SHAH ALAM, 6 DECEMBER 2016 – It’s been two weeks since we concluded the third leg of this year’s championship in the Philippines and we are now gearing up for our fourth and final round that’s set to take place this December 17th and 18th at Stadium Shah Alam, Malaysia. But before that, let’s take a moment to recollect all the action and drama that went down in Round 3.
The venue was the prided recreational sport of Angeles City – Bayanihan Park. The track was rather unorthodox as the “tarmac” section was converted from the park’s basketball and tennis courts while a slippery field of uncut grass played the role of the ‘dirt’ section. The very narrow track was interspersed with sharp corners and grassy dividers. All of this daunted the riders with a very challenging race ahead but they weren’t Asia’s best Supermoto racers without reason, and they took the challenge head on. Hordes of Supermoto fans and curious onlookers flocked in over the weekend to witness the high-paced spectacle.
The riders had their first feel of the track during the practice sessions on Friday. A few crashes were inevitable given the track conditions, but fortunately, none of the riders got hurt. Saturday’s qualifying round saw Andy McLiesh (Australia), Richard Dibben (New Zealand), Mohd. Al-Amirul Ashshahid aka Gaban (Malaysia), Muhd. Habibullah aka Gabit (Malaysia), Mohd Khairi Zakaria (Malaysia) and Yasushi Matsumoto (Japan) clocking in the six fastest lap times. They then progressed into the Super Chrono session to determine their starting grid positions. Taking the pole was McLiesh followed by Dibben, Gaban, Gabit, Matsumoto and Khairi.
Sunday’s Moto 1 saw McLiesh building a huge lead ahead of all the riders while brothers Gaban and Gabit fought tooth and nail for 2nd. Lap 14 almost saw Gaban high-siding and Gabit capitalised on the opportunity to grasp 2nd. Finishing behind him was Gaban followed by Takashi Sasaki (Japan), Matsumoto, and Khairi. An unfortunate freak accident had caused Dibben’s bike to malfunction, thus prompting a heart-wrenching DNS for the Kiwi rider.
McLiesh’s bike had also caught onto one of the sandbags earlier on in Moto 2, dragging it out into the middle of the track which in turn slowed down the riders behind him, thus gaining him a huge lead ahead of the pack. The battle for 2nd place this time was fought between Gabit and Matsumoto. In the end, it was Gabit who came out 2nd when Matsumoto suffered yet another sandbag incident. Despite the setback, the Japanese rider still managed a 3rd place finish. Finishing behind him in 4th was Sasaki, followed by Gaban and Khairi.
Gabit currently leads the overall standings for both the Asian and Open International classes. Will the KTM Malaysia rider finish off this year with two championship trophies or will rivals Mcliesh, Gaban and Khairi cause an upset? Come on down to Stadium Shah Alam this December 17th and 18th to witness this season’s Grand Finale!
FIM Asia Supermoto Championship is organised by Asia Supersports Group, a consortium of three companies namely Bikenation Motorsports Sdn Bhd, CW Media Sdn Bhd and E-Plus Entertainment Productions (M) Sdn Bhd, with international supporters from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Malaysia Major Events, Selangor State Government, Shah Alam City Council, Destination NSW, Tourism Hunter, Newcastle City Council, FIM Asia, Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM), KYT, KTM Malaysia,Premium World Motorsports (PWM) Sdn Bhd, official distributor of Husqvarna in Malaysia, RK South Asia Sdn Bhd and iM4U.