Shreya on the cusp of history

Shreya on the cusp of history

Bengalurean is the first woman in the country to be part of a racing team

Shreya on the cusp of history

From singing to dancing to fashion designing, young Shreya Sundar Iyer has dabbled her hands at many things since her teens before realising her calling in motorsports.

Now, the 24-year-old Mount Carmel College graduate stands on the threshold of realising her ambition after TVS Racing decided to give wings to her dreams by roping her into their team.

“This is the most exciting thing that has happened to me,” said Shreya at a press conference here on Tuesday. “This will be the first time I will be riding competitively. I’ve been riding a lot in the past. I’m glad all that effort has taken me here. I thank TVS and very importantly my parents for all the support and encouragement.”

Despite having no competitive racing but having covered plenty of miles in off-road races across South India and a sand dune race in Dubai, Shreya becomes the first woman rider to be a part of any racing team in the country.

Staring at what could be a very difficult journey, she feels a strong outing in this season’s Indian National Rally Championship that kicks off in Bengaluru on May 1 could inspire more women to take up motorsports as a career.

“Motorsports is considered a male dominated sport and I think that’s false. There are so many women competing in rallies, circuit racing and off-road events now. I hope I’m able to break the stereotype that racing is meant only for men in the country. With TVS coming on board to support me, I hope more and more women take up this sport professionally,” added Shreya.

Shreya, who first rode a bike when she was 17 years old and will be riding a RTR 200 for the upcoming championship, said she’s been training very hard. “I’ve been doing some intense fitness training. On the dirt track close to Horamavu, I’ve been spending 5-6 hours every day. Racing against time is going to be very tricky. I’m running some trials and practising, getting an idea as to how a rally works. Hopefully I will do well. It's my first season, so it's a huge learning curve.”

A sport fraught with danger, Shreya’s parents -- father Sundar R and mother Usha Sundar -- weren’t too keen on her pursuing her goals but gave the green signal after much cajoling. “They were concerned about the safety factor. I sat them down and talked them through it. They've always stood by any decision I've made. For me, motorcycling is liberating. I wouldn't like it if someone was going to curb that.”

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