If there was a script to be written for a Hollywood blockbuster about a motorbike rider from Thailand, who makes his World Supersport debut, on a wild card entry, at his home county’s first ever World Supersport race, on a newly built circuit, and then takes the title in front of a home crowd of 100,000 cheering fans you wouldn’t believe it would you?
Well that’s exactly what happened at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
Ratthapark Wilairot, who to be fair, was highly thought of before the race, fought his Thai heart out on the track to take the top spot on the podium.
Only gaining entry through a wild card, he still did precisely what it took to clinch the World Supersport 600cc class title on home turf in front of an insanely jubilant onlooking crowd.
It didn’t all come easily though. Having done well enough in the first round of qualifying to keep himself in the hunt, Ratthapark had dropped two places in second qualifying to start back in seventh on the grid.
A victory didn’t seem to be on at that point but a podium finish certainly seemed possible. This didn’t in any way deter the Thai hopeful however, as he put everything in to the race to climb from that number seven place all the way into first.
Ratthapark in Action
With every turn the Thai rider made you could feel the Thai spectators’ tension. As he climbed each place, a roar erupted throughout the entire grounds of Chang International Circuit. It really was the stuff of Hollywood movies.
Within five laps of the seventeen lap race the number 9 bike had climbed into fourth place and was part of the leading pack that would fight it out for the rest of the race. Suddenly. from nowhere he nipped into third.
A couple of laps later he was now in second. There were still ten laps to go so first place now looked very possible. The Moto 2 rider just couldn’t close the gap and it really looked like he may have to settle for second place.
A stroke of luck was to go the Honda man’s way when first place rider Jules Cluzel had to retire due to engine troubles gifting Ratthapark the first position with three laps to go.
Keeping his nerve, Ratthapark stayed steady for the final three laps to clinch victory and receive a raucous reception from the ecstatic home crowd.
It truly was Hollywood blockbuster material, and as they say in unusual circumstances, ” You just couldn’t write the script”.
2nd place Kenan Sofuog (left) and PJ Jacobsen 3rd place (right)