Pratiksha Das is now the winner of two TVS Racing Championship trophies and also the title holder of the fastest female at India Speed Week Drag Race.
The motorcycle racing culture in India is witnessing exponential increase in the last ten years or so. In the contemporaneous times, Idemitsu Honda Racing India is making steady progress at the 2019 Asia Road Racing Championship in Australia. Starting at 12th place, when Rajiv Sethu became the first ever Indian rider to finish in the top ten of ARRC by securing the tenth place in the final lap, the female racers of India are breaking the stereotypes and leaving a mark in the racing culture among Indian masses.
Along with the veterans, the Mumbai-based young engineering student Pratiksha Das is setting a benchmark and showing a glimpse of a promising next generation of female motorcycle riders. Pratiksha was introduced to the world of motorcycles as young as twelve years and she has never looked since then. Pratiksha’s passion for motorcycles drove her in pursuing Mechanical Engineering to learn more about the technical aspect of machines.
Amby Valley Drag Race
With very little knowledge about professional motorcycle racing in the year 2016, Pratiksha Das was motivated by her mother and friends to participate at Amby Valley Drag Race – India Speed Week and put up an impressive performance to get noticed by senior riders and brands. This success was immediately followed by an opportunity to take part in the selections for India’s first female motorcycle racing team by TVS Racing, Chennai.
Pan India, there were 60 participants in the pool for a tough chase competition and Pratiksha nailed it in the final team of 15 motorcycle racers. Winning several noteworthy accolades, Pratiksha Das became Mumbai’s first track racer and came to be popularly recognised as “Racer Chick” in the motorcycling fraternity. Trained by her role model, Alisha Abdullah, one of the most experienced track racer, Pratiksha Das is now the winner of two TVS Racing Championship trophies and also the title holder of the fastest female at India Speed Week Drag Race.
Reflecting on the motorcycle racing horizon of India, Pratiksha Das says, “Motorcycle racing scenario in India for females began in 2016 and now there is a lot of support from all ends. At present, separate women categories are conducted in the professional format, which is motivating a lot of women to get into motor sports and look at it as a career option.”
Breaking the stereotypes
While elaborating on how she broke the gender bias and the typical stereotypes, Pratiksha Das said, “I personally faced some backlash on social media when I started with people saying motor sports is not meant for women. But now, we are changing the outlook of the society and there is immense appreciation, love, and support for us.”
Stating that there was a constant search for more talent with female motorcycle riders and there are now options available to get professionally trained by certified trainers, Pratiksha Das went on to add: “Motorsports is a fast and dangerous sport. It is not recommended to try it with proper guidance. I am looking forward to future races and working hard towards waving the Indian flag in the world of racing globally.”