For those who had the opportunity to grace the long-gone renowned Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit, you might have heard of Saturday Night Fever. Way back then, it was a speed carnival for all petrolheads. Almost every Saturday Night Fever session, the circuit will be jammed pack. Parking was cheap at only RM2.00 and if I’m not mistaken entry charges for drivers were only a meagre RM60.00… which was quite a sum for most of us back then. Nevertheless, by hook or by crook, the drivers managed to have enough money to graze the tarmac of Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit.
The circuit was opened in way before I was born in wayyy back in 1968 with the first Grand Prix won by Indonesian Hengkie Iriawan. Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit was the venue for the Malaysian Grand Prix from 1968 until 1982, whereby the starting field consisted alternately of vehicles from the Formula Atlantic, Formula Pacific or Formula 2. The last Malaysian Grand Prix race held in Shah Alam was held for Formula Holden in 1995.
All thanks to Saturday Night Fever, the illegal races around town were getting lesser and lesser as ’em petrolheads have a place of their own to battle it out once their right foot get a ‘lil bit itchy to jammed the pedal to metal. In fact, there were almost no illegal races were held during the hey day of Saturday Night Fever. Despite the success of curbing illegal races, the state government made a profitable move and sold the land to a property developer, making it a luxury housing project back in 2003.
Again, the petrolheads were with no option but take it to the streets. KESAS highway became a favourite for illegal drag. The huge both positive and negative cambering roundabout near Subang Parade were turned into another race venue for those who loves high speed corners. Jalan Kewajipan was another one of those favourites as well as Federal Highway and the NKVE once it was opened to public. By then, slowly the trend of racing shifted to drag racing instead of street circuit. It was even better during Hari Raya Celebration as Kuala Lumpur turned to a ghost town while some of us hit the streets for street circuit racing for the whole three days without being hassled by the authorities. As for spectators, there were quite a number of them hanging out at the Merdeka Square. I really missed those days.
Sepang International Circuit was officially inaugurated back in 1999 but due to its location in Sepang, further away from the city made it quite a toll for weekend racers to head there a let off some steams on the track. Gradually racing became a pastime for those with lots of dough in their pockets. Nevertheless, there were quite a number of organizers came out with a lower-budgeted events such as gymkhanna and drift. Due to the huge following around the world, drift became one of the most watched events even in Malaysia… and yet there’s no platform for weekend racers to quench their thirst for speed apart from the Super Saga races held in Pasir Gudang circuit in Johore.
It was a year ago, when Ignition.my made the decision and went ahead with it… reviving the Saturday Night Fever and held it in Sepang International Circuit. It’s as expensive as ever, but at least the weekend racers have a place to call home and despite the economic downfall, Malaysians have more money in their pockets compared to ten years before. During the first year, participation was not as expected by the organizer and through the hardship of difficulty of getting sponsors, they prevailed and went on organizing it for the second year.
Being a petrolhead on a tight budget, I’ve been going for a touge run once in a while with the EPMC boys apart from speeding around town looking for a short-burst of adrenaline rush every now and then. Roadtrips with Blue Jackets Fraternitas were satisfyingly fast for my liking. A friendly run-ins with fellow speed freaks got me all freshen up for the upcoming week days. And so it was quite a shock for me when I was approached to race for Kekure Racing. During our first meet, they showed me the car that I was supposed to race, it was a rundown junk but an Impreza GC8 nonetheless. I pulled in another college friend, Azham who has always been known as a speed freak ever since I’ve known him 17 years ago to be the first driver for Kekure Racing.
2012 might be the end of days for some religious-fanatics and those Nostradamus believers, but for Azham and I, it was the year that the both of us get to race legally all thanks to the rundown spray-painted GC8, Kekure Racing, the support from Lowyat.net, Jun Racing, crews, friends, my beloved wife, our baby in her womb and last but not least Ignition.my for reviving Saturday Night Fever. We surely will be looking forward for SNF2013.
words: Hage’ pix: Hazwan Najims & DICE