RODNEY PAYS TRIBUTE TO HARUKI NOGUCHI

Remembering The 22-Year-Old, Rising Star, A true Champion on and off track

“Imagine watching a boy who fought hard on the circuit to live his dreams and then, in a twist of fate, fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit for 3 days straight and not being able to come out of it. It has never been the same since,” teared Rodney, the Team Manager.

Haruki, 22 years old, was competing in Race 2 of Round 4, FIM Asia Road Championship at the Pertamina Mandalika International Circuit. Like any other riders, he was all out, in full form for the title chase when he lost control of his SDG Honda Racing bike at Turn 10 before crashing.

He was immediately taken to the circuit’s medical center, where he received emergency treatment for his critical injuries. He was then transferred to a hospital in Nusa Tenggara, where he remained in intensive care for three days. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, Haruki succumbed to his injuries on Monday, August 16, leaving behind his devastated parents, friends and fans.

His tragic passing cut the motorcycle racing world deep…

The pressure of professional sports is intense, the personal sacrifices that must be made to become an elite in their game is immense. That fact is heightened in motorsport. But very occasionally, there comes one, who totally bucks the trend.

Haruki Noguchi was an extraordinaire.

“Not only was he a brilliant rider and one of the most determined, but he was a amazing human being”, says Rodney.

“He was a very cheeky guy off-track and he meant business each time he goes into the circuit. When I first met him during a race, I was impressed by the glimmer in his eyes, the determination to strive and never give up. That caught my attention and I knew then that I have found the best rider for the team. He was young boy with a goal and I never had second thoughts of hiring him in representing the team.”

“He proved my selection right. Throughout his journey with the team, he played an important role. He made sure it wasn’t only about him instead he valued the goals, objectives and principles and shouldered the commitment and responsibilities without fail. Communication is crucial when it comes to teamwork, right? He aced it! There were no stumbling blocks. He and his teammates worked very closely during race weekends.”

“Personally, he is like a son to me. He calls me Papa San. That’s how close we were. Watching a son battling for his life and three days later, the ventilation machine being turned off… it was truly a nightmare. I would never wish that for anyone.  Sometimes I do wake up in the middle of the night and reminisce the good old days on track. I think it has been some time since I had a proper sleep after the incident. He was a special combination, competitive, yet never a problem with the rivals, press or whatever.”

“It’s a huge loss to the team and definitely it is gonna take some time for us get in back there and perform. We are all still mourning.” Shared Rodney.

Born into the Noguchi family, in Nara, Japan on 20 June 2001, racing flowed through Haruki’s veins.  He was a rising star in the motorcycling scene, having made his debut in the All Japan Road Racing Championships in 2017. He quickly proved his talent and skill, winning the Superstock 600 category in 2021.

He also impressed fans on the international stage, finishing third at the prestigious Suzuka-8 Hour endurance race earlier this year, alongside his teammates Takumi Takahashi and Ryo Mizuno. He was one of the favorites to win the Asia Road Championship title this year, having won two races and secured two pole positions in the previous rounds. He was known for his fearless riding style, as well as his cheerful and friendly personality off-track.

“He was the strongest competitor,” Andi Farid of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA recalled fondly.

“When you fight, when you got to compete for the fastest lap time, for the position, he never gives up. He was feisty, driven to be the best. There was nothing personal in his fight to be competitive. It is given, for all riders. Off-track, he is an amazing persona who shares many things in common. We always had stories to speak about or to share.”

“He will be missed dearly.”

Meanwhile, Andi’s teammate, Zahwan Zaidi, left a poignant tribute to his great rival cum friend.

“It is a huge loss to the motorsports’ scene. He was the talent in need that makes every racing scene competitive. He was a rising star, someone for the younger generation to look up to and be inspired. He was not only his fan’s person but the riders in the ASB1000 race category too. Apart from being a rival on track, he has been a great friend off-track. I’ll miss you dearly, my friend!” said Zaqhwan.

Haruki’s dedication to competition was as strong as ever in his sophomore year, where he was proving his incredible work ethic, passion, and dedication to two-wheeled motorsport. Haruki will be deeply missed by the paddocks he has graced throughout an incredible career, by his fans around the world, and by all those closest to him. We wish to pass on our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, team, and colleagues as we sadly bid farewell to the “Haruki Noguchi” far too soon. In the midst of sorrow, we stand united in honoring his memory and cherishing the impact he made. Till we meet again!