KOCHI: Born and raised in an orthodox Muslim family in Kozhikode, Fazeela Uppilathodi never thought in her wildest dreams that she would become a rally rider. “I never dreamt of becoming a racer, but I was always fascinated with bike stunts and just wanted to ride a bike,” says the mother of a five-year-old girl. It was her accidental meeting with Kochi’s popular biker crew CoG racing that motivated her to take up biking as serious business.
“There are plenty of women from our state wanting to be racers, but lack of good tracks often discourage them. When I started racing, I also faced issues while practising. There are just a few spots for it, like open grounds in Kochi, but locals started complaining about the dust and I had to stop,” says Fazeela. This 29-year-old fitness trainer is on a mission to encourage more girls to take up bike racing. “
I am not concerned about being a woman bike rider but it’s all about being true to the sport,” she adds, citing the stereotypical gender roles thrust upon women. “After finishing first in the regional mud-race at North Paravur, I started training for MRF’s National Rally Championship 2017 at Baroda and Indore. It was CoG trainer Vishnu V V who encouraged me to spend more time in the workshop and gave me the technical briefing necessary to win the rally,” says Fazeela.
She is one of the first women from Kerala to compete in Raid De Himalaya, the flagship rally of a Shimla-based Himalayan motorsport club held last year. It is considered one of the most difficult competitions. “I completed the race in my TVS Apache RTR 200. Despite being short on funds, my friends’ encouragement kept me going and I was able to win,” said Fazeela.