From flag-off to the chequered flag, the Underbone 150cc race category is an action-filled race series that has never failed to leave the audience at the edge of their seats. What makes it even more exciting is the ability of its riders to make bold moves and strike at the right moment to free themselves of the mounting pressure trailing them. Among them, Nazirul Izzat of UMA Racing YAMAHA Maju Motor Asia Team and Shafiq Rasol of ONEXOX TKKR Racing Team are two exemplary riders who have fought a good fight in breaking the barriers and will do it one more time in a bid to claim the Champion title in Round 6 of the Idemitsu FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at Chang International Circuit this weekend.

Both the Malaysian riders have been in their A-game throughout the season with Nazirul bagging a spot on the podium five times including three wins whereas Shafiq, four times including two wins. Not easy but they did it. The riders have showcased their capacities not only in the manoeuvring techniques but also in managing their strategies, on-the-go. The UB150 race category comes with its unique proposition where everyone is presented with the opportunity to win and this is where the riders’ quick act matters. It’s either make or break! Nazirul and Shafiq seemed to have discovered the winning tactic but who would rise above the challenge this time around?

Nazirul commented, “At Chang circuit, I will do my best and fight to be ahead of the troop. At the same time, I also have to be really careful this time around. My goal is to get enough points in both races and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I would be able to make it champion this time around. I really like Chang circuit but I have not had the luck just yet to take a spot on the podium so far. What I have achieved though it the fastest lap time at the circuit. I am hoping though that this time around, I would be able to stand on the podium. Of course, I have some weakness in a number of turns and I think the toughest one would be the last corner because it is quite narrow and everyone will be rushing towards the finish line. So have to be a little careful over there. My machine however has been in an excellent condition throughout the season. I have been quite consistent from round 1 up until today. But from round 2 onwards, my luck has been really good and I managed to get onto the podium. The setup of the machine has really helped me in my achievements overall. As for the preparation for the coming round, I have been working out; jogging and gym. We also do some training at Sepang circuit and also at the go-kart track. The trainings are not too strenuous to avoid any injuries that would hamper our road towards the championship title. I am thankful for the good memories this season when I won and finished podium in the races. Of course, there has been some hard time too. More like a pressure especially in Zhuhai because there is a constant need to maintain the standings. To a point where I think my performances was impacted. The underbone race category is one of the most interesting one and it is unpredictable but I love it! Round 6, here I come!” Shafiq on the other hand said, “I personally think that Round 6 will be very competitive as it is the last round for the season. The Chang circuit is one that favour a lot because there are many rolling speed corners especially the last turn which is highly anticipated. I have to stay focused in both races and try my best to win it so that I can obtain maximum points of 25 each. Without that, the chances of me taking the championship title will be tough as there is a difference of 44 points between myself and my contender. I will go all out to try and make that happen. Throughout the season, the team has worked really hard in providing me with a well-set machine. That has gone a long way in helping me with my standings overall. I was DNF twice this season because I fell at Sepang once and another time in Japan. That has cost me the points in the race. This is the first time I am racing in the UB150 race category but I gained a lot of experience as a wildcard rider at Sepang in the last season. That has definitely helped me with my performances this year. As an underbone rider, I have to say that I have gained a lot of experiences especially riding alongside riders who are not just experts in their game but one of the best in Asia. For me, this has been one of my biggest moments therefore I will not take it lightly in the coming round.”