Most people may have heard of Ken Block and what relates to him is one of the forms of motorsport called “Gymkhana”. Personally, I was only introduced to it in 2012 and as we all know now the sport has become very popular throughout the region and other country as well.
Gymkhana is actually similar to autocross, but its courses are often very complex. Memorizing the course is a major part of achieving a fast time as the events are timed and featuring obstacles such as cones, tires and barrels. The driver must maneuver their vehicle through a predetermined layout performing many different driving techniques such as 180 degree spins, 360 degree spins, figure 8’s and other advanced skills. Unlike autocross, gymkhana courses typically involve only the use of first and second gear. It simply can be considered to be a small version of a road course with consists of slaloms, 180 degree turns, 360 degree turns and figure eight turns. In most gymkhanas in Malaysia, events are organized in twin battle timed race. Essentially, gymkhana is an event featuring a starting point, a finish line and some sort of obstacle to get through, around, or by, all within a certain time limit. Handbrake technique, drifting and sliding and Left-foot braking are all necessary skills for gymkhana.
My first experience for gymkhana was back in April 2012 during the first Malaysian Race of Champion (MROC) was held in Speed City KL. I was given to drive a real track car owned by my previous team (Ultra Racing), the Nissan Silvia S13; a rear wheel drive vehicle. At first I thought it was a part of the drifting discipline but as I watched and briefly learned that it is actually something more complex. It took a while for me to memorize the course layout at first. Sadly, I didn’t win any placing but it was love at first sight. I come to enjoy gymkhana since then.
My high determination had brought me to a level whereas I never gave up on learning maneuvering my machine (the S13) at the time in a more precise turns into barriers and cones. And so after many mistakes and errors from learning, I finally won my first trophy by winning 2nd place in the very next gymkhana event I joined. Although throughout the year I had many races lost, yet I kept on being positive and was certain to be good at it someday.
I continued my journey in the male dominate sport this year with my own Proton Satria 4G13 as I am likely to be more familiar to a front wheel drive vehicle. I have learned so much by building my own car setup one by one with a lot of help from friends around and sponsors. Suspensions and bar components plays an important role as it helps a lot in controlling the car slides into turns and around cones faster in a more stable transfer. My first debut in gymkhana with my total stock Satria was earlier this year 2013 at the Festival Belia Putrajaya Gymkhana Challenge. I was awarded with Best Lady Driver. From there I have won 1st place for Lady Category during SuperGT Ultra Racing Gymkhana Challenge 2013. After those two events I was predetermined to win more in other events as well as to be competitive with other male drivers.
As being sponsored by Ftuned Racing Suspension, I was honoured to be given a fully adjustable suspension, specially tuned for gymkhana and the first and foremost vehicle in Malaysia using this special tuned suspension. Alongside with other collaboration of sponsors such as MOB Design Decals, Ultra Racing, Toyo Flush King, Traffic Magazine, Racing Art SB and DICE Photowerkz, I believe my vision of to be the one of the competitive drivers in gymkhana is evolving. My first debut with these line of sponsors was during UR-ASN Gymkhana Challenge Championship Round 1 2013. I have won 1st runner up in the lady category.
Fortitude, I have not only won in all gymkhana events joined for the Lady Driver category, but respectively won 2nd runner up in the 1.3cc class as well, and currently in the leading board of lady driver category as well as in the 1.3cc class category in URGC series. As for now, I believe I have given the male driver in my cc class a rather competitive rivalry. The thought of having a tough male competitor had never congested me from learning more and to not give up easily. Nevertheless, I will not break off this spirit I posses and will keep on learning to do better in time.
Fortunately for all my hard work in these past few years, 2014 will be a more promising year as I had planned for some upgrading for my engine (mainly to make it a full gymkhana machine) and as for myself, securing my mind to use many techniques to effectively navigate a course whereas my goal is to get through as quickly as possible with the fewest number of mistakes. Acceleration, braking, drifting, and grip driving are all necessary to hold control over the car. But mostly to have more practices and training for higher focus as gymkhana requires strong mental concentration and memorization.
Thank you to my family and friends for their never ending support of me, sponsors who believes in me, event organizers and all petrol heads who kept everyone in the industry evolving. I hope to inspire others with my experience in gymkhana as well as one of the female drivers in grass root races. Nothing is impossible; it is about how you chose to start a dream and how you plan to make it a dream come true. As for me, this is my establishment of a girl’s dream becoming true. #Motorsportsforlife
words: Faye Kusairi pix: DICE Photowerks