It’s not about empowering women and it’s not about wanting to be one of the boys.
Instead, the petite figure with pristine nails and tiny hands capable of dismantling an entire engine, cleaning it out and piecing it back together is easily identified as Ballito local, Ashi Baniparsadh who sports a passion for trucks.
They say dynamite comes in small packages, this most certainly is the case when dealing with Ashi (36) who runs her own trucking and earth-moving equipment and machinery hiring company.
The code 14 licensed driver has been getting her hands dirty since the age of 13, working on trucks instead of playing with dolls all while sporting a passion for poetry, playing the piano and even having the voice of an angel.
Yes, dynamite comes in small packages.
“Our family came from humble beginnings and we believe in fixing things that are broken, instead of replacing them,” says the Verulam-born part-time 4X4 racer, who is preparing to take on the treacherous Baboon’s Pass 4X4 track as soon as she gets the chance.
Baboon’s Pass is located in the Maseru District of Lesotho, at an elevation of 2 689 metres above sea level and boasts some of the most dangerous and impassable terrains in the country.
The 26km-long road, fit only for 4X4, is not for the faint of heart.
Meeting with the Courier at a dirt road just off Seatides, the Masters in Maritime Transport-equipped lady shares that trucking runs in her family’s blood and has always been a passion of hers.
“I picked up a love for off-road 4X4 racing and driving through the practicality of my job,” says Ashi, adding that she has in the past competed in the Thrill Seeker 4X4 challenge held at Shakaskraal, where she has also previously claimed first prize.
Adding to the flare of her job, coworkers often spot her driving a new truck into the yard – after all, Ashi gets to test out the trucks before staff do.
Although eager to return to the world of 4X4 races and trails, the tiny in comparison to her Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD6 bakkie stands in stark contrast to the trucking world with her other passions, poetry and gardening.
Having previously submitted poems as far afield as the United Kingdom, where she was awarded with highly commended, Ashi passes her time planting vegetables which she also donates to the needy.
Staying loyal to the Toyota brand, Ashi’s Hilux is kitted to her off-road needs, sporting Safari Snorkels, Australian Dick Cepek mag rims, BF Goodrich Mud Terrains, an Old Man Emu suspension, Rhino bumpers and Australian KC spotlights.
“I also ensure that my 4X4 is well-equipped with all the gear necessary to tackle an off-road obstacle, further keeping my drive train well-maintained for when the need for speed arises.”
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