Azlan: Retire? Not Until I Champ Again

At 40 years old, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, the seasoned rider from TKKR BMW Racing Team, is defying the conventional norms of retirement. Despite facing sponsorship hurdles that have left him without a salary, Azlan’s fervor for reclaiming the championship crown in the Asia Superbike 1000cc category at IDEMITSU FIM Asia Road Racing Championship burns brighter than ever.

Azlan has been on a relentless quest for victory since his triumph as the overall champion in the ASB1000 class in its inaugural year of 2019. However, despite this initial success, subsequent years have seen him faced challenges and setbacks on his journey. Yet, Azlan remains driven by an insatiable hunger for success as he seeks to reclaim the championship crown.

Azlan shared, “In the three years after my victory in 2019, I struggled with less competitive machinery. It wasn’t until 2023 that I had the opportunity to ride a bike that offered the performance I needed to compete at the highest level. I spent some time exploring its capabilities and understanding its mechanics. With this newfound mastery, I’m determined to make a comeback and reclaim the championship this year.”

Despite TKKR Racing Team’s struggles with securing sponsorship, Azlan exemplified unparalleled tenacity at Round 1 of the championship at Chang International Circuit, Thailand, utilizing last year’s machinery. Demonstrating sheer skill and resilience, he clinched victory in Race 1 and secured a commendable second place in Race 2. Currently ranked second in the overall ASB1000 category, Azlan trails behind Andi Farid Izdihar of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with Astemo by a margin of nine points.

Azlan said, “I yearn for victory, and I’m determined to make this year mine. Though the path ahead may be arduous, I firmly believe that no challenge is insurmountable.”

Amidst the challenges of competing without a salary, Azlan maintains his focus on honing his physical prowess. He diligently works on his stamina and strength, recognizing the importance of maintaining peak physical condition in the fiercely competitive world of motorcycle racing, especially while facing younger riders.

When questioned about retirement, Azlan’s chuckled before saying, “Hahaha, I anticipated this question because I mentioned retirement before… Let’s see how my performance goes, and then I’ll decide. My primary goal is to regain the championship, and only after achieving that will I contemplate retirement.”

For Azlan, the challenges of this season extend far beyond the racetrack. Battling with younger competitors and navigating financial constraints, he embodies the epitome of perseverance and dedication. “The challenges I face this year are twofold: competing fiercely with younger riders and grappling with financial constraints due to the lack of a salary,” Azlan candidly admitted.

Nevertheless, despite the obstacles, Azlan refuse to wave white flag to the hardships. His relentless pursuit of victory serves as an inspiring figure all who witness his journey, ceaselessly striving for excellence and defying expectations at every turn.