Shillong’s Phoebe Dale Nongrum breaking records and cliché in motorsports

Monojit Mandal

Shillong, May 18: Motorsports or formula racing is habitually perceived as a men’s sport, but a growing number of females are shattering typecasts and beginning to redesign this largely male-subjugated landscape.

Phoebe Dale Nongrum, one of India’s first female Formula 4 drivers and the first from the state of Northeast is breaking the barriers and opening a new avenue for women, not only in the state but also in the country.

Today, not only she is one of the country’s top female formula-4 drivers, and the first woman from NorthEast, but also she created history by securing a podium finish in the 23rd JK Tyre National Racing Championship, held in Coimbatore in 2020.

In a tete-a-tete with Meghalaya Times, Phoebe Dale Nongrum speaks about how motorsports and racing went from being her juvenile dream to her adored profession.

While she started professional motor racing in the year 2017, Nongrum was fascinated by cars and bikes ever since she was 12. “At the age of 12 my passion for cars and bikes grew, by then I was eager to drive and ride. When I had the chance to drive the adrenaline was so good that I couldn’t stop. Since then I wanted to be a racing car driver but then it seemed impossible as I come from a small town,” said Nongrum.

Since motor-sport or racing is predominantly deliberated as a male-bastion, Nongrum feels that the notion is changing gradually worldwide and so is in India. “Racing wasn’t popular back then in the country for girls, but now it has become a sport that is not gender-biased. But being from the northeast and the first to get here feels amazing of course. Being able to break barriers when I least expected is very much overwhelming for me,” said Nongrum.

To mention her laurels, Phoebe Dale Nongrum has won many prestigious awards in the field of motorsports, which include, win autocross in Shillong organised by Motorsports Association of Meghalaya (MSAM) 2017. In the Rally of Arunachal Festival of Speed 2017 was a Co-driver, she was the winner in the Northeast category, 2nd in SUV class and she came 3rd overall. Win in DMSC Nagaland Autocross 2017.winner ladies class. Win in Autoprix Season1 Nationals Guwahati 2018. Win in DMSC Nagaland 2018 Autocross.Ladies Class. Win at the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) 2018 as co-driver also, win in the 4wd category and first runner up INRC 2 category. Win in the MSAM Motorsports Association of Meghalaya Autocross 2019. Win at the Autocross at the 2nd Largest river Island in Asia Nongkhnum island 2019. Win in the autocross onashi time attack in Bangalore 2019 fastest female driver. Win at the Autocross DMSC in association with Jktyre Nagaland 2019. 3rd podium on the Ladies category at the JK tyre National championship season 2020.

However, success didn’t come easy for Phoebe Dale Nongrum as she faced resistance from her family initially as her father himself being a cop wanted her daughter to follow in his footsteps. “Initially it was difficult to convince my family, it was different, and the path I have chosen isn’t like the one my parents or my ancestors would have ever thought about. I was on my own but I never gave up I kept on going and that got me this far. When all else failed I believed in myself.”