The entire world stays in awe of them, truth be told. Most want to be like them, but few actually capture the élan of being one. Looking at the world around us, full of hassles and smoked by despair, at times it all gets too confusing, doesn’t it? And suddenly, when out of nowhere you encounter a master on wheels, zipping ahead of the nonsense curve of life with all confusions and despair that holds us back- our world produces that moment where we are shaken but, happily stirred. Now this speedster, one who in a nearly Zen-like fashion blazes past us could be anyone. In most cases where randomness doesn’t bite some loose wheel nut, you could say for certain that a pro bike racer just zoomed past you.
The racers are a mad breed. They couldn’t care more about what the world perceives of them or what image they hold in the eyes of others. Always in a hassle, to go out there to burn rubber on track and not to prove a point to others- the racers are cool as ice and hot as melting lava in an incessant desire to break away from the mundane.
Take the conservatives for example who litter irrationality a bit too soon in their analysis of a racers’ mind boggling talent calling it ‘loud’ when all it is, is a melody churned by the superbike. Therefore, it wouldn’t be incorrect to hold that a racer is more than the sum of our understanding of his craft in handling a bike. His ride being the beast on two wheels, the world stays in awe of and his mind, the master that produces magic from this beast.
Interestingly, it must be noted that not all who master biking are a “He”. And, who has made this rule that it takes a Man to produce awe inspiring stuff from a bike. If you skid into your mind and analyze the gender of a Bike, when fundamentally there shouldn’t be one- you may find it being poetically skewed toward being a She.
Meet Dr. Neharika Yadav India’s Fastest Lady Super Biker
What’s Up Gurgaon met with Dr. Neharika Yadav, the Fastest lady Super Biker (There are only 2 Professional Woman Racers in India) among us who has already made her presence felt and literally so, at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC), India’s only and premier racing circuit.
In a sport dominated by men, both internationally and domestically, Neharika, is our only Lady Super Biker in an India still coming to terms with the existence of Women in racing. Neharika, with her tenable mastery at counter- steering and control in a sport notorious for its fatalities- is the reason behind envious eyes prying at the Buddh International Circuit, located at Greater Noida, Delhi NCR- India’s premier answer to an international racing circuit, as seen in Formula One, the pinnacle of motor racing and Moto GP, the grandest stage of international bike racing.
Clocking up big time at BIC and other racing events
Riding on Track days, a day open to all racers armed with mandatory racing gear and stipulations as necessitated by Superbiking, and other speed events held at the BIC (Buddh International Circuit), Neharika, the smiling speed demon locks horns and twists them too with some pomp on a track that that accepts nothing but pure skill and dogged determination.
Furthermore, it doesn’t differentiate between a man or a woman rider on a bike that knows just one way to go: full throttle, if one is to succeed and make an impact. But, impact she has made and one hell of it already. Earlier this year in April, 2015, Dr.Neharika Yadav participated in the KTM Open Track Day as the only Lady Rider among as many as 97 Male Drivers. And, she speeded past her rivals and thus the gender bender standing 20th on the grid, setting a personal best lap time of 1:52: 379 minutes in just 14 laps of racing.
An embodiment of daring on two wheels
Racing and specifically, Superbiking and Motor Cross aren’t your average biking sports. They call for more than just skill if one is to succeed, forget just making the cut. What they call as adrenaline rush is served in its most potent form the moment you buckle up to face possibly the toughest ask given the daring and daredevilry that racing imposes on those gifted maniacs at the highest level. The sound of the engine is enough to drive that heartbeat to a ‘racing’ level, nevermind what follows.
Neharika Yadav, who has spent 2 years of Motorcross, the most rugged form of racing over and above the competence and daring that the concrete turf of designed racing tracks impose, has also made an entry into Superbiking, riding a Ducati 899 penigale where according to the modest girl, she can handle herself well.
To shun modesty apart, let’s focus where we must, i.e., toward the caliber of this speed voodoo, speaking of which it would be important to share with our readers that Neharika started from a CBR250 before switching to KTM 390 RC before finally settling down, at least for now, with the hulk of them all, Ducati 899 penigale- her license to smash ’em all at Superbiking.
The West and the East: how easy or tough is it for a Lady Driver
In the West, where it isn’t too uncommon to come across massive racing infrastructure supported by and an accomplished racing tracks powered by a generally better understanding of the sport. Had that not been the case in the West, perhaps we wouldn’t have come across a Danica Patrick or a Susie Wolff, NASCAR and F1 respectively.
But here in an India, still grappling with the idea of having to see women take up their passions, reference to context being our hinterland realities and the complex/ flawed emotional hegemonies of urban centres that would still not budge from portraying men as the ultimate doers of them all- we are slowly but surely finding our groove.
So to have a lady racer wanting to excel and having already proved her mettle to social commentators, obviously didn’t come up as a very welcoming news to those around her. Must one not forget that there’s also the unavoidable fear from our families, friends and loved ones who would rather take on our own all the world’s troubles that allowing women to go ride their fancy- something that doesn’t end with marriage or a love relationship. And they cannot be blamed for it.
Speed, a letter more than grit
Dr. Neharika Yadav, who ably balances her twin pursuits of dentistry and being the Buzz kill of men who cannot accept a women bettering them on the race track with a bike has already completed 2000 kilometers at the Buddh International Circuit having first made a pilgrimage to the track as this biking enthusiast.
Not too long ago, three or more years to be exact, Neharika had visited the BIC at Greater Noida and was instantly captivated by the sound of 1000 cc bikes as she stood in awe of super bikers speeding from the pit lane competing in a racing contest. She says she went home that day but perhaps left something behind on the racing track; a spark that had been ignited by the superbikes she saw. The decision to pursue her new passion had been made. She was told of the repercussions of becoming a ‘lady’ biker, a tag that she is well on her way to burn, with some guile, but who was to stop her?
Months of incessant practice orchestrated by her own effort and marked by great guidance from senior and pro- fellow riders nurtured the bike racer in her. Starting out from a 150 cc Honda, Neharika ably picked up both the technical know-how of the craft of bike racing and also countered the greatest fear of them all; the risk of losing one’s life in this dangerous pursuit.
Today, with just 3 years of Motorcross and Superbiking, Neharika having established her fortay in a sport marked by daredevilry has taken the initial steps toward finding greater glories in a sport followed with pure passion worldwide. And this is just the beginning.
We present you 21 questions that fuel the mind of this embodiment of determination:
- What is the meaning of your name?
My name means Attraction
- Pick one- Medicine or Super Biking?
A tough one as for me both are my passion but Superbiking it is, considering I have gotten a chance as the only lady rider to venture into the sport and that to me is really special and worth making a choice.
- Your inspirations?
The Superbikers at Buddh circuit and internationally its motogp champion Kevin Schwantz who I got a chance to personally interact with and get good riding advice.
My favorite moment was riding off from the pits of Buddh circuit at my first race which was the JKtyre Superbike championship. It was a feeling comparable to a soldier setting out for battle.I could imagine the famous Rocky Balboa song “eye of the tiger” humming at the back of my head and the adrenaline rush was unimaginable with the crowd screaming and clapping and a packed grandstand going mad seeing the superbikers on their 1000cc monsters ready to be flagged off to race.
- One suggestion that you’d like to give to Bike racing enthusiasts?
A true biker is one who is always in proper riding gear and keeps their as well others safety in mind as that is the first step in respecting and truly pursuing the sport.
- European men or Indian men?
A good blend of the twobut if I had to choose one it would definitely be Indian men.
- Voda, Gin or Rum?
Wine is my drink but if I have to choose its Vodka.
- Moto GP or Cross biking?
- I want in your own words- suggestion to upscale awareness of bike racing, cross-biking in India?
Having more track events with mass media coverage and a Celebrity ambassador who himself is into bikes,who could talk more about the sport in media could give the sport great recognition as biking/bikes are already a passion amongst most of the youth in our country.
- The first time you ever rode a motorcycle was? Which one?
The first time I ever rode a motorcycle was in 2013 which was a motocross Honda crf 250 I own.
- Your favorite bike to this day is?
The Ducati panigale 899 which I fortunately own today.
- What do you love the most about competing in your category?
The fact that I am the only lady rider amongst all male competitors and that too in the 1000cc category.
- Senna, Schumacher or Vettel?
Delhi as its closer to Buddh international circuit 🙂
- Chennai or Bangalore?
Chennai as I have a lot of rider friends from there and it also has a race track.
- Your greatest achievement in your career?
So far a 2:23 minutes on my Ducati panigale 899 covering 5.1 Km lap of Buddh international circuit, Greater Noida.Have a long way to go as the fastest guy on track is a 2:01 minutes.
- What do you have to say to the tag “Women Biker”? Is this irrational, absurd or do women still need to prove themselves in this sport?
The reason why people term it as “woman biker” is because there aren’t too many women who have set out calling biking their passion n hardly anyone who have ventured into the world of super biking, burning rubber on a national race track.As it is in India the percentage ratio of women: men in any sport is lower and so one cannot blame the tag though, what kind of an attitude one carries while mentioning this tag depends solely on that persons mental capacity n exposure in life.
- The most challenging Moto GP track in the world is?
Phillip Island racing track in Australia is supposed to be one of the toughest n most challenging race tracks.
- The best racing infrastructure in India is at?
In my knowledge it’s at the Buddh international circuit, Greater Noida.
- Five words that define you
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 five years?
I see myself working rigorously in bridging the seconds from the fastest male rider on Track and representing India at International Super-biking championships.
With Contributions from Samiya Shakir & Gaurav H Luthra