Deepa Malik: Where there's a wheel

Impressed by her ability and passion, the army officers encouraged her to customise her bike and start riding again. After a long struggle for financial, engineering and media support, Kaulson Racing Products agreed to customise her bike. “They would conduct trials on All-Terrain Vehicles to see how much support I needed, and what build the bike needed to be”. In 2007, Deepa got her first chance to ride her modified bike on MTV Roadies, and she hasn’t stopped since.

By then, sponsorship was coming in much easier, and Deepa decided to push the challenge further and move on to cars. In 2009, she attempted the Raid de Himalaya as navigator – she couldn’t complete it because of a freak accident, but she earned a True Grit Award in the process. After this, having secured her disability license for motorsport driving, she drove in – and finished – the Desert Storm rally in 2010, in a Maruti Esteem customised for complete hand driving by AUTOMATE.

Shashi Garcha, regional director (north India), Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, recounts his first meeting with Deepa. “It was a treat to watch her on the tracks. As far as her safety was concerned, we ensured she got her motorsport licence only after her doctor had certified her health, and after she’d done a few test drives on off-road circuits to check her reflexes and her car’s mechanicals.”