How Coastal Karnataka bus drivers developed Itch for Speed Driving!

kambala Coastal Karnataka Manipal Mangalore Kadri

In the black slurry of paddy fields, flanked by enthusiastic and cheering fans on both sides of the track, energetic pairs of buffaloes (powered by the whips from whip-lashing pilots) compete for the  ultimate glory in the world of Grand Prix Buffalo Drag Racing (or simply Buffalo Formula One). This is a traditional sport in coastal Karnataka and is called KAMBALA in Tulu. As of now, around 45 races are held each season at different race tracks and the buffalo pair with highest number of points at the end of each season wins the championship.

kambala Coastal Karnataka Manipal Mangalore Kadri
Image source- Dinesh Hegde: Kambala: The race of the buffaloes

A few decades back when road infrastructure was not well developed, this sport used to be very popular among the youth of Coastal Karnataka. Overtime they developed excellent racing and coördination skills due to this.

Gradually, the road infrastructure started developing resulting in more buses on the roads. To do justice to their racing skills and pursue their passion for speed, most of these Kambala pilots then took to bus driving and thus racing on roads began.

force indiaInitially, people were scared of these buses but slowly they got used to them as the accident rates were very less thanks to the driving skills of the drivers. This speed legacy is still continued by the contemporary bus drivers.

This passion for speed in coastal Karnataka has also made the country proud in the world of Formula One. As as well know, Vijay Mallya owns Sahara Force India which is one of the top 5 F1 teams in the world . In his youth, Mallya owned a team in Kambala called Bantwal Royal Challengers. This was one of the best teams in the sport winning five championships. After this successful stint at Kambala, Mallya wanted to own a F1 team and thus Force India came into existence in 2007.


P.S.: All facts mentioned in this article are Fiction.
But we guess, you already knew that, didn't you?

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