Advantage Helmi as wildcard Agung wins at Sentul

Agung Fahrul, one of six wildcard riders in today’s opening race at Sentul , left his mark on the 2018 championship by taking a win from Helmi Azman, whose main rivals, Izzat Zaidi, Ahmad Fazli Sham and Whayu Aji Trilaksana fell further behind.

Starting from fourth on the 26-bike grid, Agung stayed in the top five throughout and frequently held the lead, before timing a perfect run to the chequered flag to win from SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda’s Helmi, who had begun work for the day with a 23 point advantage in the standings over RCB Yamaha’s Izzat.

The drama bagan on the startline, when Wahyu’s Yamaha was pushed off the grid with a problem, effectively snuffing out the 2016 champion’s title chances.

Haziq Fairues converted his pole position into an early lead, which he traded with Agung, Helmi and SND Factory’s Gupita Kresna, before falling back from the 11 bike leading group with mechanical problems. Defending champion, Akid Aziz also broke down and pulled into the pits on lap eight.

A fast game of cat and mouse for nine laps gave way to a fist fight at the front at the end, with bikes fanning out across the circuit’s 15 metre width as they fought for advantage. Agung  gained a bike length at the start of the last lap, which computed into  a win of 0.153s over Helmi, who crossed the line a few hundredths in front of Gupita, Amirul Ariff Musa, Izzat, Syahrul Amin and fellow wildcard, Wawan Wello. Fazli Sham finished eighth from Rusman Fadhil and Murobbil Fatoni, who completed the top ten.

Izzat suffered a heart-stopping crash after taking the chequered flag, being ejected from his machine, apparently due to another rider hitting his rear wheel.

Helmi goes into Race 2 having extended his lead over Izzat by another 9 points and over Fazli Sham by a further 12.