Quick As A Flash: Aishwarya Pissay

FIM Baja Rally World Cup Winner Aishwarya Pissay

A bonafide daredevil, Aishwarya Pissay is a well-known name in the world of motorsports. With four national championships under her belt, her claim to fame was when she participated in a World Cup and came first. Truly, representing your country on an international level is an ecstatic feeling, and then winning the title is the cherry on the cake. Since there aren’t many women in the field of bike racing, we talked to Aishwarya to understand what kept her motivated during her journey and how she prepared herself for the obstacles henceforth. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview.

Tell us a little bit about your upbringing, what was 8-year-old Aishwarya like?
I come from a conservative family where doing anything apart from a nine-to-five job is a taboo. However, I had different dreams, and the eight-year-old me was adventurous; always outdoors, seeking new opportunities to learn. Moreover, as a kid, I wanted to become a pilot.

What was it about getting on a bike that made you consider it as a career option? How did you get into competitive racing?

I started riding motorcycles as a passion. It gave me a sense of freedom and I felt alive every time I was on a bike. Over a period when I had travelled a bit on motorcycles, I started training at Apex Racing Academy for circuit racing after which I started racing and won a couple of championships. Thanks to my performance in 2017, TVS Racing signed me on as a factory racer, which helped me pursue racing professionally.

Motorsports has typically been male-dominated, do you see that changing now, and how so?
Motorsports has always been considered a male-dominated sport due to the lack of participation of women. It has evolved from the time I started participating in the sport; from being one woman on an all-men grid, to having an all-women grid now, the situation has improved for good.

You are the first Indian woman to have won six national road racing and rally championship titles. What is next on your radar? 
I feel extremely happy to bear the Indian flag on international platforms, and be the first Indian athlete to have won a World Championship. My ultimate dream is to be at Dakar, It is one of its kind and the most gruelling race every rally racing athlete dreams of participating in.

How do you prepare yourself for racing?
I have a training regimen that I follow which includes three days of a week at the gym, where we work on physical strength along with mental conditioning. Over the weekend, I spend time training on a motorcycle, and equipping myself physically.

You have suffered severe injuries during your tenure as a professional racer. Were you ever afraid that it could hamper the pursuit of your passion?
Being a motorcycle racing athlete is a way of life for me, which means a never give up attitude no matter what the situation or injury. Every time I have been injured, my team and I have always looked at how we would work on recovery, and moving towards the next goal.

Tell us about your greatest achievement and your biggest regret in your career thus far.
There are no regrets about anything. The biggest achievement is the FIM Baja Rally World Championship, wherein I was placed first in Women’s, and second in the Juniors category.

Since you’re a petrolhead, what advice would you like to give to amateur racers who wish to walk on your footsteps?
I would like to say that along the way of following your dreams, do not let the naysayers stop you from achieving your dreams and goals. Also, safety first, please use the right safety gear, and never forget to strap your helmet.

What’s next for you as far as the sport is concerned?
I am training for my upcoming national and international championships next year before I go to Dakar in 2021.

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