Rotax Max Challenge & Asia Max Challenge 2012 Round 1: Singaporean report

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

After the Rotax Invitational Race and the All Stars Karting Invitational Race, the Southeast Asian kart racing championship season finally starts with Round 1 of the Rotax Max Challenge and Asia Max Challenge in Malaysia. Held at PLUS Speedway on 18 and 19 February, the Singaporean contingent was a pretty decent one with 8 Singaporean drivers (not including the non-Singaporeans racing under the Singapore flag). Daim Hishammudin did Singapore proud with a second place finish in the Junior category, while the rest unfortunately faced issues with their karts.

 

MicroMax (13 drivers)

 

Josh Lee, Drakar Racing

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Cute Josh was the only Singaporean in the under-12 MicroMax class which had 13 drivers and he bravely fought them all. This is Josh’s second year in racing – will he be able to follow in the footsteps of his brother Jon Lee, two-time Singapore Karting Championship Cadet champ? No pressure!

 

Qualifying – 10th

Heat 1 – 11th

Heat 2 – 13th

Pre-Final – 9th

Final – 13th

 

Junior (34 drivers)

 

Daim Hishammudin, BHPetrol Racing

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After botched chances of finishing at the top of the podium for the two pre-season invitational races, Daim bounced back and earned the front seat for the final. He lost the lead at the start and fought hard to try and get it back, but the winner was faster and Daim had to settle for second best that weekend. He said in his press release, “There was a chance for me to win the first round of the RMC and AMC series, but the race leader was quicker, especially on the straights and I tried my best to catch him. Nonetheless, finishing second is a good start to the season and there are five more rounds to go. The key is to be consistent throughout, so I will continue to work hard with the team to keep up the performance. Last year was my first time in the Junior category and I built quite a solid foundation. With that, I look forward to a better season with the team in my second year in Juniors.”

 

Qualifying – 6th

Heat 1 – 3rd

Heat 2 – 2nd

Pre-Final – 1st

Final – 2nd

 

Amin Noorzilan, Simon Racing

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Having showed lots of promise during the Rotax Invitational Race, Amin was eager to get back that pace but engine problems plagued him all weekend. On his Facebook status, Amin commented, “…Didn’t have such a good weekend as I was faced with engine problems, but I would love to thank Simon Racing and all of the mechanics for trying very hard to fix the problem. Looking forward to my next race in March, RMC Round 2!”

 

Qualifying – 17th

Heat 1 – 18th

Heat 2 – DNF

Pre-Final – 17th

Final – 18th

 

Jon Lee, Drakar Racing

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Having achieved a strong Cadet karting foundation with two consecutive national titles, Jon enters his first season of Juniors. Finding himself towards the back of the grid instead of the front where he usually is, Jon is aware of the road ahead and is prepared to work hard. In a recent interview on skc.sg, Jon said, “I have not been doing much training after the Asian Karting Open Championship Macau round last December. I will need to work on my stamina from now because the kart for Juniors is faster and heavier to drive. This year, in a new class, I think I need to work harder in order to win. For sure I will give my best.”

 

Qualifying – 26th

Heat 1 – 20th

Heat 2 – 19th

Pre-Final – 20th

Final – 22nd

 

Ethan Goodman, Black Dog Racing

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This is the lucky boy who got Michael Schumacher’s autograph on his helmet when the seven-time Formula 1 world champion made his first public appearance in Singapore last September at a Mercedes-Benz event last September [read related story here]. Look closely at the photo above and you will see the signature just above the visor – I hope he has lacquered that! With random participation at the Singapore Karting Championship over the last two years, it’s good to see Ethan on the track outside of Singapore.

Qualifying – 31st

Heat 1 – 25th

Heat 2 – 25th

Pre-Final – 23rd

Final – 28th

 

Senior (29 drivers)

 

Julien Fong, Simon Racing

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Rushing up to Malaysia after booking out from camp on Friday night, Julien had to miss practice again. This time he even had to encounter a 2.5-hour flight delay on the way up. “Not a good race weekend, one to forget… Started well considering I didn’t attend practice but pace just didn’t get better and had some bad luck while fighting… Oh well.. quite a long way until my next race so just gonna take it easy and look forward to that :) ” said Julien on Facebook. After taking the chequered flag, Julien had to pack up quickly and get back to Singapore on the 7pm flight so he can book in before 11pm – sweaty, sticky and all. Life as a full-time NSF is tough but serving the nation is not going to stop him from pursuing his passion. Thumbs up!

 

Qualifying – 11th

Heat 1 – 12th

Heat 2 – 22nd

Pre-Final – 15th

Final – 15th

 

Gary Koh, BHPetrol Racing

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Working adult professional Gary is relatively unknown in the local racing world but he has been racing in RMC for about two years now with the same team as Daim. 

Qualifying – 16th

Heat 1 – 16th

Heat 2 – 18th

Pre-Final – 17th

Final – 20th

 

Sean Hudspeth, IS Racing

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The drivers of the IS Racing team had to chin up as they struggled with their karts – they were using old practice engines (some of which are more than a year old) as their new engines were stuck in customs. Keeping the sportsmanship spirit up, Sean did his best to maximise performance from the kart. He said, “Where to begin … A really tough weekend from beginning to end for us and the team. We were struggling with chassis setup as well as engine problems.. Had a crash at the second last corner of the last lap of the final which meant we did not finish the race. Despite our problems I just want to thank IS Racing for the huge effort when we were trying to improve the overall setup. All I can say is that we have a lot of work to do for the next race… We should be testing as soon as possible :)

Qualifying – 25th

Heat 1 – 18th

Heat 2 – 13th

Pre-Final -13th

Final – DNF

 

Other drivers racing under the Singapore flag (ie. their race licence is registered with the Singapore Motor Sport Association) are Rory Elliot (Junior) and Kenneth Smith (DD2).

 

The next round of RMC/AMC will be held on 17 and 18 March, back at the same place at PLUS Speedway in Subang.

 

View my photos here:

> Rotax/Asia Max Challenge 2012 Round 1 – Album #1

> Rotax/Asia Max Challenge 2012 Round 1 – Album #2

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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