JClubman: Demolition derby with a twist

Published on November 3rd, 2009

I’m at the workshop while typing this, waiting for my always-late kinda boss who supposed to pick me up much earlier. My faithful Mazda is back inside again, this time, it’s wiring problem… again. Well, quite normal they’d say, considering that it’s an old car with a crazy driver.

Anyways, it’s good to be back in KL after a full weekend spent at Pasir Gudang for the JClubman race in Johor Circuit, thanks to Kamal Motor Works who was racing in a white Saga (no.88). It was nice to see ol’skool fithfuls of Saga lovers battling in an all-out door-to-door fender-smooching-rear-bumper race. Some would go as far as calling the race a demolition derby with a twist!


But wait until you see what’s under the hood. Unclipped the bonnet-lock and you’ll find yourself looking at stock-standard 1.3-carburetor 12V engine. Linger for a little while longer and you’ll see a little of this and that of the internal parts are not as standard as your grandma’s Saga. No sir, all the Saga participating in the JClubman ‘demolition derby’ was tuned to the max, internally.


Racing cams, metal gasket, gearbox, pistons and almost all internal parts have been changed to keep up with the pace of over 190km/h on the straight. Regulation states that all Saga must run on original engine block, head, carburetor, 13” rims and Malaysia factory-based tyre manufacturers. The rest of the internal parts are up to the participants’ imagination. No 4G63 or four-wheel drive system allowed.


It was a nice sight to see when all the Sagas were lining up on the starting grid, of which the positions were determined with lucky-draw concept. All the numbered papers, for the positions on the grid, will be put inside a small container and the drivers will take one each to determine their position on the grid.


When the siren went off, you’ll see that drivers will push their Saga to the max to get ahead on the first corner, and this was where most the fender-benders occurred. Everyone will try to squeeze into the corners. Coming out from the first corner, almost all the cars will be sporting a new look, comprising of missing bumpers or smaller doors.


Corners were taken with racing lines, of course, but not without a sight to be seen as well. Sitting on 13-inchers, corners were taken by power-sliding into corners, smoking tyres filled the air and gravel driving one time too many. Almost all the cars ran on three tyres through corners.


The quote of the day was “Don’t worry, mesti ada kereta terbalik punya (there’ll be accidents during the race). It’s almost a must for the race to take casualty. Blown engines were apparently a routine.


Back at the pits, you can see the mechanics dismantling the cylinder heads, replacing blown gaskets, adjusting alignments using threads the ol’skool way and a whole lotta smiles. This is a race participated by passionate motorsports-driven people, driven by engine oil for blood. No quarrels, no dissatisfaction and absolutely no politics. They raced for racing’s sake, nothing more and nothing less.


For RM15k, you can have a ready-to-race Saga. It’s simple, just head over to Johor Circuit, download the form and register. Just make sure that your driver is crazy enough and pretty much in love with high-speed corners.


During the JClubman race, there were also bikes racing in between the Saga races. Highly modified 110cc to150cc bikes trashed the circuit, with knee scraping the tarmac and peg-to-peg overtaking. These riders took corners at even more extreme angles than the riders at Sepang!


Truly, racing is at its best when it’s all about the skills rather than who have more money to spend on their machines. JClubman is one of those grassroot racing that goes all the way back to how racing’s meant to be raced, with no politics and bull-sh*t taking the lead.


“On the tarmac, all the cars are pretty much on the same level in terms on mechanical play. This is where skills and thrills are more appreciated than machines. This is grassroot racing,” said Rosli Mohamed Yatim, JCircuit Executive.


text: Syawal Ahmad  pix: Syawal Ahmad and Hage’


  1. Posted by ZaidGSR on November 4th, 2009, 08:46

    Its remind me to Bt Tiga Speedway dude!!!

    nice old days…

  2. Posted by shalie on November 5th, 2009, 16:34

    hahaha… mmg sebijik like BTSC days lah… those were the days… 😀

  3. Posted by jonlabu on November 7th, 2009, 19:50

    caya la abg botak

  4. Posted by exJAVANESE on November 11th, 2009, 00:56

    Yup.. it’s remain me too.. But.. BTSC Hanya tinggal kenangan…
    Miss it that event so much dude…

  5. Posted by Traffic Mag on November 11th, 2009, 05:03

    you’re not the only one bro.. we miss batu tiga circuit too!! tskk!! tskk!!


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