A 33-year-old woman (an advertising professional) racing a Gypsy on the Himalayas in the Xtreme category, which is said to be the toughest and most challenging for racers, breaks all conventions with her passion.
Mumbai-based Shuchi Thakur, hailing from Dharamshala, is the longest running Xtreme woman rallyist of India, who started rallying in 2005. Today, she is all set to participate in the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya — October 7 to 12 from Shimla to Leh — marking her eighth year at the raid. “In 2005, I was allowed to participate only in the adventure category, which is relatively low on the risk factor and follows the time-speed-distance (TSD) format.
But since 2006 [seven times so far], I have been participating in the Xtreme category at Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya, besides the three times that I participated at the Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm and the four times at SJOBA Sub-Himalayan Rally,” she proudly shares.
Going beyond the passion and the adrenaline rush that is a part and parcel of rallying, she says, “Not everyone understands motor sports. Unlike cricket, neither is the sport easily accessible, nor is it understood by everyone. Even when we approach the sponsors, we have to provide the whole knowledge first. Hence, you have to be very passionate about the sport to be a part of it.”
Ask her if she manages to raise some eyebrows being a woman rallyist in India, and she says, “Rallying is not a gender thing. Anybody who has the right driving skills and can take the challenge of Xtreme rallying can do it.”
Thakur’s navigator, Shweta Joshi from Noida, with whom she was paired for Raid De Himalaya 2011, will also be accompanying her on the Maruti Suzuki Raid De Himalaya this year.