"It was an honour to be there and share the stage with fellow athletes. It was really nice and I felt ecstatic. I am also very happy that the sport is getting recognition. That’s not been the case in the past. It’s in your hands to spread the word about the sport and support it. It helps in getting more and more people into off-road and on-road and all other motorsports,” K. P. Aravind said after winning the Sportsperson of the Year (Motorsport) at the Sportstar Aces Awards supported by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, in association with MRF.

Despite spending a good eight months on recovery in an injury-ridden year that required him to go under the operating table four times, Aravind, riding for the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team, successfully conquered the Dakar Rally in his third attempt. The 2019 edition in Peru was considered the toughest yet and saw only 55 per cent of the bikes crossing the finish line; Aravind was the only Indian to do so in Peru and he finished 37th.

“It’s important for people to get to know about events like the Dakar Rally and understand it better,” he said.

At 19, Aravind began as a motocross racer and soon progressed to the rally and supercross formats. A winner of 17 national titles, Aravind has come a long way to become the second Indian after C. S. Santosh to complete the Dakar Rally. “As any young private racer, I ventured into racing, banking upon my skills to ride fast and win races. However, to grow into a professional racer, you have to show temperament and adapt a never-give-up attitude to impress a factory team. I was lucky enough to be picked up by TVS Racing early in my career as it gave me a clear direction of the racer I wanted to be. I am also grateful to my parents, who supported me in my initial years as a private racer, because it can be financially challenging to make a career without the support of a factory team.”

Aravind is looking forward to being injury free this year and better his performance in the 2020 edition of the Dakar Rally.