In just five years, rider Usman Ghani has won around 23 podium finishes. He is hoping to grow his international profile by taking part in more high-profile events.
“The feeling when I ride a motorcycle is like no other feeling. I feel I'm unstoppable. I'll never disconnect from motorcycle racing because riding a motorcycle is my passion, it's a joy, it's a stress reliever for me, it's a way of life," says Mohammad Usman Ghani, who dreams to achieve big things in this sport. He aims to make Pakistan known for bike riding with his hard work, and dedication.
The passionate rider began his journey nine years ago when one of his friends bought a motorcycle and offered him a test ride. And that test ride ultimately inspired him to pursue track racing as a profession.
In the beginning, Usman faced a lack of facilities in Pakistan because our country does not have international standard racing circuits and tracks. It forced Usman to move first to Saudi Arabia and then to the United Arab Emirates in 2015. Since then he has been competing in championships in various categories and has won a lot of trophies. His first professional race was in 2017, when he contested in the UAE National SuperStock Series.
Recently, he showed tremendous proficiency in the UAE National SuperStock600 after recovering from a harsh knee injury sustained during testing six months earlier. "On my return, I accomplished P1 and ultimately ended up winning the race on the last lap after battling two other riders for the full race. It was a splendid adventure, and to win a race after returning from injury is an unbelievable feeling," he told 'The News on Sunday'.
In just five years, he has won around 23 podium finishes. He is hoping to grow his international profile by taking part in more multinational events.
Usman remembers last year's incident when during practice at the Al Marina circuit in Spain he had an accident before the start of the season. "I hurt my right knee. I couldn't take part in that race and many other races but I did participate in the final race of the season and won it," he said.
"However, a rider knows that injuries during riding are part of motorcycle sports. I have had many crashes. I have 23 broken bones at this point. It's normal in this sport. I do not believe this to be something extraordinary," he added.
Usman is determined to return to his old form through hard work.
The UAE-based Pakistani racer understands that motorcycling riding is not a dangerous sport if appropriate precautions are taken and safety equipment is used. "It is not a life-threatening sport, but it seems like that from the outside but when you are part of the sport you recognize that the rules and regulations do make it safe. If we take all safety measures, and use all protective gear and follow all rules, it's not as damaging as it seems," he said.
Usman is currently gearing up for the next season of Spanish championship, the UAE SuperStock Championship and a round of 8 Hours Endurance Race.
Pakistan's leading rider said that he never considered giving up motorcycle sport due to injury risks. "I have not thought about quitting it due to the threats it poses; it's like any other sport, and if everyone gets scared of the likely crashes no one will ever race," he said.
The 28-year-old is the only Pakistani biker to have a license to compete in international races from the global governing body of motorcycles. He got it in 2016. "It is a significant achievement to be the first and only Pakistani in the world to carry a racing and a coaching license," he stated cheerfully.
Usman is a big fan of Spanish motorcycle rider Marc Marquez and feels that his technique of riding bikes is similar to him. "I love Italian former professional rider Valentino Rossi as well, but I am more inspired by Marc Marquez. I have a very similar riding style as him," he said.
The rider is thankful to his parents for supporting his passion. "My parents are very supportive, but like all parents, they do worry when I crash. They pray for me to represent Pakistan and always do my best," he said.
Usman is very confident that he will win laurels for Pakistan. "I don't consider winning races or standing on podiums to be a big achievement. That's great but they are not what I consider my biggest achievements. For me, the biggest achievement is to be able to put Pakistan in a positive light in front of the whole world. I always do my best to represent Pakistan in the best possible manner. I always do my best to bring out the positive side of Pakistan," he added.
Usman's biggest desire is to represent Pakistan in the MotoGPWorld Championship one day, though he admits it is a faraway dream. The high-spirited rider wants the government to build circuits or tracks where Pakistan can host international race events.
He also wants to help the youngsters of his country who are facing difficulties in motorcycle racing. "I want to teach riders of Pakistan so that they go on to become the next Marc Marquez or Valentino Rossi," he said.
Usman recently came to Pakistan from the UAE to test a motorcycle track. "I am in Pakistan to test some small circuits in Lahore and finalise the planning to establish a race academy to prepare future riders of my country."