Rally Racer Khyati Mody Becomes The Only Woman To Cross The Finish Line Of Desert Storm’19
- IWB Post
- September 3, 2019
Update: Khyati Mody was selected a part of Team India squad during the trial rounds in Banglore in June for Asia Auto Gymkhana Championship (AAGC). Just 6 days before South Korea round she got a call from the federation saying that one of the team member could not attend this round and she was the one to race for the Tricolor. Despite the last moment rush for visa, arranging the gear and having absolutely no time for training, Khyati gave it her best and earned the 4th position for Team India.
“I missed the individual trophy by 0.07 second which was heart breaking but I am happy to have won team trophy along with my team mates. They have been my biggest strength and support system in South Korea and assisted me when I needed them the most. I did not even have a Team India T-shirt. Sahil Khanna was kind enough to let me borrow his spare T-shirt. It’s been an emotional roller coaster and I am still trying to pinch myself in believing that I have done it. I have made India proud,“ she said
It was at the age of 22 when Khyati Mody, a rally racer, decided to press the accelerator pedal and live her dreams of making a career in a male-dominated sport.
Despite being aware of the difficulties that awaited her, Khyati turned a deaf ear to all the societal pressure that came her way and made her name in the sport. Her last win was in January 2019, when the 32-year-old participated in the Royal Rajasthan Rally, coming second in the race. However, defeating her previous record, this trailblazer has added another feather in her cap, as she became the only woman to cross the finish line of Desert Storm 2019.
With 34 teams of the best racers from across the country, Desert Storm was the longest desert rally organized in India that commenced on May 6. Beating all odds, of unrevealed terrain and intense temperatures that made it difficult for the participants to survive till the end, Khyati was among the 18 cars/bugs that sped towards the chequered flag. Khyati was the lone flag bearer of the three ladies that undertook the challenge along with several men.
Talking about her experience, she shared, “This is the first year I took part in Grand Vitara and was running on stock suspension whereas my peers were on a higher end rally suspension. Almost with no seat time I had to be extra careful. Not everyone who starts this rally manages to finish it. My initial aim was to first finish the rally. The 200 km stage was unforgiving & amp; the last day stages 4a and 4b were equally challenging because it had rained, and then there was a sandstorm which continued through the rally stages. It was tough to identify the trails we had to drive on because of almost zero visibility and trails being covered by fresh sand.
Khyati continued her steadfast tale: “I was tough, I felt the sweat rolling all over my face. But the passion and love for motorsports beats any of these factors. I am happy to finish 4th in my category amongst the stock class. I am looking forward to my next rally. Nothing would have been possible without my sponsors Inature, JK tyres, GFL Fuels DMCC, Ocean BD group Bangladesh, and Grand. I am thankful to them for supporting me and believing in me.”
In a previous chat with IWB, Khyati shared how it all started for her, “I don’t come from a sporting background but since I was a little, I always had this love for cars and Formula 1. I started learning how to drive when I was 14. When I was in college, I went go-karting just for fun but it kinda rekindled my old passion for racing. I participated in a local go-karting race and took home the runner-up trophy. I started competing in other local matches as well when I was 22.”