2018 review: how Buriram stole the show in Asia

December 27, 2018 Leave a comment

When it comes to two-wheeled motorsport, no other venue in Asia got close to what Chang International Circuit achieved in 2018. A stellar year for the track, located in rural north-east Thailand, was topped off fittingly when the MotoGP paddock voted the inaugural PTT Thailand Grand Prix as the best of the 19-round championship.

Marc Marquez celebrates victory in Buriram (Image by ARESSP.com)
Chang International President, Nevin Chidchob, as the national anthem plays before the start of the PTT Thailand Grand Prix (Image by ARESSP.com).

MotoGP was such an overwhelming triumph for Buriram – and I mean the whole of Buriram – that it was easy to forget the obstacles and negative comments from the sport’s insiders, as well as armchair critics that the organisers had to overcome and answer. I put this in perspective in an opinion piece I wrote for ARESSP straight after the event and I wouldn’t change a word of it with the benefit of hindsight. Together with the 220,000-plus paying spectators who turned up, Tech 3 boss and International Racing Teams Association (IRTA) President, Herve Poncharel, summed it up perfectly.

“The whole MotoGP paddock was keen to discover how the new Thai GP would be, we were impatient for it to arrive and there was plenty of expectation. In the end we can be assured it was the best GP of the season due to many different aspects – we expected good, but we didn’t know quite what they would be able to achieve.

“Everything went smoothly, the commitment of the organisers was fantastic and they faced any problems through the weekend quickly, trying to find solutions as soon as possible. The crowd, the people…every single person involved was happy and always smiling. The fans’ support was incredible, the access to the circuit was fast and they demonstrated that they understood MotoGP – creating a commercial area close to the paddock, giving good exposure to our businesses, investors, sponsors, teams and riders. It’s also significant that a new event in this area – an important region for MotoGP – has achieved this result. It’s a perfect example for other countries to follow and this prize is fully deserved. From my point of view it will be hard for them to improve!”

The PTT Thailand Grand Prix inevitably sucked all the oxygen from the room, but other international events ran smoothly and provided plenty of dramatic action, beginning with the official MotoGP test in February, which laid many of the foundations for what happened in October. The Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) held its pre-season test and first round just two weeks later and the World Superbike Championship made its fourth visit to Buriram another three weeks after that. ARRC returned for its final round at the beginning of December with a weekend of racing that will remain long in the memories of all who witnessed it (if you missed it, see my round-up for MCNews). The circuit also hosted its own PTT BRIC Superbike series, the Kawasaki Road Racing Championship and more track days than you can shake a stick at. I also understand that there were a fair few four-wheeled events …

While we’re at it, let’s keep in mind that Chang International’s regional competition includes Sepang, Motegi, Suzuka and Phillip Island.

Can it get any better?

It will take something for Chang International to top all that in 2019, but you can be sure that everyone in the organisation will be striving to improve. MotoGP, World Superbike and ARRC will all be back, along with the domestic championships, so it will largely be a case of building on what is already there.

Having been involved with the track during its brief history as an official as well as a journalist, my bet is that they will be looking primarily at how to get more spectators to come to everything that isn’t MotoGP. Crowd numbers have declined for World Superbike and ARRC since the early days, which means that fans have been missing out on some of the best racing on Planet Earth. This is in part a generic issue because of the media dominance of the ‘Big Show’, but one that needs to be addressed together with promoters of the other series.

World Superbike doesn’t have Marquez, Lorenzo, Dovisioso, or that other Italian rider, but it does have Jonathan Rea, Chaz Davies, Alvaro Bautista, Marco Melandri and many more sublimely talented racers. ARRC not only has around 10 riders in each category capable of winning races, but introduces its new ASB 1000 class in 2019.

The start of AP-250 Race 2 in December 2018. Image by ARESSP.

The circuit’s own series enjoys excellent entry numbers, but predictable 1000cc and 600cc races keep potential spectators away. BRIC Superbike would benefit from an injection of competitive entries from Japan, Australia and ARRC, but needs to take on board the superstock-based regulations that govern top level racing among its neighbours to make this a possibility.

There is a culture of excellence at Chang International Circuit that, as Herve Poncharel points out, is a model for others to follow. It is also one that ensures its ongoing success.

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MotoNews Asia – a new name and a new look after breaking new ground in 2018

December 25, 2018 Leave a comment

cropped-Barry-Russell-ARRC-SentulWelcome to MotoNews Asia. This the re-incarnation of my nine-year-old WordPress blog, previously known as Garage 49. It’s a cool name that remains close to my heart, but I do recognise the need for functional labelling in the online world.

I hereby declare that MotoNews Asia will either provide or point to kickass content about motorcycle racing in Asia and the fortunes of Asian motorcycle racers in world championships. It will also feature new launches of machines and equipment and may, from time-to-time, take to the road and do some touring.

I have always believed in Arnold’s Schwarzenneger’s maxim that you should never have a Plan B because it provides a safety net for failure. I simply sign up to Plan A and give it everything I’ve got to make it succeed and accept the injuries that the inevitable failures bring with them. So far I have always recovered and come back stronger in mind and body, applying amendments to the Plan where necessary and launching myself straight back into the fray.

I have found that people are drawn to the integrity of this method and the enthusiasm I have for it. The method, however, has a systemic naivety, because it provides no comfort for people who find it too much of a stretch, or who just want to pick at the shiny bits. It means that they find it difficult to hold on and either say, “I’m sorry, I just can’t do this,” or say nothing and become resentful and try to steal it or sabotage it.” My enthusiasm tends to blind me to leading indicators of disillusionment or dissent, and can result in me getting high-sided over the handlebars of life and into its tyre wall. In the past 25 years it’s happened plenty of times.

“Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.” Will Smith

In 2018 I was lucky to have had my big crash right at the beginning of the season, which gave more than enough time to recover. I am massively indebted to those who helped me to drag myself out of the tyre wall and back onto my feet. It would not be appropriate to name-check them, though I must say that characteristics they all have are high levels of intelligence, self-belief and full-blooded commitments to their own plans. That they chose to rally around me is genuinely humbling. The cause of the crash doesn’t matter, except to the extent that it precipitated significant improvements to my career and life in general.

As the motorcycle racing season progressed, I got increasing amounts of work from three high quality websites as well as occasional work for others and doing PR for a race team. I also got circuit commentary gigs at the ARRC rounds in Australia and India and joined the legendary Dez Corkhill (whom I wilfully cropped out of the photo above) as second TV commentator in Indonesia. I find this aspect of media work almost as exciting as actually racing and therefore something I would like to do more of. I have added a clause to Plan A to cover it.

These experiences, together with the hugely successful inaugural MotoGP round in Buriram, increasing numbers of Asian riders in world championships and ARRC’s forthcoming ASB 1000 class, point clearly to a growing need to cover more of the best of Asian motorcycle racing, so I will be working my ass off to keep my new customers on board for 2019 and beyond.

One thing I know for sure is that I need to take responsibility for my own profile and add value wherever I can for my customers. That is where MotoNews Asia comes in and this blog is the first of three steps being taken to deliver exactly that.

MotoNews Asia will not overlap or clash with content I create for other platforms. It will complement that work by linking to it through news round-ups and may, from time to time, cover news, events and opinions that fall outside of what my customers are looking for.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to one of my most rewarding years ever. You have my unwaivering loyalty going forward and I wish all my friends and family the best of success, love and happiness in the New Year!

Take a deep breath – 5 reasons why you should change your motorcycle’s air filter

It is rare to see a new motorcycle on the road in pure manufacturer’s trim. Big, goofy mirrors, ugly, air dragging number plate carriers and ungainly, weighty exhaust systems often get junked and replaced as soon as the machine is through the dealer’s pre-delivery inspection.

IMG_1914While changing mirrors and tail unit will give a badass boost to a bike’s looks, a sexy, snarling slip-on exhaust is usually the centre piece of initial customisations. Although a clear way through for spent gasses is surely a good thing, power gains are difficult to measure and these days are rarely claimed by after-market exhaust manufacturers. It is, in reality, the sound and the look that can be worth up to a thousand dollars for passionate, attention-seeking bike owners.

Often overlooked in the bling frenzy are the real gains and benefits that can be won from spending less than a hundred dollars on a replacement air filter. Here are the top five reasons that replacing your motorcycle’s air filter is the first modification you should make.

1.  More power

DSC02372This is real, measurable on a dynometer or by lap times and should be something you can feel on a familiar stretch of road.

The reason is simple: the more direct the flow of air into the engine is, the more efficiently the engine will work. Standard paper or foam air filters disrupt the passage of air, get clogged quickly with dust and grime and have manufacturing tolerances that may allow air to leak around the seals, which further disrupts air flow.

Here lies the fundamental problem that premium air filters seek to solve. If maximum power is the only goal, you would simply throw your air filter away and let air flow undisrupted to the engine. The problem with that is that pollution particles, dust and pollen will quickly reduce power output and the life of your unprotected engine.  The power gains from a good replacement air filter come from the smooth path they provide for air to flow to the engine while providing effective filtration.

2.  More effective filtration

On the face of it, you could assume that there is an inverse relationship between good airflow and good filtration: easier airflow will surely allow more harmful particles to get through, won’t it? That holds true for a typical dry paper factory fitted air filter, but most aftermarket filters have different structures and work in ways that are entirely different.

Partol-Red-Motorcycle-Air-Filter-35mm-42mm-48mm-Cleaner-Clamp-on-45-Degree-Bend-Air-IntakeStudies by automotive engineers and quoted by K&N Filters show that most engine wear is caused by particles of between 10 to 20 microns in size. To put that into perspective, a human hair is around 80 microns thick, a red blood cell is 8 microns and the human eye can usually see particles from around 40 microns. Paper or foam filters stop these particles effectively, but in doing so create barriers to airflow. Good aftermarket air filters consist of layers of oiled cotton bonded together with soft aluminium or galvanized steel mesh and work in three main ways.

First, large dirt particles tend to deviate from the flow path and run straight into and stick to the fibres; secondly, particles that travel through the filter with the airstream are caught as they make contact with the fibres and held in place by the ‘sticky’ oil-infused cotton; thirdly, very small particles are thrown around in the turbulence of the airstream, making contact with the fibres and are prevented from flowing through to the engine. The overall result is filtration that is as effective as the blocking action provided by traditional dry paper and filters, while allowing air to flow much more freely into the engine.

3.  Improved fuel efficiency

As we have already said, the more freely air can flow through to the engine, the more efficiently it will operate. The advantages of a replacement air filter become more evident as kilometers are clocked up and more particles become collected. Instead of blocking up a traditional filter, dirt particles move through cotton layers to make room for more dirt to be caught on the outer fibres, which means that a replacement filter can go for much longer without impeding airflow.

4.  No need for replacements

Good aftermarket filters can be cleaned simply with a high pressure air gun or water spray, re-oiled and re-fitted until the next service interval. Traditional filters cannot be cleaned so easily and need to be thrown away at, typically, every second manufacturer’s service.

5.  Better performance at high temperatures

hqdefaultHighly relevant for those of us who ride in hot countries, is how air filters stand up to extreme heat. If you have ever sat at a set of traffic lights in Bangalore, Jakarta or Bangkok, it will not surprise you to know that engine bay temperatures can reach 140 degrees Centigrade, or almost 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You will get a similar effect by riding up a long, steep hill in a cool country. Tests by Devil Evolution show that rubber based filters fail at 100 degrees, soft aluminium will go another 30 degrees, while their own ‘one piece’ Urethane filter will go all the way to 140 degrees. While you may not see the effects from the outside, the structural distortions involved will result in leaks around the seals and drastically reduced engine efficiency and therefore performance and fuel consumption.

There are more advantages the further along the ‘Geek Scale’ you go, such as the functional beauty of a well designed and produced air filter and the fact that it is typically 35 percent lighter than the manufacturer’s standard item. However, the overriding conclusion is that buying a premium replacement air filter for less than 100 dollars will give you more real, measurable benefits than any cosmetic modification costing far more.

Sources:  K&N Filters, Devil Evolution

My ambition continues to outweigh my talent, or why it’s been quiet around here

As we get into 2018 it is time to post about why I haven’t posted here for around three months.

577608_277443195671620_1072439375_nIn October 2017, together with Thailand’s motorcycle racing impresario, Kraitos Wongsawan, it was agreed to re-launch Wroommm!!, which first hit people’s doormats as an independent black and white tabloid in 2011.

Time moves on and technology moves ever faster, so Wroommm!! is now a digital motorsports platform featuring videos and live streaming as well as its trademark punchy articles and images. It remains dual language – Thai and English – though there are no translated articles, because we believe that style cannot be effectively translated and respect the quality and integrity of the work of our contributors. Editorial independence also remains a core value, which makes attracting financial support more challenging, but we believe will lead to true and lasting partnerships with sponsors that buy into our bold approach.

I immediately committed to moving my new content from this treasured 10 year old WordPress blog and again became ‘Editor at Large’ for Wroommm!!

These are exciting times for motorcycle racing in Thailand. The Kingdom has more riders than ever competing in and winning international races. They are coming through a well developed series of national classes and from rider development programmes being run by Honda and Yamaha. This work rarely reaches the headlines, but is by far the most important sector of the sport in any country.

Chip NakarinWhat has grabbed headlines is Thailand joining the MotoGP world championship from this year. This is nothing like Formula 1 rounds in several countries that come and go within a few days, leaving nothing behind for aspiring athletes in the host country. Over the last decade Thailand has had riders in the Grand Prix World Championships, mostly in the intermediate Moto2 category, so it holds huge interest for fans. Currently centre stage is Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, who completed a successful first season in 2017 as one of the most exciting newcomers and who can be expected to reach podium finishing positions during 2018.

MotoGP is also throwing a high-powered spotlight on Chang International Circuit in Buriram. The track has already hosted World Superbikes for the last three seasons, but the ‘Big Show’ will present infrastructural and logistical challenges that have not been experienced before in Thailand.

20525708_1388607781221817_4917047447678895878_nOf course, challenge and opportunity travel together and Wroommm!! finds itself in a unique position as the only credible English language media vehicle for motorcycle racing that is based in Thailand. As growing numbers of international visitors search for information about the sport in Thailand, we intend that Wroommm!! will provide insight that literally no other website or publication on the planet can compete with.

In other words,  Yeahhh!! Our ambition outweighs our talent …

Chaiwichit cleans up for Kawasaki at Thailand Circuit

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

22291316_10156294906477137_8775464533665227281_oThe drama continued in Round 10 of the FMSCT All Thailand Superbike Championship over the weekend. Close qualifying and racing in all classes, threatening weather and international teams converging on Thailand Circuit for the Asia Cup of Road Racing (ACRR) heightened the expectations and added colour to the occasion. It was Round 4 out of 5 for R2M Superbike 2017.

YAMAHA THAILAND’S ANUCHA Nakcharoensri arrived determined to cut the championship points difference between him and Kawasaki Thailand’s Thitipong Warakorn. Fans expecting another close battle between the two protagonists were not disappointed.

Yamaha’s master qualifier put in a special lap during qualifying, recording a 1:19.6, more than six tenths clear of Chaiwichit, who pushed his team mate and championship leader, Thitipong, to the outside of the front row.

22338802_2020546268179383_4486400522828420186_oWhen the red lights went out on Sunday afternoon, it was Anucha who won the dash to Turn 1, emerging in front of Thitipong, with Chaiwichit getting pushed out of early contention, trailing by 3.5 seconds at the end of lap one. The title contenders fought literally toe-to-toe for the first seven laps with Thitipong grabbing the lead on lap 5. As they began lap 8, Anucha slithered inside the Kawasaki into Turn 1, keeping a tight line over the kerb to get the advantage. However, he slid wide at the exit as Thitipong held his line and two clashed and went down side by side. In perfect synchronization, they both leapt up and lifted their bikes, with Thitipong just getting his nose in front as they went into Turn 4. Meanwhile, Chaiwichit, who had been running the same pace a few seconds behind, slipped past and into the lead. Chaiwichit kept his head down for the second half of the race as the championship contenders gave chase. Thitipong slowly put daylight between himself and Anucha, until the last three laps, when the Yamaha rider, who had taken a knock to his left hip in the crash and was struggling to shift gear, dropped back to a deficit of 54 seconds at the chequered flag. He was helped from his bike in Parc Ferme and went straight to the Medical Centre, leaving team manager, Theerapong Sangthong, to collect his third place trophy.

It was a popular win for Chaiwichit, who, in the last few rounds, has shown more consistency over race distance to match his raw speed. Thitipong seemed genuinely happy for his team mate and happy to extend his title advantage by another four points to 226, which is 35 points clear of Anucha with two rounds remaining. Chaiwichit is 30 points behind Anucha, so it would be a brave bet against the finishing order being the same when the curtain falls on the 2017 season in mid-December.

22256791_2071655076193427_3373464995297443972_oSUPERSTOCK 1000 SAW a tense Qualifying battle, which was won again by Ben Fortt on the Laiprang YSS Motul Kawasaki from Apidej Boonsri’s PTT Nuda Kawsaki and Yamaha Thailand’s championship leader, Anon Sangval. There was just 64 thousandths of a second between these three, then a gap of around two seconds to Bodeepak Watcharakajonwong on the Aprilia Thailand RSV4 R Factory, followed by the rookie ST-2 field.

Fortt made the most of his pole position the lead out of Turn 1, looking comfortable in the early laps, though Anon also looked comfortable in second. Apidej was not able to find his qualifying pace and was dropped quickly by the Kawasaki and the Yamaha, though had a comfortable lead over Bodeepak.

Anon pounced on a slight mistake by Fortt to take the lead at mid-distance, though was not initially able to shake him off. From lap 12, however, Fortt, suffering from nausea, slowed and lost touch with the leader, eventually finishing 4.4 seconds behind Anon and 3.3 seconds ahead of Apidej in third, with Bodeepak a further 6.6 seconds back in fourth.

The result gives Anon 225 points from his nine wins and clinches the title, as Fortt lags by 51 points with a maximum of just 50 remaining. Apidej is a further 70 points back in third with 104 points, with Bodeepak fourth on 95.

22289990_10156294906602137_5536877124046039782_oTHE QUESTIONS FOR SUPERSPORT 600 were whether Thai Honda Racing Club’s protégé, Passawit Thitivararak, could get closer to Yamaha Thailand’s 2017 champion-elect Prawat Yannawut and whether he could bring home his CBR600RR cleanly after crashes in the last two rounds.

In Qualifying, Passawit was 1.4 seconds behind Prawat and in the race Prawat executed a familiar strategy, putting in fast early laps on fresh tyres and then managing a lead of around six seconds for the remaining distance. By lap 5 both riders were lapping in the mid 1:23s and Prawat took his R6 across the line with a winning margin of 4.6 seconds.

The next round of the FMSCT All Thailand Superbike Championship will be at Chang International Circuit on 3-5th November.

Categories: Uncategorized

FIM Asia Supermoto 2017 opens in Thailand

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The third season of the FIM Asia Supermoto Championship was launched officially yesterday, with six rounds scheduled between September and the end of the year.

The series is growing quickly. Following a successful inaugural season, numbers of entries, spectators and TV viewers shot up in 2016 and are expected to show a big increase this year, as riders from 14 countries prepare for Round 1, which will be held at Thailand Circuit, Nakhonchaisri on 2nd and 3rd September.

15541628_1376852562334454_8700175395535586807_nSupermoto owes its burgeoning popularity to its hybrid road and dirt circuits, which attract riders and fans from all branches of motorcycle racing, and to its broader appeal as an extreme street sport. As safety concerns arising from the absolute speed of superbikes and Grand Prix machines literally push fans further away from the action, crowds attending supermoto races are able to get close enough to smell tortured tyres and brake pads without putting themselves in danger. The spectacle of motorcycles drifting, jumping and changing surfaces also means that people who know nothing about the sport can enjoy it, which opens it up as an exciting day out for families and groups, which may otherwise have never considered watching motorsport.

In essence Supermoto turns the traditional idea of circuit racing on its head. With some fencing, used tyres and a few truck loads of dirt, a supermoto track can quickly be set up in a city centre car park, thereby bringing the sport to the fans rather than requiring them to travel on clogged up roads to and from out-of-town, purpose built circuits.

Coverage for the new season is also taking big step forward, as promoter, Asia Supersports Group (ASG) partners with OTT* channel provider, twenty3.tv to provide HD live streaming and Video on Demand for every round. In addition, a 30 minute highlights program will also be broadcast on Fox Sports. To cover all bases, a mobile app is also being developed by the Bangkok office of E-Plus Entertainment Productions.

20861993_1624038314282543_7801113664814519974_oThe opening round of the FIM Asia Supermoto Championship will run together with R2M Unleash the Beast, an innovative series for naked bikes, comprising many classes of on and off-road competition, from Gufba Kids mini bikes to the heavyweight R2M Nuke Super Adventure category. Entitled ‘R2M Unleash the Beast, Episode 2: Rock-a-Willy’ the host event will provide its characteristic carnival atmosphere, together with live entertainment, including a rock band, parts and merchandise shopping as well as a wide choice of food and drink throughout the weekend.

*OTT stands for ‘over the top’, which means that the event is broadcast directly over the internet rather than through cable or satellite television systems that control and distribute content.

Points bonanza for home riders in ARRC Round 4 at Sentul

Declaration of Interest: Barry Russell was FIM Asia Jury President for Idemitsu Asia Road Racing Championship Round 4. Opinions expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of FIM Asia

Links are to my articles on the official Asia Road Racing website

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Once again at Sentul for Round 4 of the Idemitsu Asia Road Racing Championship, we were reminded of how difficult the circuit is for visiting riders.

The deteriorating, bumpy track surface and weed-strewn gravel traps are reminders that, despite the packed, raucous grandstands and Indonesia’s huge motorcycle market, investment in the 24 year-old circuit is not considered to be a priority.

Despite it being a shadow of the track that hosted two motorcycle Grand Prix and two World Superbike rounds in the 1990s, Indonesian teams and riders love to race there, because it is so difficult for visitors to achieve a set up that can neutralise their home advantage. Astra Honda is a prime example. With a big national distributorship and a close relationship with HRC, they have been able to retain the best Indonesian riders and get their CBR250RRs and 600RRs as good as these machines can be. Witness Gerry Salim, who took a double Supersport 600 win in the premier Asian series in 2016 and repeated the feat in the Asia Production 250 class last weekend.

Having dominated practice and qualifying, the 20 year-old from Surabaya cruised to victory by a margin of 2.6 seconds in Race 1. By Race 2, his top rivals got closer and he was pushed all the way, but always looked like the inevitable winner. Revealingly, it was team mate, Andi Farid Izdihar who got closest, followed by the wily Tomoyoshi Koyama for Rama Honda and Anuparb Sarmoon, the only Yamaha rider to threaten the podium in Sunday’s race. The Thai rider rode the wheels off his R25, working visibly much harder than the three Hondas to stay with the front group.

In Supersport 600, Malaysian Zaqwan Zaidi threw down a serious challenge to the home riders, comfortably outpacing the rest in all practice and qualifying sessions. In the races it was a different story, however. In Race 1 he made a lacklustre start before coming through to challenge for a podium spot, narrowly missing out on third place to Japan’s Taiga Hada, with Ahmad Yudhistira and the winner, Dimas Ekky Pratama, ahead of the Japanese by just one tenth of a second. Dimas was Astra Honda’s replacement Supersport rider. In Race 2 Zaqwan scampered away from the lights only to crash heavily on lap 2 at Turn 10, which caused the red flag to come out. As the last rider came into pit lane, the heavens opened, delaying the restart for 10 minutes and enabling the Thai Yamahas of Decha Kraisart and Chalermpol Polamai to sandwich Yudhistira in the first three positions.

With honours up for grabs in eight races, or two for each of the four classes, Indonesian riders took five wins, which covered all classes, while Thai riders took two wins, one in Supersport 600 and the other in the Suzuki Asian Challenge and Malaysia took one win in Underbone Race 1.

Looking at the podium scores, Indonesians took 13 of the 24 places available. Thailand was next with four podiums, then Malaysia with three, ahead of Japan, which also had three, but no win, and Philippines, which had one.

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Punchana Kulrojchalalai, ARRC Round 4’s most successful visiting rider

The most successful rider of the weekend was Astra Honda’s Gerry Salim with his two AP250 wins, followed by Thailand’s Punchana Kulrojchalalai with a win and a second place in the Suzuki Asian Challenge and Ahmad Yudhistira who took two Supersport 600 second places for Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki. These three were the only riders to appear on the podium twice.

Several of the most successful non-Indonesian riders told me that they had to work harder than usual to bring in the points they achieved because of the difficulties of finding a set up that works for the fast, bumpy circuit. While motorsport fans and international teams long for a facelift for Sentul, it suits Indonesian competitors just fine, handing them an annual points boost as they move into the second half of the season.