Pune: “Beating the boys and being in the top 10. Getting the third trophy and fighting for the second place...,” were the words of an elated Aishwarya Pissay as she spoke with Sakal Times after winning the ‘Best Lady Rider’ of the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dakshin Dare Cross-Country Rally.
The participation of girls in this event was impressive this year and they made their presence felt. Aishwarya, a familiar face in the racing circuit, took part in Dakshin Dare for the first time.
“The event was a challenging one. The tracks were already challenging enough and the rains made it even tougher. So everyday fighting with the boys for seconds and minutes was like quite a new experience for me,” Aishwarya said.
“Honestly on Day 1, I did not expect myself to be in top 10. I did not expect myself to perform so well. All I was thinking was that I have to finish in the top 15 at least. But then looking at my placing on Day 1, I was on top 9, then I started craving for top 5. That’s how I was strategising,” she said.
Speaking about the course, Aishwarya said “It was almost different terrains everyday. The last day was the ghat section where it was raining, which made it worse but that’s what rallying is all about: to endure the worst and get the best out of it. There was a moment where I almost fell off a cliff which was quite challenging. Otherwise there was no moment where I felt that I can’t do it.”
“Normally Dakshin Dare happens in southern India. This year they chose the western ghats to give the riders and drivers a different terrain. And, it put the man and the machine to test and it was quite a challenge,” she said.
“Honestly I kept doing things just as my coach Vishwas suggested. ‘Just concentrate on the basics and focus. Do the right thing and everything else will fall in place’. That’s all I did and I was in the top 10,” she added.
“Last year was the first time I took part in an off-road event as such and Dakshin Dare is the first-ever event of this type for me. When I came, there were a lot of people telling me that I should not do this, I am a girl and I should probably stay home and all of that. But this time competing with the boys and coming third in the category has given me confidence.
“Don’t let the naysayers stop you. Do what you like and you get where you have to,” Aishwarya concluded with a message to all the girls, who want to make it big in their chosen field.