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(Left to Right): Kokila Shivashankar (Bengaluru), Rehana Riya (Chennai), Sonali Mukherji (Bengaluru), Soundari (Chennai), Shruthi N (Chennai), Pooja Dabhi (Pune), Dimpy A Gowda (Bengaluru), Aishwarya PH (Bengaluru), Gopika Dharamshi (Hubballi) and Shwetha (Chennai)

FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile)—the governing body for world motorsports—announced the creation of a Women in Motorsport Commission. Its aim, among other things, was to create a culture which facilitates and values the full participation of women in all aspects of motorsports (including as drivers, officials, managers), and to set in place policies to promote the education and training of women in motorsports.

On a much smaller scale, though, a similar initiative was undertaken by Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) last weekend, when it held the All Ladies HOMR (Honda One Make Race) in Chennai, at the Madras Motor Race Track. One Make is a race in which participants ride a machine by one particular manufacturer. All these machines are of equal power and cubic-capacity.

The All Ladies HOMR was the first time women were seen racing motorcycles on a track in India, in an event approved by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).

A total of 10 women participated in the National motorcycle racing  five from Chennai, three from Bangalore and one each from Pune and Hubli. All of them rode the powerful race-bred Honda CBR150R.

Unlike the men’s race, which is held across the full length of the Madras Motor Race Track—3.74-km with 12 corners—the All Ladies race was organised on the shorter track, which is 2.1-km and has seven corners.

“Because it is the first time women are racing on this arena, we have used the short track and four laps. In future races—whenever they are held—depending on the conditions, we might give the full length of the track even for women races,” a senior FMSCI official said.

The winner was Chennai’s Rehana Reya, who rallied brilliantly to jump two places from her starting position to emerge triumphant. Pooja Ajit Dabhi, from Pune, finished second, and Soundari A, also from Chennai, finished third. While the eventual winner Rehana Reya completed four laps in 6.17 minutes (average speed of 81kph), Pooja Ajit Dabhi took 6.18 minutes and Soundari A took 6.22 minutes.

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