Eighteen-year old Hilmi Affan Abdul Malek overcame the challenge from his brother Husni Aizat and 17 other riders to pen himself as the first winner of the new SIC Ninja 250 Cup, which ran its first race today at the second round of the Malaysian Super Series at Sepang Circuit.
Starting from fourth on the grid, Hilmi produced a consistent performance to complete the eight-lap contest in 22 minutes 34 seconds; finishing 8.6 seconds ahead of second-placed and pole sitter Has Fauzan Hassan. Husni, who is the younger of the sibling, completed the podium.
Muhammad Muzakkir Mohamed, a security assistant who was fastest in free practice yesterday, crashed out on Lap 6 when he was in second place. He was second in qualifying this morning; clocking a time of 2 minutes 48 seconds, which was merely 0.070 seconds off Has Fauzan’s lap time at 2 minutes 48.259 seconds.
Race 2 would be held tomorrow; and Hilmi had declared his intention to go all out for a second win; though he would need to disappoint his brother again as Husni had also set an identical target of winning tomorrow’s race to boost his chances of securing the Moto3 wildcard ride.
Launched last Sunday, the SIC Ninja 250 Cup is another effort by Sepang International Circuit (SIC) to search for talents for selection to compete at against the world’s best Moto3 riders at the 2013 Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang as wildcard riders.
Operated by BikeArt Racing, the series is supported by Motorsports Association of Malaysia, Kawasaki, AGV Helmets and Dainese, which provided the racing suits for the riders.
Commenting on his victory, Hilmi said that he was happy to win and would work harder tomorrow to repeat today’s achievement.
“My biggest problem is the final turn … I am still not confident enough in taking the corner. I think I’m overly cautious every time we come to the final turn,” Hilmi said in reference to the tight Turn 15. Hilmi’s fear for Turn 15 was shared by his brother, who also described the turn as difficult and very challenging.
Unlike Hilmi and Husni, Has Fauzan was more concerned about the tight Turn 9, which has a sharp turn before a steep climb to Turn 10.
“I was also affected by the high number of crashes … so, I did not push and just maintain position to finish second,” he said, adding that he aimed to improve tomorrow and go for the win.
Crashing out at Turn 9, Muzakkir said he made a mistake of entering the Turn too fast.
“I was in second place and there was only two more laps to go … I guess I was pushing too hard and crash,” said Muzakkir, whose biggest fear now was the condition of his Kawasaki Ninja 250 machine.
“Hopefully, they can do back the bike in time for tomorrow’s race … I really, really want to race tomorrow and make amends for today,” said the 20-year old security officer, who is competing in a race for the first time in his life today.
In the Superbike Championship, overall leader and double winner for Round 1 Mohamad Syahnas Shahidan scored his third win in a row to enhance his position at the top of the championship standings with 75 points.
Three-times champion Yasuhiro Kuhara put up a gallant show to finish second; recovering from his crash in qualifying this morning, though unable to match the speed of Syahnas. Luca Cassoni took third place.
Riding a Honda CBR1000 and representing Iktikad Raya Racing Team, Syahnas took 22 minutes 55.367 seconds to complete the 10-lap contest; finishing 15.830 seconds ahead of Kuhara, who was also on a Honda CBR1000 machine.
The opening race for the Superstock Championship was topped by two-time champion Ahmad Zamani Baharuddin. Riding his Kawasaki ZX10R, Zamani was virtually unchallenged; finishing 25.344 seconds ahead of second-placed Suhadi Ali Rahmat. Hasnurizal Nursastra completed the podium.
The Supersports race was won by Malaysian Moto 2 wildcard rider, Muhamad Zamri Baba of Team HL Yamaha. Riding a Yamaha R6, Zamri defeated former MSS Supersports champion Ahmad Fuad Baharuddin, who found no answer to Zamri’s Yamaha R6 speed. Fuad’s brother and team-mate at BikeArt Racing, Ahmad Nashrul took third place.
Race 2 for all bike competitions will be held tomorrow. Entrance is free for spectators to enjoy the race from the Main Grandstand.
MALAYSIAN SUPER SERIES – RACE 1
Race 1 – Sepang Circuit (5.543km)
SIC Ninja Cup (Junior) (8 laps)
1. Hilmi Affan Abdul Malik (Kawasaki Ninja) 22:34.136s
2. Has Fauzan Hassan (Kawasaki Ninja) 22:42.736s
3. Husni Aizat Abdul Malik (Kawasaki Ninja) 22:42.784s
SIC Ninja Cup (Open) (8 laps)
1. Abd Wafi Hassan (Kawasaki Ninja) 22:48.446s
2. Muhammad Fazli Mansuar (Kawasaki Ninja) 22:49.572s
3. Mohamad Radzi Saidin (Kawasaki Ninja) 23:04.404s
Superbike Championship (Open) – 10 laps
1.Mohamad Syahnas Shahidan (Honda CBR1000) 22:55.367s
2. Yasuhiro Kuhara (Honda CBR1000) 23:11.197s
3. Luca Cassoni (Honda CBR1000) 23:44.321s
Superbike Championship (Novice) – 10 laps
1.Akarakit Worarojcharoedet (BMWS1000RR) 23:30.710s
2. Centero Oliver Castillo 23:47.435s
3. Christopher Aprile (Honda CBR1000) 23:47.435s
Superstock Championship (Open) – 10 laps
1.Ahmad Zamani Baharuddin (Kawasaki ZX10R) 22:56.101s
2. Suhadi Ali Rahmat (KTM RSV4) 23:21.354s
3. Hasnurizal Nursastra (Honda CBR1000RR) 23:21.712s
Superstock Championship (Novice) – 10 laps
1.Enis Boughanmi (Honda CBR1000) 23:42.699s
2. Mah Kin Wai (Honda CBR1000) 23:46.333s
3. Nik Mohd Izrar (Honda CBR1000) 23:49.789s
Supersports Championship (Open) - 10 laps
1.Muhamad Zamri Baba (Yamaha R6) 22:45.231s
2. Ahmad Fuad Baharuddin (Kawasaki ZX6R) 22:51.208s
3. Ahmad Nashrul Baharuddin (Kawasaki ZX6R) 23.02.898s
Supersports Championship (Novice) – 10 laps
1. Shaiful Bahari Abdul Rahman (Kawasaki ZX6R) 23:41.989s
2. Michael J. Meusel (Honda CBR600) 23:42.308s
3. Nils Uchida (Kawasaki ZX6R) 23:46.301s