In late 2015, TVS Racing had established a rich and successful trajectory in the area of motorsports in the country. With 33 years of experience and multiple championships under their belt, it was time to expand the horizon by recruiting fresh talent. The game changed with the inclusion of Shreya Iyer in the team- the first woman racer in the history of the country.
As is the case with all other walks of life, women have what it takes to match and even outclass their male counterparts in racing. What they probably never had in our part of the world, was the opportunity.
Carrying on with the pioneering legacy of TVS Racing, we decided to take the initiative to train and nurture the best women racers in the country. As a first step to achieving the goal, TVS Racing announced a collaboration with Alisha Abdullah Racing Academy for Women – India’s first training school for women racers. TVS Racing supported the 18 women riders shortlisted by the academy with racing bikes and technical expertise. These riders were also given the opportunity to race exclusively for TVS Racing Team in the first year.
These 18 students were selected from 80 entries after they went through some very rigorous tests. The Chennai based academy was then supported in every way possible by TVS Racing to improve the physical fitness and hone the racing skills of the participating girls on a hired race track.
Of the 18 women that TVS Racing took under its aegis, many turned professionals in the very first year, showing tremendous talent and a propensity to learn. At the 4th round of the FMSCI National Championship held in Coimbatore, Madhu S from TVS Racing stood second in the Group B Scooter class up to 210cc while riding a TVS Wego. In addition, Shreya Sunder Iyer, the first woman racer from TVS Racing also participated in her first rally event at Coimbatore.
The achievements spoke volumes for the women riders, who managed to compete at the highest level and deliver results despite having significantly less exposure and experience than their male counterparts.
Encouraged by the enthusiasm and attitude exhibited by the women riders, TVS Racing took the game higher for the next year and announced a tie-up with Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing to select and train women racers. This was definitely a step-up for the women racers as unlike before, they were to be trained even more rigorously alongside male racers. TVS Racing also announced an exclusive One-Make Ladies Series for Women Riders for the year 2017.
As a part of the initiative, the academy called for entries from enthusiastic women riders from all across India. To ensure that we caught the talent young, we kept the eligibility age low, and any woman/ girl over 13 years of age who had a motorcycle riding experience of at least two years was eligible to apply for the programme.
Of the 30 women who registered, the most promising 25 riders underwent a day’s training and selection camp in Bangalore. This included 6 theory sessions followed by a practise session on the track and ended with a short race. Out of the 25 selected candidates, the top 15 women were shortlisted, basis a 3-lap race to compete in the first-ever TVS Ladies One-Make Series 2017.
As things stand, the final 15 women racers have been selected for the TVS Racing – Training Academy for Women in association with the Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing. These ladies will now compete in 4 races as part of the TVS Ladies One-Make Series 2017 to be hosted along with MMSC.
The year-long training and racing programme will be led by renowned racer & ex-TVS Racing rider Rajini Krishnan and other trainers from Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing. TVS Racing champion riders Jagan Kumar and Harry Sylvester will also be part of this academy as instructors.
The formal training school for women racers has already commenced from June 2017 and motorcycles to be used will be the race-spec TVS Apache RTR 200. Aishwarya Pissay, won the first leg of TVS Ladies One-Make Series and is also representing TVS Racing at Indian National Rally Championship; clinching titles at Pune, Nashik and Indore.
Things are moving fast, quite literally and the women whom TVS Racing has selected are showing great dedication in upgrading their skills. From sitting as mute spectators among the audience, the women racers today are competing with the best talent on the track. Not only are they upgrading their own skills and showcasing to the world what they’re capable of, they’re also pulling more and more audience to the sport with the style and glamour quotient only they could bring.
We wish our lady riders all the very best for their journey as a racer. We hope that they’ll make us all proud with their achievements not just in India, but create a mark for themselves at the international level as well. At every step of the way, though, they’ll find TVS Racing standing alongside them and supporting their endeavours in every way possible.