India racer Aishwarya set to cut through Spanish winds

The 22-year-old Bengaluru rider will set foot in the international racing territory when she participates in the Spanish Baja Aragon race next week.

Aishwarya Pissay...“I take this platform as a big step towards Dakar.”   -  PAUL NORONHA

Speed, excitement and adrenalin are some of the terms that one can associate with motorsport. While Formula One is the epitome in mainstream motorsport, off-road endurance rallies provide the experience of a lifetime when it comes to rallies.

It would be every off-road racer’s dream to take part in the Dakar Rally, surely the most challenging endurance rally, and the Spanish Baja Aragon rally is a perfect launchpad for the Dakar Rally.

The 35th edition of the Baja Aragon will be held in Teruel, eastern Spain, from July 20-22, and India’s Aishwarya Pissay is honing her skills to excel in the Baja Aragon, her first international rally. And adding another feather to the cap, Aishwarya is also the only Indian woman racer to take part in the rally.

‘Thrilled’

Unsurprisingly, Aishwarya is over the moon. “I am very thrilled about it as it will be my first international rally. I will be the first Indian woman factory rider to participate in a Baja Rally. It is one of the biggest endurance races one can ever race in. The distance to race is about 700 kilometres and we have to complete it in about two days. The machine and rider have to be in perfect sync for the stint to be successful.

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“I must thank TVS, which I represent, for believing and selecting me for the platform. My training has begun for the races and I am feeling quite confident about it,” Aishwarya said.

‘Stepping stone’

The Bengaluru-based racer said opportunities like the Baja Aragon will improve her as a professional racer. “I must admit that there is a lot of difference in racing standard in Europe and India. As racers, we need to take part in races like these to improve ourselves. We can learn a lot from every race and it is a stepping stone in the right direction for us,” she explained.

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Although Aishwarya is testing in unknown waters (international scene) for the first time, the preparation isn’t much different. “There are no special training needs for this race. I am training at an athletic club in Bengaluru. The focus is on my fitness regime and practice. Apart from that, I have regular mental conditioning and nutrition sessions. As an endurance athlete, both my physical and mental fitness are put to test,” she said.

‘Big step towards Dakar’

The 22-year-old said being a factory rider is a confidence booster ahead of the race. “The team (TVS) is one of the best in business. They exactly know how to prepare and the demands of the race. We work in tandem, like how an F1 team works. There are so many similarities. The team knows how to react in various situations and how the bike responds. Everything is in place,” she added.

The conversation, invariably, veers towards the Dakar Rally and Aishwarya quickly quipped, “It is a dream to race in the Dakar rally and emerge victorious. I take this platform as a big step towards Dakar as races like this will prepare me for the final summit.”

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