Becoming a champion in a sport that’s not easily accessible or affordable is going beyond the ordinary. So when Bengaluru’s Aishwarya Pissay became passionate about motor racing — she knew it wasn’t going to be an easy ‘ride’. However, a few years down the road and a total of nine championship wins later, she became India’s first ever athlete to win a world title in motorcycle racing and rallying at 24 in 2019.
The year before the coronavirus hit, forcing countries to go in a complete lockdown, proved to be the most satisfying time in Pissay’s professional career. She became the first Indian athlete to win a world title at the FIM Baja Rally World Cup in the women's category and placed second in the junior category in the overall championship (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme Baja World Cup) in 2019.
Talking about winning the World Cup, she recounted, “When I was standing on the pedestal, receiving the cup in Hungary, that's when I realized I had won, because what I did helped me put India on the map of motorsports as well and that was huge for me.”
This year, she participated in the Dubai International Bajas and ranked third. It was also the first round of the FIM Baja Rally World Cup under the women's category.
Aishwarya Pissay’s goal is set on the Dakar rally — the world's most grueling off-road rally. “The goal is to be in Dakar in a few years. That's my goal. And apart from that, I have the World Cups that I want to participate in. These are the two goals at this point in the nearest and the farthest,” she says. Watch the video to know more about Aishwarya Pissay’s journey into motor racing.
(Interviewed by Poorvi Gupta; Video produced by Manasi Phadnis and edited by Dhruv Sharma)