A Blog by NMA Graduate; Riyaz Kassam
National Motorsport Academy Graduate, Riyaz Kassam recently flew all way from Toronto, Canada to attend graduation. Understandably, wanting to make the most of his time on this side of the pond, Riyaz went travelling around the UK and Europe as well as linking up with #TeamNMA in the GT Cup at Donington Park, AND had an exciting opportunity to work with Khanage Racing at the Festival of Porsche at Brands Hatch.
Riyaz kindly shared his firsthand account of this amazing experience. Over to you, Riyaz…
NMA Graduate, Riyaz Kassam
During a visit at West House Dental in Pinner, Dr. Shabnam Zai mentioned an acquaintance of hers who was not only a great dentist but also a passionate racer during a conversation about my upcoming graduation with the NMA. Little did I know that it would lead to an exhilarating experience. That acquaintance was none other than Dr. Shiraz Khan, the owner of Khanage Racing, who graciously accepted my last minute request to be a part of their race day in the paddock at Brands Hatch, celebrating 75 years at the Festival of Porsche.
Dr. Shiraz welcomed me into the racing community with open arms. He’s not only a skilled dentist but also a wonderful gentleman who dedicates his time and passion to the racetrack. I was privileged to join him and his team for a day at the races, and it turned out to be a day I’ll cherish forever.
My adventure began with an eye-opening glimpse into the meticulous preparation that goes into a race day. An external team known as Supatune Motorsport was responsible for getting the car race-ready which I was able to provide some assistance. It was fascinating how they meticulously checked every aspect of the vehicle to ensure peak performance. From inspecting suspension components to analyzing data acquisitions, from scrutinizing tire conditions and pressures to ensuring the brakes were in perfect working order – no detail was too small. It was clear that in motorsports, precision and attention to detail make all the difference.
As the day progressed, the excitement in the paddock continued. The smell of burning rubber, the roar of engines, and the camaraderie among the teams created an electrifying atmosphere. This isn’t just a sport; it is a community, a family united by their love for speed and competition.
Dr. Shiraz’s skills and determination shone brightly on the track. He qualified for the first race in an impressive sixth position. As the race unfolded, I watched in awe as he skillfully navigated the twists and turns of Brands Hatch, battling against fierce competitors. When the checkered flag waved, Dr. Shiraz crossed the finish line in a respectable fifth place for Khanage Racing.
However, motorsports can be cruel, and the second race brought unexpected challenges. A mechanical failure forced the car to be retired. It was a bitter disappointment, but it served as a stark reminder of the unforgiving nature of racing. The highs and lows, the jubilation and heartbreak – they all coexist in this high-stakes world.
But the motorsports extravaganza didn’t end there. As the sun began to set, the roar of engines and the allure of sleek Porsches filled the air. The festival brought together enthusiasts from all walks of life to celebrate their love for these legendary sports cars.
To cap off the day in style, there was a mesmerizing parade of Porsches around the track. It was a sight to behold, a procession of automotive excellence, as sleek Porsches of all eras glided gracefully around the circuit. It was a fitting finale to a day filled with high-speed action and motorsport magic.
As the sun set on my motorsports adventure with Khanage Racing at the Festival of Porsche, I left the paddock with a newfound appreciation for the dedication, teamwork, and sheer determination that define this thrilling sport. I had witnessed firsthand the sweat, passion, and hard work that go into every race day, and it left a lasting impression on me.
My day with Dr. Shiraz and his team at Khanage Racing was more than just a junior assistant experience; it was a journey into the heart of motorsports. It taught me that in racing, success isn’t just about speed; it’s about the unwavering commitment of a team, the guidance of a coach, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. It’s about the thrill of the race, the triumphs and the setbacks, all of which come together to create an unforgettable motorsports experience. And when that experience is set against the backdrop of the Festival of Porsche at Brands Hatch, it becomes an adventure of a lifetime.
A big thank you to Riyaz for sharing his experience with us! You can follow his motorsport journey over on his Instagram (@Kassam27).