ONCE RIDING INSIDE A STADIUM, NOW IN THE PROFESSIONAL CIRCUIT – CAO VIET NAM

The fact is that there aren’t many Vietnamese who are aware of the motor racing scene and the lack of awareness can be attributed to the limited coverage and promotion of motor racing events or even the number of racing events in Vietnam itself. Besides, the popularity of other sports such as football and martial arts may overshadow the interest in motor racing among the people of the Land of Ascending Dragon. 

Whether it’s the excitement of a football match, the discipline of martial arts, or the adrenaline rush of motor racing, sports have a way of captivating audiences worldwide. While motor racing may not currently enjoy widespread popularity in Vietnam, its unique appeal and thrilling nature have the potential to attract more viewers if given proper platform and exposure.

There aren’t a lot of professional motorsport races may it be two wheels or four wheels,  currently taking place in the nation. The city was set to make its F1 debut in 2020 but the inaugural Vietnamese Grand Prix was canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Hanoi has not appeared on the race calendar since. With that said Hanoi’s motor race circuit lies largely abandoned while hopes fade that Vietnam’s capital will ever host a world championship anytime soon.

However, there are a number of passionate motorsports enthusiasts involved and working tirelessly to mold talents with the facilities they have, one of it, The My Dinh stadium in Hanoi which acts as the circuit for the local riders. There are a number of riders who have been raised with the fewer facilities they had.

One of them, Cao Viet Nam currently competes at The Asian Road Racing Championship in the AP250 category!

“It wasn’t an easy ride for me in the world of motorsports. I was so passionate about this sport, the speed, the world-class riders but I didn’t even have the bike to begin in the first place and secondly, the circuit! Together with all my friends whom I am forever grateful for, we built a bike. Yes, you heard it right! We built the bike and went to race at the stadium which is not a circuit. It is more like starting the engine, turn left and go around the stadium. Ha ha ha…

“It can be funny to hear that’s the reality we are facing in Vietnam which I really hope the whole scene will be enhanced one day with us proving there is a future in this sport. I know this is an expensive sport but I believe with the absolute amount of help and guidance we can bring it further.

“When first started to race, with no proper guidance I failed a few times but eventually I managed to win with the experience I gained. Unfortunately, there was a barrier when I crashed and broke my wrist. I went through surgery the medical doctor advised me not to race for another six months. It was not only my wrist was broken but my heart too..

“But, it is not what happened. 45 days later I came to know that there is a rider selection by Honda for an international race and it all began there. Now, I am competing in two different Asia-level competitions.”

Cao has been struggling to get his pace in the ARRC scene but that doesn’t mean he is not progressing. He has been gradually improving throughout the years since 2016. He has also has grabbed the Thailand Talent Cup title in 2019.

“Competing in Asia tournaments is not as easy as back in Vietnam. There are too many talented and amazing riders to compete with, but, it is to learn at the same time. I have gained so much knowledge through my participation in ARRC. Thanks to em! If I never got a chance to be here, I wouldn’t have known how it would be to race in a real circuit. Trying out different categories from UB130 to UB150 and now AP250, there are humongous differences among these classes and also the riders.

“For example, currently I am competing in ARRC and MSBK at the same time, in the same category, but I could perform better in MSBK. ARRC is highly competitive, so I am still struggling to get the pace. With fewer training slots or local races, it is quite hard for us Vietnamese to get prepared. If you see the motorsport scene in Malaysia or Thailand or Indonesia, there are a number of platforms for the younger generations grow. It is not the same for us. A sad truth! But I hope it changes”

The Honda Racing Vietnam Team’s rider currently clinching the 8th spot with 55 points on hand and hoping to place him in the top 5 with two rounds left. “I know it’s quite hard to chase with just two rounds left. Yet, if I made it to Top 5 that would be the best result for me throughout my career in ARRC. No harm in aiming higher, so let’s see what’s in store for me in Zhuhai, this weekend,” says Cao who carries his country’s name in his. Good luck, Cao VIET NAM!