At a time when children around her were learning how to paddle bicycles, nine-year-old Kalyani Potekar was discovering her passion for motorcycle racing.
Earlier this year, Kalyani, now 27, became India’s fastest woman motorcycle racer after completing a lap on NCR’s Buddh International Circuit in a mere 2.08 minutes. In doing so, she broke the previous record of 2.16 minutes, a feat also accomplished by her atop a Ducati Panigale V4 superbike.
Kalyani’s family may have introduced her to adventure sports such as paragliding and skiing, but she says her father remains her inspiration. He not only taught her to ride his Yamaha RX100 bike but also gifted her a Yamaha FZ 150 bike after her Class 12 board exams.
Trained at the California SuperBiking school in 2017, Kalyani’s debut race was in the 600cc in the JK Tyres Superbike Cup. Despite being on the receiving end of judgmental taunts, Kalyani has proved her worth as a competitor in the male-dominated sport, having represented India in prestigious international competitions in Thailand and Taiwan.
She was also recognised in the Outstanding Women in Motorsports category by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), the country’s motorsport governing body.