Racer Aishwarya Pissay readies to become Indian woman to race in Baja Aregon

Jul 19, 2018, 07:40 IST | Ronald Chettiar

Bangalore-based racer Aishwarya Pissay, who finished in the Top 10 in the Raid De Himalaya 2017 and also aced the Dakshin Dare 2017

Racer Aishwarya Pissay readies to become Indian woman to race in Baja Aregon
Aishwarya Pissay

She almost died conquering the Himalayas, now she is ready to challenge world's top riders in Spain. Aishwarya Pissay, 22, is set to become the first Indian woman factory racer to compete in a Baja Aregon World Rally in Teruel, Spain.

Part of a four-member team, this youngster will ride the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team's Dakar machine RTR 450 in the rally to be held from July 20 to July 22.

Given it is her first international race, Aishwarya is not looking at results, but testing herself with the best in the world in the upcoming event. "The major challenge in Spain will be to bridge the gap between me and the foreign racers. I'm not looking at results. My team are focussing on my career progress and finishing the rally," said Aishwarya, who idolises 13-time Spain's women's trial world champion, Laia Sanz and India off-road racer, CS Santosh.

The Bangalore-based racer, who finished in the Top 10 in the Raid De Himalaya 2017 and also aced the Dakshin Dare 2017, Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) 2017 and TVS Apache Ladies One Make Championship 2017, is aware of the gruelling terrain that awaits her.

"The standard of Indian events and European races are way different. We are not at par with foreign races yet. But it's going to be a nice learning experience to bridge the gap between riding here and in Spain," said Aishwarya, who has doing her physical and mental conditioning at the Invictus Performance lab in Bangalore.

Aishwarya Pissay
Aishwarya Pissay

Talking about her first rally experience, Aishwarya revealed how she almost had a near-death experience in the Himalayas. "During my first Raid de Himalaya, I rode as privateer and almost got killed. The rough terrain caused my front brakes to cut off and my gear lever had fallen off and I was stuck in a single gear. I almost fell off a bridge when I realised my brakes were not operating. It was quite an experience, but I was determined to finish the race," said the teen rider, who is an ardent follower of NBA and MotoGP.

It is this determination that has helped Aishwarya carve a name for herself in the Indian racing scene in mere three years despite accidents and career-threatening injuries. "There are injuries and falls, but that doesn't stop me from pursuing my passion. I may break my bones falling off a staircase or on the road, so I might as well do it while doing what I like. In fact, I broke my collar bone during practice last year. But neither my coaches nor my family discouraged me. They were right beside me, encouraging me to prepare for the next race. Within three days I was doing physiotherapy and on the sixth day, I was racing," said Aishwarya.

For Aishwarya, it's not injuries that were hurdles she had to overcome. Being a woman in a male-dominated sport is not easy and this teen racer had her share of discouragements. "When I started, there were many people putting me down, asking me to do a nine to five job. But now, with my third year in this sport, people who earlier discouraged me, are very supportive. But yes, I had to facelotof discouragement back in those days. I let my performance do the talking and then everything fellinplace. I no longer had to defend myself." Aishwarya is now ready to back herself and zoom away to glory.

Also Read: Aishwarya Pissay: The female pro biker who is speeding ahead

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