SPS Rally Team: Determined souls

Published on December 15th, 2010

What do we know about rally anyway, besides dirt, mud, a co-driver with a map, and going 230km/h while juggling all this in one go. I’m guessing all of you must have at some point on one of your long distance journeys, somehow found a map after ransacking your friend’s glove compartment and started screaming ‘Right Three!’ and had a good laugh.

Truth be told, that’s only the surface of what rally is all about.

First and foremost: timing. Timing is everything in rallying. From the moment the car was flagged off (and each car has its own time to be flagged off), all the way to when the car’s about to enter the Service Park. Failing to adhere to the designated time, to the minute, will cause the team some precious penalty minutes.

We were present at the final round of MRC2010, which was held in Ladang Tebu, Perlis, during the weekend. Thanks to SPS Rally Team for their very warm hospitality and glorious 60cents Nasi Lemak for breakfast, we were able to cover the whole race starting Friday.

The journey up North started with a bit of twist from D’Carbo, sponsor for SPS Rally Team. This side of the story requires another story on its own, and it will not do justice to the product telling it here. Thanks to D’Carbo, the team never had to take down their 4G93 engine for major repairs. Wait for the review on Trafficmagonline.

We arrived in Beseri, Perlis, at so late it was already early on Saturday morning. The sight of the redesigned SPS’ Proton Putra woke everybody up and everyone gathered around the car to see their white steed for MRC2010.

After a short warming up session, the car was taken to the flag off area by the driver, Jai Rizal and co-driver, Shahrol “Superman” Zainal. The crew stayed behind for a quick session with the 60cents Nasi Lemak and took our turn with the cold, cold water to bathe. All of us KL folks who are so used to water heaters flipped our guts out and actually paused before taking the first step into the cold shower territory. After everyone is ready to go, we joined Jai and Shahrol at the flagging off area.

The flagging off was done on a ramp. Next on schedule was refuelling, then to enter the Service Area for final adjustments, then the car waits for their turn to enter SS1. The crew stayed in the Service Area.

The first SS was good, but unfortunately at one of the turns, a Satria was stuck in the middle of the lane and Jai was forced to avoid, causing him to enter the deeper part of the muddy track and was stuck himself. Two other cars tried to venture on to no avail. Jai and Shahrol managed to wiggle their way out out and went ahead to SS2.

Another incident happened in SS2 where their car was stuck again and this time, they broke their clutch. This put them off from continuing with the rest of the Special Stages as time has already run out. The team returned to the Service Area, then back to the homestay in Beseri with new determinations on Sunday.

You see, rallying is racing, and there’s no doubting that. But professionalism and deep passion in motorsport calls for a professional behaviour. Losing’s losing, and winning’s winning. If you can’t do more today, do more tomorrow. These are one of the things that made SPS Rally Team and its crew a strong team. They are fuelled by determination and passion even though there are only three crews working on the car, five if you add up the driver and co-driver. Being experienced mechanics themselves, they have no problem in fixing their Putra together. While some other more high profile rally drivers will only inform the mechanics on what’s wrong, Jai and Shahrol are able to pin point the exact problem and will probably fix these problems themselves.

Look at it this way; if you send your car to SPS Glenmarie, your car will be attended to by full fledged rally team sponsored by Canterbury, including the driver and co-driver.

Getting back to Perlis, after another session with 60cents Nasi Lemak (this time there’s Sardine included), we went back to the flagging off and prepared for the second and final day. Us Traffic boys went ahead to the Service Area and the SS to get us some nice pictures, but were disappointed when we were told that two SS’ (SS2 & SS4) were closed due to the condition of the tracks.

Nevertheless, the team ventured on to SS3 where there was an interesting U-turn corner with a lot of splash and tricky slopes. A team actually destroyed their right driveshaft here while another team’s Satria lost control and went into a ditch nearby.

Another car was stuck towards the end of SS3 and forced all other cars to stop, Jai and Shahrol included. After the long wait, they continued on towards SS1.

At this point, an interesting session with my car’s temperature happened. The fan stopped working, and it chose Perlis for the ideal location for it to die.

Anyway, after a while, we headed back to the Service Area and waited. We waited for quite some time, with other cars coming in beside SPS’ tent. We began to worry if the Putra was stuck again.

But after a while, the Putra returned with mud splattered on the car but otherwise unscathed.

SPS Rally Team won third (P11) for the fifth and final round of MRC2010 and collected the first prize for Junior category as well. For the overall result, SPS Rally won 1st for P11 (1.8) class for Driver category, and 1st for Junior Driver category. Not bad for a one year old team eh?

They have been climbing up the ladder steadily for the past year, with low budget and skeleton crew. They are looking for new sponsors to allow them to venture in other classes and categories, including the 4WD category. If they can come up with this kind of result for the very first year of their rallying experience, imagine what they can do with higher budget and bigger crew.

SPS Rally Team can be contacted through their Facebook account, or give them a shout at their inbox at spsrallyteam @ gmail.com. If you want to see them face-to-face, head over to SPS Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

words: Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad  pix: Syafril Ismail & Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad


  1. Posted by Shahrol "Superman" Zainal on December 16th, 2010, 15:10

    Thanks lot to Trafficmagonline crews, Geg & Shawal, our marvelous rally crews Boy, Boyot, Daus mantap, Afro and Buya, my driver Jai our family and fans. Keep it up guys….c u all in 2011 1st Round @ Johor.
    ~Shahrol Superman~

  2. Posted by Syawal Ahmad on December 16th, 2010, 18:51

    Thanks to SPS Rally Team for the hospitality! Keep up the good work!

  3. Posted by Syed on December 23rd, 2010, 03:08

    Good Job! its a relief to see rally still in the malaysia motorsports calander. Hope to see more article about rally. to Sps rally team… congrats.! Bravo..! New comers… huh! not bad…

  4. Posted by Syawal Ahmad on December 23rd, 2010, 17:06

    We are hoping to cover more rally races in the future. Next season will begin in April, so hopefully we’ll be able to cover the whole season. Thank you!

  5. Posted by Shahrol on February 27th, 2011, 15:53

    Thanks lot syed….


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