Buddh International Circuit. Some serious motorcycles. Screaming engines. And nothing but a streak of those motorcycles visible on the front straight. And all the riders were women. The event was called Track Furiez and fury there was.
Riderz Planet organized the all-women track day, Track Furiez on the 29th of April 2018. 9 of India’s prominent female riders took part in the event. BMW and Triumph provided the motorcycles. Some of the speediest motorcycles from these manufacturers were shown their way around the track by the trailblazing women. The might of the BMW S1000RR and Triumph Street Triple RS were equalled by the women as they blazed past the pit getting faster with every lap.
We talked to all the fantastic riders of the event and this is what they had to say about their experience on the track and their passion for motorcycling.
Mandeep Merwah who used to train women to ride motorcycles, and is taking up Track Furiez now, said, “The purpose of events like Track Furiez is to enable the women to have the opportunity to ride different motorcycles and experience different terrains. It helps create the platform where women can do that.”
“It’s completely a man’s world when it comes to motorcycling, especially riding on the track. So the base idea is to open up this opportunity to women because why not? Why shouldn’t be women riding motorcycles. I mean the bike doesn’t discriminate so why should we”, she added.
It was Mandeep’s first time on the track and she stated that it was quite scary. Upon asking how the bike and the track was she said, “The track is just perfect. It has got the twisties and the open straight stretches where one can really throttle it out. I rode a KTM RC390 today. It’s a very sweet and peppy bike. I am actually ready to try a different bike on this track as well. I think I have another slot on the track after 20 some minutes so let’s see.”
When it comes to safety in motorcycling, Mandeep stated that there’s nothing that beats safety when on a motorcycle and she likes to kit up even when she’s going grocery shopping.
Dr. Neharika Yadav who is a dental surgeon by profession and equally surgical on the track stated, that she loves BIC. She said that it is in the same league as the Mugello Circuit, Italy and Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, both of which she has ridden on. She says, “The thing is that initially every track looks intimidating but once you set yourself out there, after a few laps is when you actually get to know the corners and that’s how so it all seems quite similar.”
When asked if there are any sections on the BIC that she thinks are trickier than the rest, she said, “I think T1, T3 and T4 are quite tricky. These are the three turns that I find a little challenging, even more so for the new riders. So I feel that you should go a little slow into the corners at first and explore the entire track and then go fast because track riding is not a game of straights, it’s a game of corners and that is where you need to master yourself so never go full throttle into the corners right off the bat. About safety on the track, the thing is when you come to the track, safety gear is very important. That’s one thing on which we are always checked for on at the track.
And post that comes riding skills. Don’t push yourself beyond the limits, at least for a few sessions, that is. Once you are warmed up and your bike is all ready to go that’s when you start to push your limits.”
She rode the BMW S1000RR in the event and she had this to say about the bike, “I race in the 1000cc class on a 899cc bike which is underpowered, so there are a lot of instances where a lot of slow riders also throttle it out on the straights because of their litre class bikes. So I would definitely like to explore the BMW S1000RR because I have ridden it previously on the track and I feel it’s a beautiful bike and has excellent steering and everything. So, from a technical perspective I’d say that I would like to ride this bike and race on it if I am racing in the 1000cc class.”
When asked if the added weight of the litre class bikes as compared to her Panigale 899 would come into play she stated, “I don’t really think that should be too much of an issue because once you are on the track, aerodynamics kicks in. So that’s more important. For me, power is more important at this point to perform because I think that I have already reached the best that I could do on my Ducati 899 and now I need to start working and practicing on getting a better time which I think maybe a more powerful bike would help me with.” We also asked her if she plans to get the S1000RR to which she says, “I don’t know. Let’s see.”
On most of the occasions she is the only woman riding on the track so about Track Furiez she said, “It’s great to see more women riding on the track. I feel that women have got to come out of their comfort zone now and explore this venture as well and it feels great to be here with all the women. A lot of them are coming to me and saying that they want to see me riding plus they have also asked me a lot of questions on what they should be doing to ride safe here and it’s great to be in a position where I can kind of share these pointers with them. We are here to enjoy ourselves, go out there and show that women can also be there on a male dominated track and do well.”
Anam Hashim, India’s only female stunt rider, rode the Triumph Street Triple RS and thoroughly enjoyed her time on the track. She had ridden on BIC before but that was on a 150cc motorcycle so she loved the RS and it was a beautiful and handy machine. She also told us that she had to control herself from popping a wheelie which is not surprising at all.
We asked her the best thing about the track and how different was the experience from stunt riding and she said, “It’s the biggest track I have ever seen and the bike was like, meant for this kind of track so I just actually felt like opening the throttle but since I needed to be comfortable in my gear, I held myself back. But I would love to try again. But track riding felt really easy because even off-roading comes very naturally to me. So it’s just like going with the flow of the bike and that comes naturally to me so it was not tough. But the thing is, in stunt riding we don’t have speed, so this is an opposite thing for me even though the body position comes easy to me but going into that speed and having that mindset, I think I would love to train myself for that.”
She also stated that she would definitely come back to the track and would like to start with a KTM RC390 the next time around.
Candida Louis who is a motorcycle tour guide and a blogger was also one of the 9 riders who rode on the track for Track Furiez. She said, “Today was my third day on the track, third consecutive day. I have been on the track for the last two days and today was pretty exciting to ride the BMW S1000RR. It’s such a powerful machine and so much fun on the track so it was pretty amazing. The Buddh International Circuit is a closed and very safe environment, so you can push yourself to the limit over here. And you also have your safety gear and everything so it’s much safer. To all the girls out there, if you want to start biking, I think you should give it a try and definitely come here and practice and we want more women out on the roads.”
She stated that she is more of tourer person and rides a 1200 GS so her first time on the S1000RR was quite thrilling. She loved the bike and said that she’d definitely come back to the track to ride the S1000RR again.
We also asked her if she faced any difficulties being a female rider to which she said, “There are no difficulties at all. Actually, India is very safe for women to travel. The only difficulty we face is to find toilet whenever needed on the highways, but other than that people in India are very friendly and helpful.
Jasvinder Kaur works with Ducati AMP Superbikes and has been riding motorcycles for the past 12 years. She rides superbikes, does stunts and rides on the track as well. It was her second time on the track and she rode a Triumph Street Twin. Although, she said that she would have preferred the S1000RR as the Street Twin is not exactly a track bike.
We asked her which Ducati she would love to ride on the track to which she said, “Panigale of course, that’s my all time favourite. You must have seen the post – JK the lioness riding the Panigale on the roads.” She also said that she hasn’t ridden on any other tracks in India but she’d be definitely doing so in the future and she would definitely be at the BIC again.
Since it was her second outing on the track, we asked her which bike she rode on her first track ride to which she said, “That was my own KTM. 390 Duke. That’s the best one. RC is not good at all. Because Duke is like an all terrain bike you can do anything with it. Offroading. Track. Anything. And it’s like amazing in the city.”
To the women who’d like to take up motorcycling as a career or a hobby she said, “Yeah, it’s a good thing because motorcycling is like never ending fun and never ending entertainment. You won’t get bored riding motorcycles. It never makes you want to switch to something else because of discouragement or something. I mean even if you are working you do get disappointed at some point of time and you feel like you need to switch. It is never going to disappoint you. Never. For me it’s going to be a lifetime thing. Even when I die, I want to ride a bike before that. Its peace for me.”
Roshni Misbah aka The Hijabi Biker is a student at the Jamia Milia Islamia University and a biker. It was her third consecutive day riding at the track as she received training by Atomic Motorsports on the two days prior to Track Furiez. Roshni rode the Triumph Street Triple RS in the event. She had ridden the RS on both track and road and we asked her the difference between the experience to which she replied, “Track riding requires a lot of skill and that doesn’t mean that you don’t require skills to ride on the road but it needs a little more skill with the body position and everything.”
She gave the credit of her phenomenal ride on the track to the training that she received prior to the event, but unfortunately, she was not able to time any of her laps but she did cross the 200 km/h mark on her Street Triple RS.
We asked her about the difference in the safety measures on the road and the track and she said, “So while on the road you need to be very careful with the rear, front and everything therefore, the track is the safest way to ride your motorcycle fast.”
Sonia Jain is a competitive motorcyclist and a long distance rider. In addition to that she got her name registered in the Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records for being the first woman to ride 100 different models of motorcycles. She had ridden on the track in Chennai and she told us that she rode on the BIC as well, but that was 5 years ago with Yamaha and R15. That too was for a brief period of time and therefore Track Furiez was a completely different experience for her, as she told us.
She rode the Street Triple RS and we asked her about her experience to which she said, “I loved the bike but I could not do justice to it because it was obviously faster than I am on the track but that’s exactly the kind of motorcycle that I would want to ride on the track. I went up to 150-155 km/h and I didn’t note the speed post that.”
Since she’s an established road rider we asked her about the difference between the her experience on the road and the track and she told us, “Personally I would say because I travel more on the roads so I know the handling better so I enjoy it more on the roads because, that’s my forte. That’s what I have been doing for so many years. Track was a new experience so obviously I loved it. The bike was perfect for it so it’s completely different, but I enjoy open roads more than a track. When it comes to safety, I’d say the best way is to be equipped every time you go out for a ride.”
Suparna Sarkar, who is a ‘Software engineer by education, Motorcyclist by passion and profession’ was also a part of the Track Furiez rider roster. She told us that she had ridden on the track before but this was her first real – time experience. She rode the RC 390 and told us that the bike was pretty good, but she thinks she missed out on some fun seeing all the superbikes running around.
We asked her how it felt riding with so many other women riding on the track to which she answered, “Except for the airport and the railway station I ride anywhere and everywhere regardless of what I am wearing, so I get a lot gazes and stares on the streets. Of course you must be aware that women riders get unnecessary attention but here it was so cool seeing other women riders. I have been riding with other women groups also, so reconnecting with them and riding with them was quite an experience. It was lovely seeing them around. The gazes and stares are an issue when the other people try to interrupt your travel. Because sometimes when people notice that it’s a girl or it’s a woman they try to make unnecessary cuts and try to overtake you or pass comments and that is not good. But yes, definitely there are people who encourage women riders. They give a heads up and they compliment and say that you are a role model for our kids or somebody that we look up to, then it’s of course a boon to us and it really gives us more motivation to ride more.”
She told us that she has travelled extensively. She rode from Delhi to Goa to the India Bike Week during which she rode almost 700 kms in a day i.e. Ahmedabad to Pune, on an Indian Scout. She’s more of a cruiser fan but after riding the RS on the track, she said she’d like to do it again and more.
Ankyta Arora who states that she is an International Marketer by profession and a motorcyclist by passion also attended the Track Furiez. She owns an Avenger 150 Street and has gone for numerous long rides. She wants a Ducati Monster as her next bike.
We asked her about the rides that she had done to which she replied, “Last year I rode to Himachal Pradesh and the trip included Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri and the nearby areas. I have done offroading in that area too. We also did totally black ice snow riding there. Right now I am planning to go to Rishikesh for river rafting this weekend. Before that I rode solo in many of my Rajasthan trips and did those solo trips because I belong to Rajasthan itself. Those trips include Udaipur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur etc.
We asked her about the safety measures that riders must take for which she told us, “Generally you should always be properly geared up. You should also keep your eyes open and if you feel sleepy while riding or something, you need to stop your bike and take a nap and then go on. You also need to take care of yourself and your bike.”
About Track Furiez, Ankyta had this to say about the initiative, “If I talk about the Track Furiez, it’s a good initiative because in Indian mindset and the mentality of the people makes them think that only men can ride on the track. There are not too many females riding on the track, so this is a good initiative. I really appreciate it and look forward to being a part of it again.”
Text: Karan Singh Bansatta
Photos: Mohit Gena