With ample family support Sarika Sehrawat has managed to stay on course in the challenging world of motor sport
Women are scarce in the world of motor sport. They are more scarce in the Indian scenario. One such ‘odd woman out' is Sarika Sehrawat.
Surviving a decade in the physically demanding, mentally challenging and financially draining motor sport is no mean feat. Sarika, one of the leading woman drivers of the country, has been able to sustain herself to compete in several top-level competitions and lift many titles in rallying, racing, autocross and go-karting.
She has won the women's crowns in the toughest rallying events of the country like the Raid de Himalaya and the Maruti Suzuki Desert Strom. The latest accomplishment by Sarika was the women's title in the Desert Storm event last month.
However, all these years, she has been hearing one common refrain every time she turns up for a competition: “Oh! You are back again.”
“There is always a talk ‘she is about to quit,'” says Sarika, remembering her journey from go-karting days back in 2002. She has marched ahead despite all this to chase her passion.
Ask her about the predominant belief that ‘women are bad drivers,' Sarika has a hearty laugh. “I do not know why. But every time you see a car creating a mess on the road, the driver turns out to be a girl! However, boys also drive rash,” she says.
Sarika, despite all odds, had the advantage of having the backing of her family. From the custody of a doting mother and a possessive brother to the care of an understanding husband, she has always got the support of people close to her heart.
The 31-year-old driver credits her friend-turned-husband (Arush Vohra) for helping her pursue motor sport even after five years of their marriage. The two run a Gurgaon-based company (Autopsyche) that deals with modification and performance enhancement of cars.
Nonetheless, Sarika admits that doing the balancing act – between her passion, profession and personal life – has been challenging. “It is very difficult especially before a rally, because we have to prepare ourselves physically as well as mentally. Every part of the car has to be checked and made ready…the preparation starts a month or so in advance.”
Now, Sarika's next target is to take part in the Dakshin Dare rally and a competition in Australia. “Earlier, I had received an invitation for this Australian rally. But I could not make it as it was very expensive. I hope to make it this time.”
Sarika thinks that aspiring women drivers should be supported in the country in order to help them take up the sport more seriously. After all, everybody is not blessed like her.