The fiery fight among riders of the Asia Production 250cc race category has been evident thus far in the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship. While the riders have been toe-to-toe with each other, making the splash in the domain were the Indonesian riders who seemed to have picked up the tricks and trades of the riding mechanisms far too well. Irfan Ardiansyah of Motul Sniper Manual Tech and Wahyu Nugroho of YAMAHA Racing Indonesia were among them who stood out with their recent, first podium-finish and are geared up to make it or break it once again at Round 5 which will be held at the Zhuhai International Circuit, China.

The former rider of ASTRA Honda Racing Team who rode aboard the Honda CBR600 RR last season made his entry into the AP250 race category this season. It is surely a hard row to hoe, especially from a higher engine capacity machine to a slightly lower one and that has been obvious in his performances throughout the season. Coupled with the fact that he has to now adapt to the form and function of a Kawasaki machine. Nevertheless, Irfan has made an impressive finish in Race 2 of Round 4 when he bagged the third spot on the podium.

Commenting on the season, Irfan said, “My biggest challenge for the season would definitely be my weight. To ride on the AP250 machine, I would have to be lighter in comparison to riding aboard a 600cc machine. I have changed categories before so more or less, I am quite familiar with the setbacks. The other challenge in this race category would be the power of Honda. Which means, I have to be more aggressive in recovering my limitations with the Kawasaki. Although for posture, a 600cc is much better for me, the 250cc has nevertheless gave me quite an experience this season and I have enjoyed riding the whole time.”

On his experience at Zhuhai, Irfan said, “My first experience there was in 2019. I had a good experience there. I enjoyed riding on the track and I think it pretty much went well with my riding style. Having said that, a lot has changed over the years so we have to be quite prepared for it and also since we haven’t raced there for many years. As part of the preparation towards the race, the FP sessions are really crucial. The team and I usually work closely during the session to understand the positive and negative impact and work towards making it better. My goal in the last 2 rounds has been obvious – I want to win. The podium-finish at Mandalika gave me the boost that I need and I will continue to strive 100% to achieve it again.”

Nugroho on the other hand came back for a full season this year after being away last year at the World SBK Championship. The rider who initially rode in the Underbone 150cc race category moved into the AP250 race category in 2020 for only one round before taking a leap into world championship in 2022 after the lockdown. Although a Yamaha-boy all the way, Nugroho has definitely rolled with the punches this season before he finally made his first podium at the third spot at his home-ground circuit. 

Commenting on the season, Nugroho said, “I am truly happy to be back at ARRC since my last appearance in 2020 before the world went on a lockdown. It has been a fun ride so far for me. Last year, I was away at WSBK and that has been pinnacle in achieving my dreams at the international stage. I took part in the One Make Race Yamaha R3 bLU cRU cup and evidently, it was quite tough considering the tight competition with riders of various countries competing on machines of the same performance. But to be honest, there is not much of a difference with ARRC. The level of competitiveness is equally the same. On my side, I struggled quite a bit to get to the front group but I am thankful that there has been a new regulation which makes it better to improving my results.”

“As for the coming race, I have raced there in 2019 in the UB150 race category. I like the circuit and it is not very difficult in my opinion. I guess it is also because each time I hit the circuit, I not only do my best but I also take a moment to enjoy the rider. That I think makes it much easier to overcome whatever challenges. My team has been very supportive of me and we get through the tough and good times together. As for my goals this season, I want to try and get to the top three positions although I know it is not an easy feat. I am proud of my achievements so far because I give it my best shot and I have also improved a lot over the years.”