McKinley Kyle Paz (UMA Racing Yamaha Philippine Team) was disappointed to qualify off the front row at the 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship season finale at Buriram, but in the Underbone class, the UMA Racing Yamaha Philippine Team rider knew that grid position is not everything.


The 18-year-old, who was one of five riders still in the running for the 2019 title, knew that all he had to do was hunker down within the front group and bide his time for a last lap, last corner attack.


However, in the sheer unpredictability that is so characteristic of Underbone racing, pre-drawn plans and strategy went flying out the window the moment the 8-lap race was flagged off.


Haziq Fairues and Akid Aziz (UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team)  were among the early leaders at the start of Race 2. At the end of Lap 1, 28 out of 31 were still bunched up in one big group, attacking the corners six abreast.


The first title contender to drop out of the race was Aldi Satya Mahendra (Yamaha Racing Indonesia). Aldi crashed out of the last turn along with Mohd Rozaiman Said (Cardinals Racing Team). Haziq Fairues was very nearly swept along by the incident and lost eight positions to drop down to the back of the group.


On Lap 4, championship leader Akid Aziz retired from the race, his title hunt derailed again by mechanical failure. This left 20 riders in the leading charge, among them, McKinley Kyle Paz, Ahmad Fazli Sham (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), and Haziq Fairues.


McKinley’s bid for the title faltered when he crashed in the mid-section of the 4.554km circuit. Refusing to give up, the young Filipino rider was back on his bike in a flash even though he had lost touch of the front pack.


The leading group had not shrunk noticeably by the final lap. With the notorious Buriram Turn 12 looming, Ahmad Fazli Sham began to slipstream his way past Richie Taroreh, Mohd Izzat Zaidi and Wawan Wello. The seasoned campaigner was all set to take control of the final corner until he got skittled by Syahrul Amin (SND Factory Racing Rapido).


Mohd Izzat Zaidi (RCB Accentwire Yamaha YY Pang Racing Team) led the group across the finish line but was later penalized for exceeding the track limit at the last corner.


Izzat’s penalty handed the win to Richie Taroreh (Proliner 549 Kaboci Racing Team) who claimed his first win of the season with 16’23.670s. Wawan Wello (SND Factory Racing Rapido) and Wahyu Aji Trilaksana (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Racing Team) made it an all-Indonesian clean sweep in the Underbone 150 Race 2.


15 seconds behind, McKinley Kyle Paz finished just outside of the points in 16th place. Clueless about what had happened in front of him, the disappointed young rider had no idea that his title contenders had been taken out one by one in the intensity of the race. It was only when he returned, dejected, to the pits that he found out he had officially entered the history books as the first Filipino rider to become the FIM Asian Underbone 150cc champion with 121 points to his name.


Akid Aziz, despite two DNF finishes in the final round, stayed in second overall with 119 points while his team mate Haziq Fairues closed the season in third with 113 points.


While the UMA Racing Yamaha riders were busy celebrating their personal achievements, the ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team had quietly triumphed over UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team in the UB150 Team Awards. Thanks to Wahyu’s steady performance, the Malaysian-based team won the team award by 190 points. UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team dropped to second with 178 points while UMA Racing Yamaha Philippine Team was ranked third with 139 points.