by the champion drivers and riders of Sri Lanka in 2016 for the professionalism displayed in organizing and conducting world class motor sports events.
Currently most super cross and tarmac race tracks except for “Pannala” and “Meerigama” tracks are owned by the Sri Lankan military forces, the Sri Lanka Army, Navy & Airforce. SLARDAR works collaboratively with the military as the venues, manpower, equipment and logistics provided by the military are unmatched.
It must be mentioned that Mr. Hans Ralph Karpinski both a racing rider & driver has had a hand in designing every super cross track in Sri Lanka and is the undoubted “Godfather” of super cross in Sri Lanka.
In the year 2002, the Association ventured boldly to launch a club championship, which has proved to be extremely popular among both riders and drivers. Six events -two hill climbs, two circuit Meets and two motor cross events- account for the championship. Based on a system of points, champions are chosen for selected events. The enthusiastic and overwhelming success of the event has prompted the Association to continue the event since 2002. In 2017, SLARDAR became the first and only racing organization to award a brand-new car as the prize for the champion driver and a brand-new motorbike for the champion rider, clearly setting a benchmark for motorsports in the island and uplifting standards.
With a history of over 30 years of motorsports, SLARDAR constantly invests in training and development of its officials and volunteers to ensure the highest levels of professional standards are maintained always. SLARDAR also made history in Sri Lanka by been the only racing organization to have a dedicated team of highly qualified Paramedics operating the SLARDAR Rapid Response Team”, who are fully trained and empowered to ensure “Safety First” for all competitors, officials and spectators. This team is the ‘First Responder” for any emergency and supported by the dedicated “SLARDAR Recovery Team”.
Yet another first in motor sports history in Sri Lanka, the association launched SLARDAR TV. This live streaming channel can be viewed from any smart mobile device and was welcomed and appreciated as it gave the opportunity to pit crews to view the race live and was welcome by competitors, pit crew, officials and spectators for live viewing of sections of the race not visible from every angle.
SLARDAR uses the latest Tag Heuer professional timing equipment providing accurate and reliable timing of events. Digital measuring instruments have also been introduced to scrutinize vehicles engines.
The story of SLARDAR is forever unfolding with new chapters being planned and added on a regular basis for the betterment of the sport. SLARDAR is determined to provide the best to all competitor’s motor racing and continue to spearhead new initiatives to develop the sport in Sri Lanka.
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