One of the most anticipated ‘big bike’ race of India is almost here. We are talking about Final Round, Round 4 of the JK Tyre National Racing Championship which will be held at the Buddh International Circuit from 16th to 18th November 2018.
We at xBhp have been hard at work getting ready for the race, priming up our BMW S1000RR for the competition. But we aren’t the only participant now are we? One of the best crop of race-track geniuses will be a part of the race and in a bid to get to know our ‘on-track rivals’, we converse with them to bring to you, their story. So xBhp brings to you ‘Have a seat, champ’ powered by JK Tyre, Castrol POWER1 Racing, OnePlus and autographix.com.
The first one in line is the 25-year old Kalyani Potekar from Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. Owner of a sweet Triumph Street Triple and an educationalist by profession, she has been into motorcycling since the age of 18. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation with the national racer who also happens to have a dab of love for drag racing:
How did you come into motorcycling?
My dad was into motocross racing and he used to take me to the track since I was a 3 month old baby. I learnt riding motorcycles at the age of 10. Later I got my own after finishing my boards. Then in 2009 my dad had participated in Raid de Himalaya known as one of the world’s toughest rally. I was there in the service team. Saw him battling and followed the footsteps. Later in 2013, I participated in Raid and the journey continues.
Being a girl, how difficult or different was it for you to come into motorcycling?
Motorsports Being a male dominated sports I’ve faced a lot of struggle. Comments from people, society and relatives as well. I remember being underestimated many times at the beginning of my journey.
Would like to mention one incident- I was attending a track day and asked for feedback from a pro rider but in return he said ‘ pehle bike stand se nikalna seekh’ (learn to get the bike off of the stand first). This is how girls are dominated. They are considered weak.
But yes at the same time I consider myself very lucky because my parents always supported me be it academics or motorcycle racing. They always motivated me to face the challenges. They believed in me, my dreams and my decisions. I remember my mom used to make notes for me while I was performing in equestrian championships during my 12th boards. Whatever I have achieved today is the result of their blessings and support. Proud to have them by my side.
What was the first motorcycle that you rode?
It was my dad’s Yamaha RX100.
What are your hobbies other than motorcycle riding?
Other than Motorcycle riding I enjoy riding horses and photography. I’m a trained Equestrian as well and have represented central India in many championships.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far in motorcycling?
It was my dream to represent India on an international platform and race along with the boys which happened last year. FMSCI gave the opportunity to participate in the FIM Asia Cup of Road Racing, Thailand and Taiwan. With all the dedication and hard work finished at 3rd place. Such a proud feeling it was holding the tricolor on the podium. This was the best one so far.
Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
I want to race and explore more in the coming years.
I believe in upgrading and learning as much as I can. I look forward to get some sponsorship and go further.
How are you training/preparing yourself for the JK Tyre Championship?
After finishing the MRF National championship last year; I set my eyes on JK Tyre championship 2018 and started preparing since then. Preparation/ planning is the base of any goal. It involves many things which includes practice, fitness, training, bike setup and also figuring out the finances as well.
Well I have been planning all these since a year and yes finally the time has come and I’m ready for it.
I have been training under Mr. Gurvinder Singh (JK Tyre 600cc champion), Juzar Motiwala (UAE champion) who helps me with my bike, Vicky Sir, my friend Simran (JK Tyre 1000cc champion), Dr. Neharika and many other riders on the track who always motivate me to be faster and safer on track. Off the track I’m associated with ‘Lady Riders of India’ who are pillar of my strength.
How do you keep yourself fit mentally and physically?
To be physically fit I ride horses, a bit of cycling and swimming. For mental fitness I spend time with my pets; my dogs and horses. They are my therapy. They help me in reducing stress and give me a lot of positive energy.
How important do you think is the JK Tyre championship for motorsports, particularly motorcycling racing in India?
JK offers a plethora of opportunities for young riders to showcase their talent.
If we talk about motorcycle racing in India there are better things coming up. Recently, there was an event by Ducati where I got opportunity to ride with Ducati chief test rider Alessandro Valia. So yes! We can say that Better days are coming.
What message do you have for the girls who want to come into motorcycling?
For girls who want to come in motorcycling there are opportunities. The best recent example is Ana Carrasco who won the 2018 World Supersport 300 Championship and became the first female rider in history to clinch a World Championship in solo motorcycle road racing. What else you need. She has set a bigger target. If she could so could you. All you need to do is to believe in yourself. Set a goal, make a plan and Chase it. There will be people to dominate you and break you and make you question your choices but trust me all you need is to focus on your dreams and work hard for it every single day. There will be times when you will feel like giving up but girl you know something you have the potential, you are stronger than you think. Never stop dreaming, never. Dreams do come true and Nothing comes easy in life and giving up is never an option. You are just one decision away from a totally different life. I have taken mine. What’s yours?
Last but not the least from my pen- ‘Dream your ‘dream’ it’s never too late and never ever give up.’