Sarah - from a judo star to a desert wonder

After two days of hard-fought battle in the Thar Desert, Sarah managed to stay on course, and is now the only woman competitor fighting in the foreign bike class.

For Sarah Kashyap, it is her third raid in the Desert Storm.   -  Rayan Rozario

Even as the bigger boys were reviving up their bikes, Sarah Kashyap, of Chandigarh, was quietly watching them from behind. She was probably trying hard to read their mind that she may do one better in the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm here.

After two days of hard-fought battle in the Thar Desert, the 32-year-old managed to stay on course, and is now the only woman competitor fighting in the foreign bike class.

For Sarah, it is her third raid in the Desert Storm: "I failed in my first attempt in 2016," she said. But she came back strongly to finish the event the very next year. "I was the first woman to do that, and I am here to repeat the feat," she added.

Not an easy task, though, for a charming young woman like her. "Yes, it's very difficult. Riding on the sand is a different ball game than on the road. The moment you slow down, you tend to stop. So one has to keep the momentum flowing," said Sarah, who is on an imported KTM EXE 250.

READ: Desert Storm 2018: Rana scorches the sandy terrains; Santosh sizzles

"It feels absolutely great to fight with the boys, because it teaches you so much. But at times. it can be tough as well. because you are all on your own in the desert. If something goes wrong, there is none to come to your immediate rescue," she added.

But Sarah is happy venturing into this rally, that even at times, men dare to enter. "I love pushing to the limits. I don't believe in staying in a cosy corner of the room, cuddled up in bed and watching TV shows. I love to drive that extra mile and understand how strong-headed I am, and how much I can take," said Sarah, a former Judo national star.

She wants more to come out and test their skills. "When a small-made person, like me, is riding a bike, that is of the same height, it may look funny, but then, I think it's all in the mind. This sport is the next big thing. For me, it's like joining the Army. It grooms you, and makes you be wiser and stronger," she added.

A Sales and Marketing Manager in Polaris India, Sarah's ultimate aim is to do the Dakar Rally. "That's my dream too," she said, and quickly points to the sticker on her bike which read "Dakar One Day".