The race to supremacy in the Underbone 130cc class of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship this season has been one of the closest fought to date. With Underbone ace and defending champion Gupita Kresna now racing in the Asia Production 250cc class, the race to clinch the 2016 title has been wide open since the start of the season, with battle lines shifting with every race venue.

Wahyu Aji Trilaksana of team TPK48 BKMS is riding on a mission to bring the Underbone 130cc title back to Indonesia for the seventh consecutive year. Should he succeed, Wahyu will become the ninth Indonesian champion in the South East Asian heritage class. He will be carving his name alongside other Underbone greats such as M. Fadli Immammuddin, Doni Tata Pradita, Gilang Pratama Sukma, Wahyu Widodo, Owie Nurhuda, Hadi Wijaya, Rafid Topan and most recently, Gupita Kresna Wardhana.

However, the Malaysian contingent would like to have a say in the matter as well. Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa, Mohd Izzat Zaidi, Ahmad Fazli Sham and even young rookie Mohd Helmi Azman have all put in competitive performances strong enough to prevent a runaway lead by their Indonesian rivals. The last time a Malaysian rider won the Underbone title was in 2009 when Mohd Affendi Rosli caught everyone off guard by breaking the Indonesian stronghold astride a Suzuki.

The title chase in the Underbone 130cc has an added layer of significance this year. This will be the final season of the Underbone 130cc. By 2017, the class will be replaced by the 150cc Super-Underbone or SuperCub category.With positions among the top 10 riders changing with every round, strong results will be crucial for a rider’s points-bank as they lay the foundation for an all-out final battle in Buriram in December.