Motorsport is a big business but what you see on TV is only the very tip of an iceberg. The hype and the glamour, the status may all be an inspiration to take up motorsport or simply the idea of being part of the MotoGP or even the four-wheeled race, F1, widely recognised as the pinnacle of the sport. But where do I begin? How do I make it there? What does it take? These are the usual queries in a person’s mind.  

Whether you want to be part of the ladder or simply indulge in something fast and furious, there is always something out there for you. Compared to the days before, motorsports have become much accessible to the various layers within the community. However, are they well informed? 

Singaporean rider, Arsyad Rushdi, struggled to find the right platform to chase his dreams back in his home but managed to begin his racing journey in his neighbouring country, Malaysia.

“To find the proper path to pursue my dream, it was the real deal. The struggle was and still is the lack of opportunities to have more riding time, sponsors and exposure to make racing a career. There isn’t much support for the racing industry in Singapore, leaving aside the F1 scene. As am emphasising on two wheels, the opportunities are still low. We only have a small go-kart circuit to race on which is just short of a kilometre long. Despite all this, I always try to work hard and get as many opportunities to race whenever I can.

“I started riding bikes at the age of 11. My dad bought me a pocket bike, which is a mini-motorcycle for my siblings and me to practice our riding. I wouldn’t say I chose motorsports because my dad was the one that started it all. I fell in love with racing really quickly and it has been a part of my life ever since. Of course, there are other sports that I like to play such as football, but nothing beats the adrenaline rush when riding a bike and taking the corners.

“From there, we ventured into Malaysia to race the pocket bikes, where I raced with riders like Kasma Daniel. I would say I was quite successful, winning a lot of races. When I turned 17, I had the opportunity to race in the Honda Asia Dream Cup in the year 2014 and 2015. It was my first international competition and also my first time racing sports bikes. This was where I learned and gained a lot of experience with regards to racing. And the rest is history!”

In 2016, Arsyad participated in the Suzuki Asian Challenge, and then in 2017 the KTM RC Cup Asia Championship. There are a number of amusing achievements that the 26-year-old paved in the motorsports scene.

“After racing in international competitions for 4 years, I took a short break to focus on my studies. I wish I could balance both my racing career and studies, unfortunately, I had to drop one as racing requires extensive traveling and that blatant fact that there are fewer opportunities at the national level.”

“Last year, I was given another opportunity to race in the ARRC in TVS Asia OMC. It took some time for me to get used to traveling and racing as I took a break from racing in 2017 until the inaugural TVS race last year. Currently, I am in my second year participating in the TVS Asia OMC and I am thankful for being invited again by TVS to race for the series’ second season.

“Compared to last year, the line-up this season includes riders who have competed at the highest level, like Hiroki in the Moto3 championship, Ramdan in ARRC and Spanish Championship, and many more. They are all talented riders and it really has been a challenging season. I feel my performance has not been what I expected at the start of the year. However, it motivates me to keep working and hopefully, I will be able to improve my performance in the final 2 round which is in Zhuhai and Buriram,” said Arsyad.

The inaugural season of TVS seems quite tough on the Singaporean lad, as he finished the season at 7th overall with no podium wins on hand. However, the never-give-up character in him brought him again into the second season with a higher vision.

“One of the main challenges would be my body size. In all the one-make series I have competed in, I was always one of the heaviest and taller riders, and in racing the smaller CC bikes, weight plays a big role as it affects the straight-line speed. Regardless, I’m trying best to be in front and be competitive as much as I can.

“ My target will always be aiming for the podium no matter what. This will be my first time racing at the Zhuhai Circuit, and I am really looking forward to learning a new circuit. Some of the guys have done races at the circuit, so I need to quickly get up to speed to be able to have a chance at the podium,” Arsyad all geared for the upcoming race, this weekend.