Quite a ride it has been in the TVS Asia One Make Championship throughout five rounds of this season. With the participation of highly competitive riders coupled with a powerful machine, the show has become increasingly compelling. Raking it high on the charts and in contention of the championship title are Malaysian duo, Mohamed Muzakkir and Md Ramdan Rosli as well as defending champion, Vorapong Malahuan of Thailand who will be gearing up for the season finale at the Chang International Circuit. Round 6 of the Idemitsu FIM Asia Road Racing Championship will be the final call.

Vorapong Malahuan returned this season after carving history last year as the very first champion in the debut season of the race category. He had a flying start when he took the double-win at his home- ground circuit but his capacities were tested instantly with the presence of Malaysian duo, Muzakkir and Ramdan who took him down in their home circuit. The battle continued as they charged at each other for the most sought-after spot. Vorapong went on to lead the chart for the following two rounds but in a twist of fate, a casualty between him and Ramdan gave Muzakkir a lucky break to take a leap up the leaderboard.

Vorapong commented, “Frankly speaking, this season has been quite a show especially with at least five to six highly capable riders. Especially Hiroki who made his entry since Round 3. He has been really strong in all sectors and he is capable of riding using slick tires. That is something that I have to learn from him. There are definitely some major differences compared to last season especially in terms of the lap time. The lap time are comparatively similar to that of the AP250. So, it is challenging. For the upcoming round, I will have to up my performances for sure. Top five competitors are really strong therefore I can’t afford to take a much-relaxed approach. I won twice in Round 1 but I had technical issues in Japan and in Zhuhai, I lost the championship points. It was a tough time, this season. In terms of the machine, in my professional views, it was developed for international circuits and second-year running, it has made quite a significant impact. The information provided by our fifteen riders have been crucial in their development for each round. For the coming round, I will do my best. I am still highly motivated to ride but at the same time, I also want to coach. So, next season maybe a different scene entirely for me.”

Ramdan on the other hand said, “So far, this season has been good for me. I have truly enjoyed this category and it has given me a different perspective overall in terms of riding techniques and handling. Honestly, I thought I could win the championship title but to be fair, it has been tough especially with four riders fighting for the same spot. I am focused though to have a good race in Round 6 and to finish on the podium for both races. I did have some issues at Chang circuit in Round 1 but I would like to leave that behind and move forward with the overall experience that I gained this season to ensure that the mistakes are not repeated. The pressure is definitely there. No doubt! Any rider would feel a certain kind of anxiety but the goal is to give my best and minimise errors where possible. The level of competitiveness in the TVS Asia race category has definitely improved. Some of them with prior experiences from the debut season and some who are new. We have the likes of Hiroki who has been able to inject a different kind of thrill which makes it even more compelling. At the moment, I just want

to finish the season with a good note and get an awesome result. For the coming season, I do hope that I can race in ARRC again!”

As for Muzakkir, he said, “It is a season of ups and downs for me but understandably, this is motorsports. I have experienced this many times so I am able to manage my expectations will this time around. TVS has done an awesome job with the championship – the professionalism of the crew members and the machine’s capacities are exceptional. It has been a happy moment for me each time we raced. Being in contention for championship is solely a one-man’s job. As it is a one-make series, there are no teammates. Everyone has the same goal which is to win. My strategy has been the same throughout the season which is to stand tall on the podium and complete the race with maximum points. One of the challenges would be the machine in each round. We get different machines and sometimes, it is a fantastic one and sometimes we get the ones that has crashed before. Having said that, the mechanics of TVS Asia always did a great job to ensure optimisation of the machines. Racing at Buriram, which is like my second home and one of my favourite circuits, I have a better confidence. Sector 2 is my strong point and with a perfect setup, I think I can make it. Of course, we have the likes of Ramdan and Hiroki who are both world championship riders, Vorapong who is the defending champion and not forgetting Piyawat and Decky who are all great riders. But again, we all have our own set of skills, equally competitive. Sometimes, what matters more is plain luck.”