Jagat and Anita Nanjappa are famous for their exploits in the racing arena in India. Kodavas by birth, they have taken part in many races and rallies and have won accolades. The role that each of them play as a team is: Jagat drives, while Anita acts as the navigator.
Their tally of awards extends to nine National Rally awards in the category of motorbikes between 1986 and 1996.
Their Early Days
Jagat’s father Appanna has a major role to play in shaping his son’s career. His father was a race driver too, and this inspired the young Jagat to take up racing as a career. Beginning his tryst with racing as a hobby in 1981, the man then grew into a professional racer with the onset of time.
With a family involved in the coffee business, Jagat had oodles of time to pursue his hobby. He began with bikes in the muddy streets of Kodagu and later upgraded to cars. After marrying Anita, the duo set forth on a stupendous journey by winning a plethora of rallies such as TSD, Raid and Stage rallies. MRF sponsored the duo after witnessing their stunning performances, and eventually the couple started racing under the title of ‘Team MRF’ in their following rallies.
Their Success on Track
Apart from winning the Annual Indian National Rally Riders Championship in the category of motorbikes, losing only twice in the entire decade spanning between 1986 and 1996, the couple have also found success in other rallies such as The Great Desert Rally in ’88, the MASA rally conducted in Mumbai in the years ’93 and ’94, The Coimbatore Rally in ’92 and the Popular rally at Kochi for the years ’93 and ’94 again.
In the category of cars, the couple tasted triumph as they ended as runners-up at the Indian National Rally driver’s championship for the 1400 cc section between the years ’98 to ’01.
Their Contribution Towards the Sport
The duo initiated a Universal Sports Club in the year 2002, with the aim of bringing in new talent into the sport, to push and encourage racing enthusiasts and propel the infrastructure of motorsports in India. As an inaugural event, the Club organised a hill climb race for bikes and cars at Nandi Hills.
The Nanjappas Racing Foundation is yet another contribution by the couple to the sport. They organise events such as go-karting, motocross and drag-racing. Jagat organised a major event called Burnout which was a drag race held at the Bangalore Habba. The race drew crowds close to 20,000 people at the Jakkur Airfield.