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Its was 41 degrees outside for almost throughout the day. Sarah was up at 3.00 am and has been on her bike since 4 am fighting the terrain to complete the 1st leg of the India Baja organised at Jaisalmer last week. At the end of the day, she clocked a time of 01 hr 45 mins in Stage 1. Impressive.

We had the opportunity to grab a quick conversation with none other than Sarah Kashyap. While we were speaking to her, she was driving her way back to Gurugram from Jaisalmer in a pick up truck with her Manager. Here is the excerpt.

What were your expectations for India Baja 2017 ?

The expectations were big this time. Unlike the Desert Storm last time, where my fight was with the terrain (loose sand), this time I was looking forward to actually competing for a podium or finishing in the top 10. Its obviously too early to shoot for the Dakar Challenge right now but slowly and steadily, I’ll get there.

How was Day 1 and Leg 1?

Day 1 was great as there was scrutiny and then the ceremonial flag off. All the people were there. I was like a little girl in wonderland. I met C S Santosh (I’m a big C S Santosh fan BTW), J Rod (the guy who was 11th overall in Dakar this year in his 1st attempt), Arvind KP and other competitors. Then there was a briefing done by C S Santosh on Desert Navigation which was very informative.

Leg 1 was equally amazing. We had to be ready by 4.30 am so I was up at 2.30 am. There are a lot of preparations I needed to do for getting ready for Leg 1. And then as the day opens up, I saw these big boys, all kitted up, on their intimidating bikes and all. Its an overwhelming feeling to believe that you’re going to be competing against all of them.

At the end of Leg 1, I managed to clock a time of 1 hr 45 mins. I was really looking forward to Leg 2 until I realised that things had gone haywire. That’s where some foul play happened. The Air Filter on my bike went missing. Since I’m a little technically challenged, it took me a while to understand the consequence of what had happened. A few bolts on my bike here and there were also tampered with which made me ineligible to compete for Leg 2.

I really have no idea who could do that but now there’s no point feeling bad about something that I could not even foresee. So here I am, driving my way back to Gurugram.


So where is Sarah Kashyap headed next ?

So, going forward I will be participating all 6 stages of INRC starting at the end of this month. I’m in for the Raid-de-Himalaya in October 2017. This time I hope to graduate to a KTM EXC for the Raid which again would be a great experience to upgrade my game (although I would miss my RE Himalayan a lot!)

How has your journey of your RE Himalayan unfolded so far?

The bike has everything a rally racer could ask for. It’s not the best product for rallying purpose but its the best fit for someone like me. Honestly, rallying is horrendous and tiring. You’re up at 3.30 am and you have to be ready on the bike by 5.00 am. The mornings are cold and suddenly it becomes terribly hot in the deserts. This causes the bike to overheat a lot and a lot of other stuff can happen around. It doesn’t need just one skill to be a good rally racer. Rallying needs a 360 degree approach and the bike plays a very important role in that.

As of now, my bike is like a wounded soldier. So I’m taking it back home to get it right. But it fought well and I’m proud of it.

I’m sure its not easy to do what you are doing and there’d be a lot of people behind the scenes. Anyone in specific?

I would like to thank the folks at EagleRider India, CL Brakes, Battery Tender & Maxride Tyres for believing in a  rookie like me and helping me achieve something that no woman in this country has ever achieved.

We wish Sarah all the very best from #BikerSocial and hope that she continues to make us and our country proud. You can get in touch with Sarah Kashyap through Facebook or Instagram.


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