Shreya recently became the first woman rider to be signed on by TVS for 2016’s Indian National Rally Championship.

Breaching the male bastion of bike racing Bengaluru-girl Shreya rides to glory
news Saturday, May 21, 2016 - 16:30

A superlative 360-degree view of the Western Ghats, while biking through the trails of Kalasa near Chikmagalur in Karnataka three years ago, was what it took for Shreya Sundar Iyer to take the final step towards the adrenaline rush of professional racing. For the 24-year-old racer, who recently became the first woman rider to be signed on by TVS for 2016’s Indian National Rally Championship, there has been no looking back since.

Shreya is also the first woman rider to be a part of any major racing team in the country.

“To trail along those rough terrains and finally reach the mountains is such a rewarding experience. At the end of the day, it all comes down to my motorcycle and its many stories,” says Shreya. A design and management student from Bengaluru, she quit her corporate job to pursue motorsports. She confesses to having been fascinated with motorcycles since she was a young girl.

“I remember my uncle riding a Bullet 350 whenever he used to come visit us. I preferred being behind the gear (driving the bike) to the backseat,” she exclaims. Her competitive tour checklist includes biking through the Suru valley in the Himalayan ranges and a rigorous South Indian biking expedition covering 2,000 kilometres in just six days.

From not being allowed to handle massive bikes to picking up the sport professionally, Shreya has had a long love affair with her bikes. “Whatever I have learnt till now has been through the many bikes I fostered from my friends. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I am emotionally attached to the wheels,” she laughs.

Her off-roading tour around the trails of Kalasa might have been one of Shreya’s biggest milestones. But long before that, at the age of 17, she plunged into racing  by registering at MX Dubai for the KTM Adventure Tour. In what was supposed to be her vacation in the West Asian metropolis, Shreya found her first motorcycle expedition. “I was a curious 17-year-old, with an eye for bikes,” she remembers, speaking fondly about the “tall bike” she rode to become the first Indian woman to have ridden the dunes of Dubai.

Interestingly, however, she didn’t even know she had broken a record by doing so. “As we are speaking now, there are plenty of women, attaining heights in different facets of life. Be it the Dunes or the championship this year, my gender should not even be a factor,” she declares, busting the stereotype that comes along with a sport of this kind.

“We have not had many women in the sport, but we definitely are going to see more women in a few more years,” she adds. The 24-year-old racer will be seen exploring six cities in the Indian National Rally Championship.