Aishwarya Pissay: Meet India’s First World Motorsport Champion
Aishwarya Pissay, a Bengaluru-based biker, makes history by becoming the first Indian to win a world title in motorsports as she wins the FIM World Cup in women’s category in Varpalota, Hungary. The 23-year-old biker finished fourth in the Hungarian Baja following, the first round win in Dubai and clinched the third spot in Portugal and fifth in Spain in the championship that occurred between Aug 9 to 11. Based on total points earned from all four rounds, Aishwarya won the World Cup. She finished with a total of 65 points, four points ahead of Portugal’s Rita Vieira in the final overall standings for women.
Before going for the final round of the championship, an ecstatic Aishwarya said, “Going into the Hungarian Baja, I am hopeful of performing better than in the previous round since the World Cup is at stake. It will not be easy as I have to negotiate nearly 590 Kms of Special Stages, but I am up to the challenge. After the last round in Spain, I stayed back to train. So, I have done pretty much all I can in terms of preparations. My focus here would be on performing well and the results will follow.”
How biking happened
Aishwarya began biking just five years back. She is also the first Indian woman to have won five national road racing and rally championship titles.
“I started going on weekend rides with my friends and that is where my love for biking began. Then in 2015, I began training at the Apex Racing Academy in Coimbatore and realised I had the skill set to get into professional racing and biking,” she told TOI
I met some women during my initial training days who were ready to take racing as hobby, but not as a profession. I am glad I didn’t go their way.- Aishwarya Pissay
Aishwarya’s past achievements
Aishwarya has been a part of a number of Indian rally championships as her skills on the two-wheel gain momentum everyday. In 2017 alone, she participated in and won numerous rallies. Last year, Aishwarya was the first Indian female rider to compete in the gruelling Baja Aragon Rally.
Speaking to NDTV, she said, “This will be my first international rally and I am overwhelmed as well as grateful to TVS Racing for giving me this opportunity. The Baja Aragon is a good training ground for any racer who has their sights set on the Dakar, as it tests their mettle among international talent. I am excited to race alongside experienced International Champions from the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team. The prospect of finally experiencing the RTR 450 is daunting but I look forward to packing time on the motorcycle and perfecting my technique.”
How injuries affected her
However, the 2018 rally ended prematurely as the now world champion crashed then and ended up rupturing her pancreas. Recalling her previous injuries before the race, she said, “I have had two major accidents. One in which I hurt my collar bone in 2017, then I had a bad fall and ruptured my pancreas in 2018. I underwent surgery and was in the hospital for two months. There was not even a single day in the hospital that I thought I won’t be able to race again. That incident taught me the importance of never giving up,” reported Times of India.
Winning the World Cup is huge for me. It’s an absolute honour to be the first athlete to bring home a World Championship title and put India on the map of International Motorsports. – Aishwarya Pissay
In 2016, the racer competed in the prestigious Raid de Himalaya race but due to some technical issues with the bike, she dropped out of the competition, only to make an impressive comeback in 2017. Last year, she finished at fourth place and was the only woman from her category to complete the race.
The year 2017 was a hard time for the youngster. A collarbone injury had to be fixed using a steel plate and seven screws and doctors advised her to be off the track for another three to four weeks. “I had a race in just five days. Nothing was going to stop me. I got up and raced and won the championship,” Pissay, who took up motorcycling at 18 revealed in an interview.
A Part Of Various Rally Championships In India
Aishwarya has not only claimed the first spot in the women’s category in FIM Bajas World Cup, but has also won a number of Indian Rally championships. In 2017 alone, the cross-country and enduro rallyist participated in and won three national championship titles (bringing the total count to four), and also aced the Dakshin Dare, one of India’s biggest motoring races. The same year, she was picked up by TVS Racing (the racing arm of TVS Motor Company) and now she averages about 20 races a year.
Though Aishwarya ended up at the fourth position in the Hungarian rally, her seven point lead from when she won in Dubai helped her grab the title with her overall highest score. Romero Font Rosa won the Hungarian round of the championship, while Garcia Alvarez Sara finished second.
Picture Credit- MyKhel.com