The Kari Motor Speedway in Tamil Nadu purred powerfully as an army of women in four-wheeled, red bullets shot laps around it for the first time in history.
Hailing from all over the country, 60 women competed in a sports trial conducted to choose six racers who would participate in Coimbatore’s JK Tyre National Racing Championship with men on July 6th, 7th and 8th.
Organised by Sarosh Hataria, three-time national racing champion and founder of the Ahura Racing banner, the all-women’s talent-search was inspired to make Indian sports more inclusive.
Inspired by his mother, who raced at Chennai’s Sholavaram track in the 1908s, Hataria, in an interview with The Times of India said, “After winning my last championship in 2013, I decided to give back to the sport.”
After receiving an overwhelming 180 responses, Hataria decided to limit the entries to 60. This was done to ensure that the race training programme happened effectively.
This weekend, the chosen female racers will flag off as drivers on Team Ahura Racing to debut their racing skills, an opportunity not readily available to Indian women.
One of the participants is Roshni Lelinwalla, a resident of Coimbatore. In an interview with The Times Of India said “I have done a few laps before in race track, but I have never raced, which I always wanted to do.” Lelinwalla clocked the fastest time of all participants at the trial and was a natural pick for the team.
Dr Ritika Oberoi, a 28-year-old veteran motorist from Pune, has been involved in off-road and rallying for a while. “I loved the experience of training with these ladies. I am passionate about the sport. This is the first opportunity for us and we have done well,” she said.
Lea Daran from California, Priyamvada Saradhi and Hansuja from Bengaluru, and Megaa KS from Delhi will join Ms Leinwalla and Dr. Oberoi as teammates for the championship race.
Although Indian women are still at the receiving end of a stereotype that they cannot drive, these racers are seeking to change the rules of a male-dominated sport. Whatever the outcome of the JK Tyre National Racing Championship, this all-women’s racing team is the first of its kind and refuses to be the last.
You can read the full report in The Times Of India here.
Feature Image Courtesy : Times Of India
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