There you have it – the Singapore Karting Championship 2012 (SKC 2012) season concluded two weekends ago with the fifth and final round held at Turns 1 and 2 of the Formula One Marina Bay street circuit.
This year’s SKC 2012 has taken things to a new level, going out of Kartright Speedway to new racing grounds.
As it was held on the same weekend as the Standard Chartered Marathon, the racing schedule was a bit different from usual. Saturday was planned for practice, both heats and the pre-final, with the finals on Sunday afternoon after the Marathon ended.
When I arrived at the track on Saturday morning, the weather was scorching hot and it was so humid. But sometimes, it is just possible to fall asleep even in the heat; just like Peng Malakul.
Although the track was quite tight, there weren’t major incidents. There was John McGregor whose kart went a bit bonkers and he went into the wall. He was fine and managed to walk out of the kart but I can’t say the same for the kart, which needed a bit of work to get it back into shape.
This final round of the SKC 2012 season saw a new female face – Lemna Parvani Sani. She was part of my all-female go-karting team for the OCBC Corporate Karting Challenge last year and I’m really happy to see her invest in karting on a deeper level, getting her own kart (second-hand) and participating in her first SKC race.
Of Iran nationality, she is now based in Singapore, hence her helmet shows dual loyalties.
While we were complaining about the hot weather, the dark clouds suddenly decided to get together for a party and sent us loud thunder as a sign of warning.
It started with a drizzle…
… and then the rain came down in torrents.
Heat 2 of the Junior category just started when the rain came down hard, calling for an abrupt halt to the racing.
As the rain fell harder and harder, everyone moved all their things in. BMS Racing’s team boss Benjamin Goh felt there is no need for an umbrella and got himself wet.
The pits were all under these tents and with everyone seeking shelter in the same place, it got a little squeezed for space.
That made things quite humid and it didn’t help that Thaddeus Lee hogged the fan all to himself.
The rain went on for quite a while, over an hour or so, but it finally stopped. The track marshals then worked hard to clear standing water so as to make the grounds safe to resume racing. Meanwhile, some of the karters like veteran Leon Khoo had already gotten ready with their rain gear.
Others like Ethan Goodman, among other young drivers, went out to have some fun on the pretext of testing how slippery the surfaces were.
The sky was clearing up but there was still a little drizzle and Lee Lung Nien made me pose with the tiny drops of water for him. He was shooting a series of portraits he said, hence going around sticking his lens into people’s faces.
By the time the track was ready for racing to resume, there wasn’t much time left on the daylight clock. Heat 2 for the Senior got on the way and Ben Chen was fighting for the lead with Yeo Hong Yang when his kart died on him.
The wet conditions meant nothing to the karters as they each fought their own battle.
Leon Khoo, the oldest or at least one of the oldest, was in a race of his own with quite a huge lead from the rest of the Veteran field.
It was getting dark when Heat 2 of all the categories were completed, including the one for the Yamaha SL Invitational Challenge. With no lights set up for night racing, the pre-finals had to be cancelled as daylight was running out. Due to the Standard Chartered Marathon, the SKC could only start after 2pm on Sunday hence only having time for the final.
Spirits were high on Sunday as the finale of the 2012 SKC season drew close. Starting with the Cadets, Javier Chng dominated the category, winning this round to make it a perfect five wins out of five rounds this season and clinching the overall Cadet title.
Alex Brown, the cutest karter of SKC and a future heartbreaker, fought with his little hands and feet to second place.
He even had his own cheerleading team!
The Junior finals were up next and just as they left the starting grid to go for their formation lap, Ethan’s kart refused to start, leaving him in a disappointed slump as the rest of the Junior karters went off.
The only one who has emerged overall first in his category for three years straight in brief SKC history, Amin Noorzilan took the win to clinch his third consecutive national Junior championship title.
That means a lot to Amin and all his supporters, especially his parents who make it an effort to go to every race of his.
Coming in second was Jonathan Williams, making a significant milestone in his SKC journey with his first podium finish. I spotted Nigel talking to Jonathan earlier, maybe what he said helped!
Nigel is a friend of the Veritas Racing team and helps out wherever he can, such as putting on Lung’s gloves for him.
The Senior race was a really exciting one – the fight for the Senior championship title between Thaddeus and Randall boiled down to this race and Randall was trying his utmost best to hunt Thaddeus down. From pole position, Thaddeus had built up a gap from Randall. At one point, Randall managed to close the gap slightly but made a mistake when he ran wide and fell back further.
Then just about six laps left to the 25-lap race, misfortune struck Thaddeus – a faulty ignition magneto caused his kart to fail on him suddenly. Taking him out of the race and the running for the championship title, the only thing left standing between Randall and the title is his own kart. Thankfully he crossed the finish line safe to take the race win and the championship title.
It was funny how the Senior field reduced from six drivers on the starting grid to just two – Randall and Roy Khoo – as one karter after another fell out of the race. While the Randall camp was a happy, happy one, the disappointment in the Thaddeus camp was immense.
Clocking his first SKC race win was Jamie Teo in the Masters race, but the overall Masters championship title went to Kenneth Smith, who came in second in this round.
Leon Khoo won the Veteran race…
… but it was Duncan Nursey crowned as the champion of Veterans. Check out his champion walk:
The Yamaha SL Invitational Challenge, a supporting race to the SKC Round 5, saw Malaysian’s Melvin Moh dominate all weekend.
In case you find him familiar, he drove for the PETRONAS Syntium Team this year in the Super Taikyu Series and I’ve taken photos of him doing the ‘Gang-Moh Style’ from Malaysia to Japan and now Singapore.
Other than Heat 2 where he made a mistake and spun to fourth place, he finished first for everything, including the final.
3 isn’t an unlucky number at all.
Thaddeus, Amin and Manon Maistre were also racing in this Challenge, driving double the amount that everyone else did. As a little compensation for his disappointing loss in the Senior race earlier, Thaddeus came in second for the Yamaha race.
When the last chequered flag was raised, it also signalled the end of the SKC 2012 season. It’s been a year riddled with controversies, but all that was put aside for a while at the after-party BBQ held right after the prize-giving ceremony.
Veritas Racing is a new team for this year but they have made significant achievements like Kenneth Smith’s Masters title and various podium finishes from their drivers such as Jonathan Williams and the oh-so-cute Alex Brown.
Captain of their team Lung insists on injecting a sense of humour to the team, by way of two signature poses – the Usain Bolt arrow pose and Gangnam Style!
New friendships were made, old friendships broken, but one thing ties everyone together – the passion for racing.
That’s the end of the 2012 national racing season for Singapore – what is in store next?
View here for more photos of SKC Round 5.