This weekend saw the first round of the Asian Road Race Championship at the Chang International Circuit. Three days of practice, qualifying and racing for 3 motorbike classes that make up this series. The three days were preceded by 2 days of testing as this was the start of the new season which allows the riders to get familiar with the motorbikes again. The three classes racing this weekend were the Underbone 150cc, the Asia Production 250cc and the Super Sport 600cc.
The Super Sport 600cc class entry consisted of 22 riders from 6 different countries. Practice saw consistent times for the top 7 or 8 riders during the three practice sessions on day 1. Qualifying on day 2 was much of the same except that Anthony West of the Webike IKAZUCHI Racing team, who was 8th after the final practice, came through with the 2nd fastest time in qualifying.
Race 1 on Saturday saw a good start from Anthony West taking the lead on Lap 1, losing out to Decha Kraisart on lap 2 and regaining the lead on lap 3. However, the Thai rider Thitipong Warokorn of the Core Kawasaki Thailand Racing Team took the lead on lap 4 and stayed in front to win the race comfortably. 2nd and 3rd place was fought out by West and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman on Manual Tech KYT Racing Kawasaki.
Race two on Sunday was a close fought battle but with several riders making mistakes which allowed the most consistent rider of the weekend, Anthony West, to take the lead on lap 9. He had to work hard to keep the lead but on the last lap the other riders knew that they would not be able to snatch the lead and opted to maintain their own position.
Asia Production 250cc Class
Practice for this class was dominated by two riders, from Thailand Anupab Sarmoon riding for Yamaha Thailand Racing Team and from Indonesia the 14 year old Mario Sure Aji riding for the Astra Honda racing team. Qualifying on Saturday saw them post the 1st and 3rd place respectively with another Thai, Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi, riding for the AP Honda Racing team taking the second slot.
Race 1 on Saturday saw the lead change hands 8 times in this 10 lap race. The eventual winner being the pole sitter Anupab Sarmoon followed by the Indonesian pair of Mario Suryo in second and Rheza Danica Ahrens in third, both riding for the Astra Honda racing Team.
Race 2 on Sunday, also 10 laps, was dominated this time by Thai Muklada Sarapuech on the Thailand AP Racing Honda. Leading early in the race she lost the lead on lap 6 but stayed close to the leaders and regained the lead on the last lap to take the win. Muklada was followed across the line by Rafid Topan Sucipto from Indonesia, on the Yamalube in 2nd and fellow Thai rider Kanalat Jaiman riding for the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team coming home in 3rd.
Underbone 150cc Class
The UB150cc class practice sessions were led by Malaysian rider Md Izzat Zaidi on the RCB Yamaha being the only rider in this class to record a lap time under 2:02 minutes which gave him the top position during qualifying. Unfortunately though for the Super Pole, qualifying things did not go his way and he finished in 11th place.
In race 1 however, Md Izzat Zaidi was able to take the win with several riders crashing out on the last corner of the last lap. He was followed home by fellow countryman Md Affendi Rosli and Indonesian Wahyu Aji Trilaksana.
This class of racing is always going to be eventful and closely fought and in the second race the only rider showing consistency was the 3rd place rider from race 1, Wahyu Aji Trilaksana, taking the win. He was followed home by Malaysian rider Md Helmi Azman in 2nd and 3rd placed rider Syahrul Amin from Indonesia.