My Story: It Took 20 Years To Realise Bike Riding Was My Ultimate Passion

Image Credits: Lani Zena Fernandez (From The Source) 

My Story: 'It Took 20 Years To Realise Bike Riding Was My Ultimate Passion'

Inspired by her racer father, Lani Zena Fernandez from Puducherry is living the dream and breaking boundaries with one bike race at a time.

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We all know that the engine is the heart of a motorbike. Without it, the bike is lifeless. For me, that engine kickstarted one summer morning. My father was Go Karting, and I was just a five year old cheering him on excitedly. Once he stepped out of the kart, he asked me if I wanted to try driving one. Immediately, I jumped onto one, but I was too tiny even to reach the accelerator and brake. So, he kept four cushions and explained the basics.

I hit the right pedal so hard that I collided in the corners when I was ready to go. I was terrified. I don't remember what I did, but I somehow managed to steer myself out. It happened the second time as well, but it was less scary this time. After six laps and multiple collisions, I felt invincible. Somehow the track and the very sound of racing cars ignited something in me. However, I was too young at that time to realise it.

Fuelling My Passion

Ten years down the line, my dad brought home a beauty - a newly restored Yezdi bike. I kept pushing him to let me ride. He was worried about was what I'd do to the bike. I managed to convince him that I'd make sure nothing would happen to the bike, even if something happened to me. Eventually, he gave in. He taught me how it all works. He didn't let me ride it alone. He followed me in his scooter.

That night, when I stepped down the bike, the adrenaline rush was evident. The ride fueled my passion. I like to believe that I got a bit closer to my dream of taking part in motorsport.

One afternoon I was scrolling through Instagram with my college friend when a post caught my attention. It was about the TVS One-Make Championship. Sixteen riders will be selected to participate in it. I applied for it immediately, without realising that it coincided with my father's garage inauguration. When I confronted my parents, they questioned my decision. I struggled to find an answer for it. The race occupied my mind. My heart kept telling me that this would be a life-changing experience.

Come the qualification day, I was the first one to reach the tracks. I was so nervous that I could not sleep the previous night. Wearing the racing suit and the electric atmosphere gave me inexplicable happiness. I managed to come 8th and qualify with flying colours. With no prior experience, getting this position was no mean feat.

Life-Changing Contest

My foray into the championship was not devoid of jitters. I kept crashing during my laps that hindered my confidence. I was introduced to a car racing coach named Hanif. He took up the task of preparing me for the competition. Under his tutelage, I did exceptionally well in my debut season.

I qualified for the national championship and was gearing up for it in full swing. In the midst of this, I fractured my left thumb that left me extremely vulnerable.

However, I did not give up. I decided to give this race a go. With my left hand wholly bandaged, I could not change gears, but I raced strategically. I managed to finish second, proving this to be the best race of my life. Unfortunately, I learned that I was disqualified because my bike did not have a chain guard. Controversies galore, I was heartbroken, but I decided to take all of this in my stride.

Today, my family stands with me and lend their wholehearted support. My father has not missed a single race of mine. He gives it priority over any other event. Recently, I participated in the all-new Royal Enfield Continental GT Cup 2021 championship where I was the only woman racer among the 18 finalists.

Under the helmet is where I found my calling. It gave me a sense of purpose in life. It took 20 years to realise bike riding was my ultimate passion. I was meant to do this. I am sure you have a calling in life. Don't let it pass you! Follow it.

If you too have an inspiring story to tell the world, send us your story at mystory@thelogicalindian.com


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Editor : Ankita Singh
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Creatives : Akanksha Saxena

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