She is swift. She is gutsy. And she can burn the rubber and break barriers at the same time. She is among the top rally drivers in India and the only woman driver to have won the 2015 Indian Rally Championship (IRC) – Asia Cup – in women’s category. Meet Bani Mathur Yadav.
The mother of two doesn’t believe in following traditional paths. She is the fastest woman rally driver in India and the only woman in India to win all major rallies that took place in the country. And what’s more, she has been a professional racer for just four years. In an interview with Times of India, Bani says:
“It’s a man’s sport and men don’t like losing to women. The Indian male mindset is that it’s good that women are competing and branching out into different avenues but only as long as they aren’t beating the men. They say, theek hai, hobby hai iski, let her race. But they can’t digest if a woman wins.”
So here are some interesting things to know about Bani Yadav:
Bani Yadav is conquering the tracks at the age of 45. She started rallying just four years ago and is able to strike a balance between rallying and giving time to her family during weekends.
Her biggest inspiration has been her father who used to drive fast to give his daughter the adrenaline rush. This childhood memory became her biggest inspiration to take up driving. However, it was her husband, Suresh, who pushed her to pursue her dream. Bani talks about how she waited for her sons to grow up and be financially strong enough to chase her passion.
FROM GAON TO THE GLOBE
She has witnessed the transformation of her hometown from a real ‘gaon’ to a concrete jungle. She hopes that this change and the new culture of off-road driving will give rise to more rallyists. But for now, they all go to Banwari for practice.
Her biggest achievements have been the Indian Rally Championship – Asia Cup – in 2015, as it was the first time ever in Indian Motorsport that a woman won it. The second win was also in the Indian Rally Championship – Rally De North – 2016, where for the first time, a woman driver in India had come in an overall 2nd position.
Her fitness regime is one to look out for. She tends to lose a few kilograms after a rally but she survives on chocolates, health bars and juices along with a lot of water to compensate for this loss. Her focus is to keep the energy levels high. She gets up at 4 am and goes for a walk and has an extremely health-conscious diet.
She has blind faith in her navigator/co driver Sukhbans Mann, and together, they are “The Red Devils”. Bani says that they are like a hand in glove and she considers Mann as her daughter.
ON HER JUKE BOX
Her go to music while driving is English party music from the 80’s. She listens to the music of Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, George Michael, Madonna and many more.
FIGHT IS A FIGHT
Even though she claims that all her competitors are rivals on track and that she doesn’t differentiate between her male and female competitors, her biggest rival at all times is she herself. She aims to outdo herself and push herself in every race.
BLACK IS BLACK
The one thing that she has with her at all times is her kajal. She does not go anywhere without it.
She fights back at stereotypes. Her biggest victory has been overcoming the sexist remarks and critique. She faced opposition from everyone around her but all of these subsided after winning. There is no equaliser like sport.
She says “Dreams are beyond the realms of stereotypes imposed by society. Don’t let the gender define your capabilities.”
Jagriti Sharma Is An Intern With SheThePeople.TV
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