CHENNAI : Are you fascinated enough by gaming to make it career? Priyamvada Saradhi, a Bengaluru-based racer, has done that. She was the only woman in the first leg of the Indian National Rally Championship at the Madras Motor Racing Track. She has been a regular on the Indian racing circuit for close to a decade now.Like most kids, Priyamvada was fond of gaming. She was taken over by the concept of cars and speed. So much that despite being an architect, she ends up spending more time on the tracks and roads. “I used to play Need for Speed and I was so fascinated about the game that it pushed me to choose racing as career,” said the 27-year-old.
Her father is a businessman, who runs a chemical factory, while her mother is an ayurvedic doctor. She first drove her father’s Maruti 800 when she was nine. She is also a motorcycle racer, and the only female drag racer in India to win the national two-wheeler drag racing title, in 2011.Priyamvada’s first rally was the K1000 event held earlier this year. In the recent Indian National Rally Championship, MS Ravi and Priyamvada (co-driver) drove a Maruti Baleno and secured third place in the FMSCI 2W Drive Cup.
Asked about this experience, she said, “It was great learning. In a race there will be issues. But in one of the stages we had to finish the race almost with flat tyres and Mr Ravi had to drive almost a mile when the car was wobbling. This was something which I didn’t expect and it was a lesson to me. We should be cautious of such situations on a race track.”
In a male-dominated sport, passion drives Priyamvada. But she is not happy with the support for female racers in India. “Due to a lack of it, most of the female racing aspirants are not able to take it up as career. Children should have freedom to follow their dreams. I am lucky that my parents supported me.”
Whether the support system improves time will tell. By winning titles and being a rare woman in India to participate in multiple formats in a challenging sport, she is already a role model.