Most sports are quite intuitive when playing at a social level, for example, a simple game of football between friends is easily set up and quite satisfying. However, this changes when you want to pursue the sport at a higher level and find that your team’s physical, mental and strategic capability needs to be taken to the next level.
Motorsport is often seen to be complex even at a social level. Partly due to the technicalities and logistics, but also because there are so many forms of Motorsport to navigate. To address this issue, there are lots of online resources that tell you how to get involved. This is both a blessing and a curse because there is so much information that you often don’t know where to start!
This is especially a challenge if you want to get involved in a form of Motorsport, but do not have anyone who has relevant experience. In this scenario, you will probably find the individual saying things like:
I don’t know how to get involved.
I don’t know who to reach out to for help.
I have little or no support from friends or family.
Isn’t it really expensive?
How do I navigate all this online information?
How do I know what information is relevant to what I want to try?
These are generic challenges for all people, but as a young British Sikh, when I wanted to participate in Motorsport, there was another challenge I found myself facing in addition to the above. This was ‘discouragement’ from the older generation. The ‘generic’ message was:
It’s not something our community do…
This is a very broad statement that would require a lengthy essay to explain how socio-economic factors and priorities might impact any immigrant community and anyone who might be working through challenging times. However, I’m not going to attempt to explain as no two people have the same circumstances and it is impossible to speak on behalf of everyone.
Times and circumstances have moved on from the days where circumstances prevented my social circle from taking part in Motorsport. Some of the current and next generations now have access to disposable income and time required to take part. However, when speaking to people in the Sikh community, I have always felt that there are lots of people who have an interest in Motorsport, however we tend not to see so many of them taking part as often as they would like to. My personal experience has been that people of South Asian backgrounds are still under-represented within Motorsport in Europe and the Americas, even though we now have the resources to take part.
With so much information now available online, we still have to ask why has the situation not changed over-night? I come back to two of my earlier points: There is so much information that it is not often clear to know where to start, and not everyone has access to a support network to reach out to.
In addition to the above points, on some occasions people have also said to me:
I don’t see anyone involved in motorsport who I can relate to. How do I know whether I’ll be welcome?
It was in the pit-lane during a track-day in 2018 that a few of us guys decided to address these messages, show that Motorsport is open to all, and force ourselves to go on a little journey of our own. Hence Sardari Motorsport was formed.
Since inception, we have quite rightly been asked by some friends:
Aren’t you creating segregation by just focusing on Sikhs?
This is not our intention. The content and information we are planning to share are universal and relevant to people of all ethnicities. The ‘Sikh’ aspect is simply to highlight the challenges some of the people I am familiar with have expressed. We will aim to highlight role-models from all communities, helping to break down barriers that, in the past, have discouraged people from taking part.
So, where do we go from here?!
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