“It’s absolutely overwhelming. I am out of words.”
Aishwarya Pissay’s out of word performance in the just concluded FIM Baja World Cup made her the first-ever Indian to claim a world title in Motorsports. The 23-year old from Bengaluru emerged as the eventual winner with 65 points overall after four rounds of the championship; the last round being held in Hungary where she finished fourth.
After winning the opening round at Dubai earlier in 2019, Pissay bagged third place in the second round in Portugal that was followed by a fifth place finish in Spain. With the fourth place finish in Hungary, Aishwarya Pissay won the title by a margin of four points over Portugal’s Rita Vieira. She also finished second in the junior category in which both men and women competed. Aishwarya ended with 46 points behind championship winner Tomas de Gavardo of Chile who finished with 60 points.
The FIM Baja World Cup is the premier championship of baja-style rally raid racing organized since 2012. After her third round in Spain, Pissay stayed back in Europe to train for the final round. It was her maiden attempt in the championship and the Dubai Baja was her very first international rally. Aishwarya, who participated both in women’s and junior category now aims to do well at the Dakar Rally.
“I hope I will be able to get more sponsors on board and eventually realize my dream and finishing the Dakar Rally which is considered the world’s most difficult cross-country race. In any case, I will pursue that dream no matter what.”
Aishwarya Pissay is infatuated with bikes from her younger days when her father took her on road trips around Bengaluru. After her 12th standard, she bought her first bike, which was Duke 200 by savings from her little income that she made. At first, she used it for her daily commute to hone her riding skill. Aishwarya’s first steps towards her goal was when she participated in MTV’s ‘Chase the Monsoon’- an 8000km road ride from Rann of Kutch in Gujarat to Cherrapunji in Meghalaya in 24 days. Subsequently, she also did two more rides– the Saddle Sore- 1600km in 24 hours and Bun burner – 4000km in 36 hours.
In 2015, Aishwarya started training for racing at Apex Racing Academy in Coimbatore and graduated from there in 2016. Aishwarya won 4 National titles in Road Racing and Rally Championship in 2016 and 2017 and won the National Rally Championship in 2018 as well. Its her sheer command and control over her profession that took TVS Racing to take her on board as a factory racer. Since 2017, TVS has been providing her with technical and financial support to carry forward her dream.
During the peak of her racing career in 2017, she had a major accident when she broke her collar bone. She had to have a steel plate inserted into her body with seven screws. In 2018, Aiswarya Pissay became the first Indian woman to compete in the Baja Aragon World Rally in Spain but she crashed heavily on the final day forcing her to retire from the event.
“It was a tough phase of my life, but I believed in myself and was determined to get back on the bike which I did after nearly six months.”
Aishwarya was in hospital for almost two months. But there was never a day when she did not think of racing again. She fought back with high spirits to show the world that nothing matters when conviction rules.
“After what happened last year, when I crashed in Spain Baja and suffered career-threatening injuries, to come out and win the championship, is a great feeling.”