Standing tall in the man’s world – Sarah Kashyap
It isn’t a chance that her name sounds like a royal princess. She has a lot of royal titles to her credit. She is the first woman to lead Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey (Women), the first woman motorcyclist in the world to ride a Royal Enfield at the 17th Raid-de-Himalaya motorsport rally, that too in the Extreme category and the first and the only Indian woman to finish it. That’s not all, she is also the first woman to be hired in Royal Enfield Rides & Community division and again a first (and the only) woman to complete the Desert Storm race on a motorcycle. Our folks at ScoutMyTrip were as amazed as you are while taking the following interview.
How did it all start? Where did Sarah Kashyap and Biking first meet?
I have been riding for ever since I can remember, but rally racing started as an adventure. My first brush with the racing world was through SJOBA, which later grew into a challenge and has now graduated to a passion for the sport.
What were the obstacles faced by you in pursuing this passion?
Nothing that you want out-of-the-ordinary will come ordinarily. So I too had my share where I set-out to prove that I was not just a picnic rider, but someone who is here to stay. Since the sport is still in its nascent stage, there are a lot of challenges for all of us, especially the women. I participated as a privateer/individual who had to bear, arrange and fix everything for myself from the scratch but I am hopeful that things will change for the better.
How does it feel to be where you are today and what do you see when you look back?
Well it’s indeed a great feeling because I have achieved all this after a lot of struggle. Looking back, when I put all the pieces back together now, I feel my entire life has been a preparation towards what I loved doing the most.
How and why did biking come to your mind? Also, how does it feel to be the first woman to be hired in Royal Enfield Rides & Community division?
As I mentioned earlier biking was a part of my growing up so it was always with me but the formal initiation into this industry happened when I bagged the opportunity of being the first woman to work with Royal Enfield’s riding team. This is what made me the biker that I am today. It is extremely satisfying to be paving the way for other women and to contribute to motorsport, which I feel has still not gotten its due.
What are your plans for the future?
I have struck quite a few firsts off by default and now I am aspiring to cover quite a few more of those here and abroad. My bucket list keeps growing and I hope I get to explore more with each passing experience and even the ones which are yet to come.
What message would you like to send out to all the women out there?
Find the courage to follow your heart and everything will fall in place for you.