Teenage sensation Hafizh Syahrin ready to oust Thai riders

Published on November 23rd, 2010

The 2010 Malaysian Super Series enters its final round this weekend at Sepang Circuit with Malaysia’s teenage sensation Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah looking set to take the centrestage in his fight against Thailand’s top juniors

Wilairot Rathaphong and Apiwat Wongthananon in Supersports Championship.

Though the Supersports Junior Championship crown is effectively out of reach for the 16-year old Hafizh, Walairot, who is leading the championship with 168 points and virtually assured of the junior overall title, would not want to come second best again in his fight against the fast improving PETRONAS Sprinta Yamaha rider.

In his first season on a 600cc machine, Hafizh – who is on track to win the premier CP130 cub prix crown this year – scored a double win in Round 4 to declare himself ready to challenge the big boys and also for the 125cc wildcard ticket at next year’s Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

“It’s not about the crown anymore … it’s about winning races and the bragging rights. That’s how motor racing is … It’s going to an exciting end to an exciting season,” says Datuk Ahmad Razlan Ahmad Razali, the Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit.

The 2011 season kicked off in April with SIC – promoter and organizer of the Malaysian MotoGP – announcing that the top three junior Malaysians would be selected for test for the 125cc wildcard ticket during the Malaysian MotoGP which is scheduled in October. The top riders in the Supersports Open Championship will, on the other hand, fight for places in the selection for a Moto2 wildcard ticket.

The wildcard tickets proved to be a strong pull for Supersports Championship with more than 35 riders on the grid in all its races; outnumbering the other MSS championships – the Superbike Championship and the Superstock Championship.

After four rounds of the Supersports Junior Championship, Hafizh, who had a slow start to the season, is fourth with 115 points behind Walairot, Apiwat and another teenage Malaysian Muhammad Farid Badrul Hisham, who rides for AFY Racing Malaysia. Badrul has 125 points while Apiwat has 134 points.

Novice champion in the PETRONAS Malaysian Cub Prix Championship last season, Hafizh scored third placing in Sepang last Sunday at Round 9 of the cub prix series to put himself in third place in the CP130 championship and just two points off the leader, Norizman Ismail, who has 146 points. With just one more round to go, Hafizh has 144 with two-time champion Ahmad Fazli Sham in second place with 145 points.

In the selection of the GP 125 wildcard for the 2009 Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Hafizh managed to put himself in the group of final eight; but was omitted from the final four of Elly Idzlianizar Ilias, Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Mohd Farid Ahmad and Mohd Iskandar Raduan.

In the Open Supersports Championship, Hafizh’s team-mate at PETRONAS Sprinta Yamaha – Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman is in a strong position to defend his title as he holds an 18-point lead over his closest rival, Mohamad Suhadi Ali Rahmat, who has 123 points.

It had been an amazing season for Azlan Shah, who had managed 141 points and the championship lead despite missing the opening round. Thailand’s top Supersports rider Suhathai Chaermsap is third with 121 points and is the only other rider with more than a century of points.

“Naturally, I am happy to be leading the championship. But, there are still two more races to go and 50 championship points to be won. I am in a good position and I hope everything goes well in the final round,” said Azlan in commenting his prospects in winning a second MSS crown.

In the Superbike Championship, Japan’s Yasuhiro Kuhara would be driven by a record breaking feat at Round 5 after having sealed the overall title and his third Superbike crown at the previous round in October. Having won all the previous four rounds including three double wins in Round 2, 3 and 4, Kuhara, who had been unrivalled on his awesome Honda CBR1000, would be looking for another double win to add to his current total haul of 195 points.

The fight for second place, however, is still open with Abdul Rahim Sidek – now on 128 points – needing to fight off the challenge from his close friend and former MSS Supersports champion, Mohamad Syahnas Shahidan, who has 105 points after four rounds.

Like the Supersports Championship, the battle for the Superstock crown would also go to the wire at the final round between Ahmad Zamani Baharuddin and Remon Azrem Abd. Karim, who have 180 and 160 points respectively.

The final round of the 2010 Malaysian Super Series season will be a combined round of both bike and car championships including the final round of the Classic Car Championship.

Qualifying will be run on Saturday with the two races both contested on Sunday, November 28.

MALAYSIAN SUPER SERIES 2010 (BIKES)

Top Five Leaders after Four Rounds

SUPERSPORTS – OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Azlan Shah Kamaruddin (Yamaha R6) 141 pts

2 Suhadi Ali Rahmat Idemitsu (Honda CBR600) 123

3 Suhathai Chaemsap (Honda CBR600) 121

4 Shaiful Bahari Abdul Rahman (Kawasaki ZX6R) 67

5 Ahmad Fazrul Sham (Honda CBR600) 66

SUPERSPORTS – JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Wilairot Rathaphong (Honda CBR600) 168 pts

2 Apiwat Wongthananon (Honda CBR600) 134

3 Mohd Farid Badrul Hisham (Kawasaki 600) 125

4 Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah (Yamaha R6) 115

5 Muhammad Syafiq Omar (Yamaha R6) 91

SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Yasuhiro Kuhara (Honda CBR1000) 195 pts

2 Abdul Rahim Sidek (Honda CBR1000) 128

3 Syahnas Shahidan (MV Augusta) 105

4 Omar Ali Abdullah (Honda CBR1000) 80

5 Milton Poh Kim Seng (Suzuki SXR1000) 70

SUPERSTOCK CHAMPIONSHIP

1 Ahmad Zamani Baharuddin (Honda CBR1000) 180 pts

2 Remon Azrem Abd. Karim (Honda CBR1000) 160

3 Nasarudin Mat Yusop (Honda CBR1000) 73

4 Faisal Yahya (Honda CBR1000) 68

5 Martin Poh Kim Lim (Ducati 1098) 58

words & pix: SIC

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