Sanjha Morcha

Army women bikers for Raid

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 9

Two women officers of the Army will ride motorbikes to compete in the 20th edition of the Raid De Himalaya, considered one of the 10 toughest high-altitude cross-country rallies of the world.

Maj K Renuka and Capt Prabhakaran Santheni will ride the Royal Enfield Himalayan at the Raid in the Moto Adventure category. Major Renuka is from the Armed Service Corps and Capt Santheni from the Army Nurse Corps (AMC). Capt Santheni is currently working at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

The Raid De Himalaya will begin tomorrow from Kargil. For the first time, the Army has also fielded a women’s team in Raid Xtreme (4X4), an extreme endurance event of marathon proportions. Maj Euthica of the ASC will drive a Maruti Gypsy at the Raid with navigator Capt Tejal Parashare, also of the ASC.

More than 200 competitors will race to Sankoo, the bowl-shaped valley known as Ladakh’s Gulmarg (valley of flowers). The Raid will also go to Umba La, a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.496 metres, and to Drass, called the gateway to Ladakh, in Kargil.

Maj Renuka is an experienced motorcyclist. In June 2018, she participated in the Himalayan Odyssey Women’s Edition, a motorcycle trip from Delhi to Khardung La and Leh. “Serving the Army is a huge empowerment for women. We are professional soldiers. For adventure, we go for trekking, mountaineering, scuba diving, white water rafting, cycling, run marathons,” said Maj Renuka, who has been a biker for close to 20 years now. She hails from Kovilpatti in Tamil Nadu.

Capt Santheni had to compete at the trials held by the Army at Agra in August when competitors for the Raid were selected. “I am in the Army, so willpower is not a problem. We have been preparing ourselves physically for competing in high-altitude areas and I am truly excited about the Raid,” said Capt Santheni, a Keralite from Chennai.

“It is for the first time this year that women officers are riding motorcycles and also competing in Moto Xtreme 4X4. This is a positive message for gender equality,” president, Himalayan Motorsport, Vijay Parmar said.

200 will race to Ladakh 

  • More than 200 competitors will race to Sankoo, the bowl-shaped valley known as Ladakh’s Gulmarg
  • The Raid will also go to Umba La, a high mountain pass at 4.496 metres, and to Drass in the Kargil sector