Women Power: More are welcome to the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm

New Delhi: The Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm since its inception more than a decade and a half back has broken new grounds. It has been the proving ground for endurance, mental toughness and perseverance for the men, women and their machines.
In the spirit of the country’s longest rally-raid event, it has been encouraging to see the increasing number of women participants. We at Northern Motorsport feel that our sport will be a lot richer and fulfilling with greater participation from women competitors. For us it was satisfying to see seven women participants taking part in the 2018 Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm in various categories.
In the moto class, Sarah Kashyap and Aishwarya Pissay led the challenge of women riders. The two riders have taken different routes to pursue their passion. Kashyap has been a regular on the rally-raid circuit in India despite coming into the sport at fairly late stage. On the other hand, the young Pissay has part of the formidable TVS Racing team for the past couple of years and is a regular in track racing and cross-country rallies.
Much to her credit, Kashyap finished in highly creditable eighth place overall riding a Group A bike. Pissay, unfortunately pulled out of this edition of the Storm after she lost plenty of time on account of a navigation error in the early part of the rally. Both these riders, in some ways, represent the growing trend of women taking up two-wheeler sport.
In the Xtreme cars, Khyati Mody and Pratibha Anand brought women power to the starting grid. They had a reasonably good outing till their Maruti Gypsy was besieged by mechanical problems. There was also an all-women’s team in the Xplore category. The pair of Reena and Varsha Bishnoi of Team Desert Raiders did well until they too were hit by car problems. And in the Ndure category, Dr. Ritika Obiroi and V. Sekar competed on an equal footing.
“Over the past few years, we are happy to see women participation in the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm. In fact, Northern Motorsport would like to encourage more women to take part in the country’s longest cross-country rally. It doesn’t matter in which category they participate in as long as they come forward to be part of this gruelling rally. I would also like to put on record that the club is always ready to help any woman participant who is interested in doing the Storm,” said Raj Kapoor, co-founder of Northern Motorsport.


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Since the year 1998, Maruti Suzuki Motorsports has been fuelling the adrenaline of adventurous rally drivers and has been promoting motorsports in India for 18 years. The Desert Storm Rally last year, saw record-breaking participation, bringing together more than 200 rally enthusiasts from India and abroad. This also included the highest number of female participants in a rally in India. The seven-day extreme event covered a distance of 2,100 km from the National Capital Region to Jodhpur, and was divided into four categories — XTreme, NDure, XPlore and Moto — enabling enthusiasts to use vehicles of their choice, suitable to the corresponding terrain and format

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Northern Motorsport

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