“Its your road. Others can ride it with you but no one can ride it for you.”
Meet Anish Shetty, a professional international racer who is one of the most successful motorcycle racing champions in India.
Last year, he made his debut in Cross-Country Rally - one of the top 10 toughest rallies across the globe and won the DESERT STORM Rally 2019. The young racer is currently leading the National Championship in the Pro-Stock upto 300cc Category, winning 7 out of 8 races and setting a national lap record. Recently, Anish quitted his job at Accenture as a software engineer in order to pursue his passion in motor sports.
He also plays his role as a fitness instructor and a racing coach.
Anish, an automobile engineering graduate, was born and brought up in Hubli. As a sports enthusiast, bagging trophies in every athletic game was something he did since his school days. It would really break him down if despite of all the hard work he wouldn't make it to the podium. He now realises that winning has always been his only goal.
Hailing from a city where motor racing was not even close to the lime-light, yet what started as a craze for Anish soon got the vigour in him to learn riding at a very tender age of 10. However, due to the unheard concept of motorsports and the risks involved, it took some time for his parents to realize his potential and allow him to pursue his passion.
During the initial 2 years into motorsports there were times when his full day’s meal consisted of just two bananas in order to save the rest of the money for the next race.
Everyday he would race against time on his bicycle from school to IIT tuitions covering the distance of 9 kms trying to spin the fastest; a year later it was replaced by his dad’s scooter which was as old as him. Unaware of all his mischievous actions on the road, soon his dad gifted him a bike.
“6 years into racing, my dad is the primary mentor and my biggest fan now.”
One fine day was then that he came across these Motocross riders with their customized loud bikes which had always fantasized him as a kid. Yearning to ride those bikes, he asked them if he could ever join them on the track. Anish says “They were elated to see the passion in me and hence my first visit to the track happened the very next Sunday, but never had that vivacious and exhilarated kid imagined that there will come a day when he will be representing India.”
He read it somewhere that “if it’s both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it and thus, this visit ignited the zeal in him to start racing.”
Once the sapling of passion-for-racing was planted, there was no turning back. After all the hard work, the feeling when he grabbed the podium leaves him spellbound till date. Although, his second time on the track put him off the bike hard with an injured knee & shoulder and a broken bike. But it was his grit to win and the power to drive himself forward that made him come back stronger.
Six months later, he had his first ever race in Maharashtra which unfortunately didn't start as expected. He had to face technical problems during official practice. Nevertheless, with a strong mindset he started the race and ended up bagging 2 podiums to everyone’s surprise.
2 years and 20+ podiums later, he came across an email from ‘Mercedes Benz Young Star Driver’ proclaiming that he has been shortlisted for the program and the further selection to be held in Buddh International Circuit, Delhi. It was the first time he officially stepped into a road racing circuit. The 2 days of training and the hunt for the star driver ended up with him being in the Top 8 drivers exceeding 6000+participants.
It was the stepping stone moment in his racing career because it was then that he made a big move by switching to circuit racing by training under Honda Ten10 Racing Academy. Circuit racing is certainly an expensive sport but he had his family backing him financially and morally.
With a lot of learnings, he was all set to bag the National Championship next year. He made it to the podium in all the 4 races he participated in. The very same year he won the ‘Honda One Make Championship’ and got promoted to Expert Category for 2017 and bagged a 2nd Runner-Up Champion in the Pro-Stock Category.
In 2018, his efforts started fetching results, He got selected to represent India in the Asia Road Racing Championship where he went on to become the first Indian to score points in the AP250 category and also won the National Championship in Pro-Stock Category.
Just like it is always portrayed in the movies, he wants to be the one to represent India at the World Championship.While other sports have got their due credits in India, motorsports is hardly acknowledged and is nowhere near the limelight.
Anish says “In our country we lack infrastructure for racing, because of which we hardly get any time on the bike for practice while on the other hand the infrastructure cost too is quite expensive and is hardly affordable for a budding athlete. Hence, I want to create such an impact that motorsports become a known and one of the most loved sports in the country. I want to fight for it and lift it up to reach all new levels and to make my people and my country proud.”
He adds “To see this dream of me and the other motorsport racers come true I am giving professional training to the upcoming generation of young racers. I always insist on hard work, determined efforts, disciplined lifestyle, stepping forward for social causes and bringing fame to our country by participating and winning the international events. There isn't any better contentment than to see my students get inspired by the sport and come forward with the same enthusiasm and passion that I did.”