For Bani Yadav, adventure was always in her blood. Unlike most other young girls who preferred to play with their dolls at home, Bani loved climbing trees, chasing butterflies and playing in the mud. She loved watching her dad speed drive and says that that’s probably where she got her ‘speed genes’ from. Driving came naturally to Bani, as she was always passionate about it – men, are you listening? Bani is the perfect example to prove the infamous cliché that all men love saying – “women can’t drive” – absolutely wrong!
The Challenges Behind Becoming a Motorsports Champion
Bani had to make many sacrifices in her personal life that weren’t easy to get to where she is now. Missing her teenage sons’ talks at school, important family functions as well as not being by her husband’s side when important decisions had to be made took a toll on Bani’s life on the personal front. But Bani had to make a bold choice.
Life is never easy, everything one chooses to do is at the cost of something else.”
Bani says that you need 100 percent concentration to get through a grueling 8-10 hours of cross country rallying. She says that her struggles are what gave her strength.
One needs to discipline one’s mind and control it more as a sportsperson. One needs to train the body to be fooled by the mind to its weaknesses.”
Also, for a woman in India, today, to be a part of extreme motorsports, it is extremely important to have the support of her family. And Bani had that support, throughout. Bani says that her husband has been her biggest strength – pushing her on, motivating her, even taking part in races so that she could beat him and realize her true potential while being gracious in his defeats. Her kids too have been more than encouraging allowing her to go in the rally without having to worry about them.
In her free time, Bani loves traveling to isolated locations that bring her closer to nature. She says that she can sit for hours and marvel at the vastness and the miracles of nature. It gives her the sense of adventure, just like all the other things she loved doing as a little girl. She is also a science fiction movie buff and says it stimulates her mind.
The Speed Racer Embracing Girl Power
Bani got her motivation from many different sources. Her dad helped her realize her love for speed, her mom helped her bring out the true strength of a woman. Her husband showed her what a little push can do and her children showed her the power of having blind faith in their mother.
Inspiration is always from within. I do not want to get to the end of my life and realize that I just lived the length of it, I want to live the width of it too.”
Bani is the only woman to win all major Car Rally Titles in India. She was judged as the fastest woman driver in Asia-Pacific Rally cup (IRC) in the year 2015 and has won numerous awards, the most recent one being the Winner of FMSCI- Outstanding Woman in Motorsports for Rallying for the year 2016.
The Road Ahead for The Bold Racer
Bani admits that she still has a lot to learn in the world of motorsports and that it is an ongoing learning process. She has achieved just a minuscule amount of the vast ocean that is motorcar racing. She would have to train further to compete internationally. She also says that it is an expensive sport and it becomes difficult to keep pumping in her money every month. She plans to compete in all the rounds of Asia Pacific Rally Championship to be held next year.
Bani is thrilled to see more and more people showing interest in Motorsports. Her advice is to start off small and see if this is what one really wants to do. And if you find your calling in motorsports then practice and keep taking parts in bigger events. Since it is also an expensive sport, Bani advises treading slowly and carefully.
Go slow do not jump the guns. Give yourself time, a year or so.”
Bani’s advice to other motorsport enthusiasts? Simple… “Keep Vrooommming!”