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Anthony West took the ARRC SuperSport double win at Suzuka
Asia Production 250cc, Underbone 150cc & Suzuki Asian Challenge Race Reports

Images by TWMR Photo


Supersport 600 Race 1

Australian GP rider Anthony West won the SuperSports 600cc Race 1 at the Suzuka Circuit, host to the third leg of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.

SuperSport 600 Race 1
SuperSport 600 Race 1

After a dramatic morning of qualifying practices, the 600cc race finally took off with wildcard rider Ikuhiro Enokido as pole sitter. Malaysian ace, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman injured himself during the qualifying session but still made it to the grid with a heavily bandaged hand.

Azlan sped to the holeshot at the start of the 600cc race, but soon lost his position as the pain from his injury hampered his performance. Yamaha Racing’s Yuki Ito stole most of the limelight as he led the 19-rider grid for 10 straight laps.

Anthony West leads Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
Anthony West leads Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman

Behind Ito, West clawed his way up to the leading group, eventually putting his yellow Akeno bike right on Ito’s tail. The Australian made a decisive move on Lap 11 and led a train of four to the chequered flag with a time of 28’56.056s.

Yuki Ito finished second with 28’56.140s while Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi claimed the final spot on the podium with 28’57.346s.

Azlan still managed a creditable fourth place finishing, and extends his championship lead with 96 points. Zaqhwan ranked second after Race 1 with 70 points followed by Taiga Hada third with 65 points.

Chalermpol Polaimai, Yuki Ito, Anthony West
Chalermpol Polaimai, Yuki Ito, Anthony West

Further down the field, poleman Enokido finally ended the race in fifth place. The remaining five places in the top ten were taken up by the home Japanese riders with Taiga Hada in sixth; Noriyuki Haga in seventh after popping up to second for a short while at the start of the race; Yukio Kagayama eighth, Tatsuya Yamaguchi ninth and Keisuke Maeda tenth.

Yamaha Thailand Racing’s Chalermpol Polamai was on course for a podium position until an unfortunate last-lap incident with Ratthapong Wilairot sent him sprawling into the gravel. Ratthapong was disqualified for having caused the accident.

SuperSport 600 Podium – Race 1 – Ito, West, Zaqhwan Zaidi
Supersport 600 Race 1 Results
  1. Anthony West – AUS
  2. Yuki Ito – JPN
  3. Md Zaqhwan Zaidi – MAS
  4. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman – MAS
  5. Ikuhiro Enokido – JPN
  6. Taiga Hada – JPN
  7. Noriyuki Haga – JPN
  8. Yukio Kagayama – JPN
  9. Tatsuya Yamaguchi – JPN
  10. Keisuke Maeda – JPN
  11. Teppei Nagoe – JPN
  12. Sena Yamada – JPN
  13. Ayumu Tanaka – JPN
  14. Shankar Sarath Kumar – IND
  15. Lin Chia Hao – TPE

Supersport 600 Race 2
Anthony West leading the SuperSport 600 field
Anthony West leading the SuperSport 600 field

A controversial second round in Thailand behind him, Australian rider Anthony West made a strong comeback into the SuperSports 600cc class of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship when he bagged a double win at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

The Akeno Speed rider put in a smart performance throughout the 13-lap race. A slow start placed him squarely in the middle of the chasing swarm but the experienced rider took his time as he picked one competitor off after another. The race pace heated up on Lap 4 when West arrived at the sharp end of the pack.

Anthony West chasing down Yuki Ito
Anthony West chasing down Yuki Ito

The lead changed hands several times but on Lap 11, West was able to create a small gap at the front while Japanese compatriots Yuki Ito and Taiga Hada were engrossed with fighting for P2. The Australian rider finally crossed the finish line with a time of 28’56.621s to clinch a double victory at the Suzuka Circuit. 

Anthony West

“Double win! Thanks to Akeno Speed team. The bike run well all weekend. It’s a great feeling to know a private team like ours still has a chance at winning races against the factory teams in this championship. The biggest surprise for me was to see Yukio Kagayama up on the podium at 43 years old and still fast. Gives me hope that I still have many years of racing left in me.”

Anthony West and Yuki Ito
Anthony West and Yuki Ito

Yamaha Racing’s Yuki Ito had been strong throughout the Suzuka weekend, consistently making it to the front end of the timesheets. However, Ito was unable to hold back West’s progress in both races, and eventually settled for a double podium in second place with 28’56.985s.

However, it was Yukio Kagayama who really stole the limelight in the second race. He entered as a wildcard entry, but none of the riders had ever discounted his abilities to score big. In Race 2, Kagayama lived up to his top billings with a stunning performance that saw him go from 10th on the grid to third at the flag.

Kagayama popped up among the top five on Lap 9. His superior experience and race craft was clearly evident as he finessed his way around the difficult Suzuka Circuit.

Yuki Ito, Anthony West, Chalermpol Polaimai
Yuki Ito, Anthony West, Chalermpol Polaimai

While Ito and young Japanese rider Taiga Hada tried to put up a spirited defense, Kagayama outwitted the younger riders at the last chicane when he nipped into third place and raced to the chequered flag with a time of 28’57.588s.

Taiga Hada was relegated to fourth, followed by Chalermpol Polamai in fifth. Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi finished sixth, one spot ahead of polesitter Ikuhiro Enokido. AP Honda Racing duo Tatsuya Yamaguchi and Ratthapong Wilairot occupied eighth and ninth spots respectively.

Anthony West
Anthony West

Meanwhile, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman whose performance clearly suffered due to his injured hand, finished 10th, enough to keep him at the top of the championship standings with a total of 102 points. Yuki Ito climbed to second overall position with 83 points followed by MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda’s Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi third with 80 points.

Team Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki Racing continues to hold down the fort at the top of the team standings with 102 points. Title defenders MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda is now ranked second with 88 points and team RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10 third with 84 points.

Anthony West on the podium
Anthony West on the podium
Supersport 600 Race 2 Results
  1. Anthony West – AUS
  2. Yuki Ito – JPN
  3. Yukio Kagayama – JPN
  4. Taiga Hada – JPN
  5. Chalermpol Polaimai – THA
  6. Md Zaqhwan Zaidi – MAS
  7. Ikuhiro Enokido – JPN
  8. Tatsuya Yamaguchi – JPN
  9. Ratthapong Wilairot – THA
  10. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman – MAS
  11. Keisuke Maeda – JPN
  12. Noriyuki Haga – JPN
  13. Ahmad Yudhistira – INA
  14. Keminth Kubo – THA
  15. Sena Yamada – JPN
  16. Ayumu Tanaka – JPN
  17. Shankar Sarath Kumar – IND
  18. Lin Chia Hao – TPE
Anthony West on the podium
Anthony West on the podium
ARRC SuperSport 600 Championship standings – Top 10
  1. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman – MAS – 102
  2. Yuki Ito – JPN – 83
  3. Md Zaqhwan Zaidi – MAS – 80
  4. Taiga Hada – JPN – 78
  5. Ahmad Yudhistira – INA – 54
  6. Anthony West – AUS – 50
  7. Chalermpol Polaimai – THA – 50
  8. Tatsuya Yamaguchi – JPN – 45
  9. Irfan Ardiansyah. – INA – 35
  10. Ratthapong Wilairot – THA – 35
    …21 Aaron Morris – AUS – 7

Asia Production 250cc Race 1

The frustrations of sitting out Race 2 at Buriram behind him, Indonesian rider Gerry Salim came back in a big way with an uncontested win at Race 1 of Round 3 in Suzuka. The Astra Honda Racing rider was the star of a dramatic qualifying when he clinched the pole position at the very last minutes of the session.

Gerry Salim in the lead
Gerry Salim in the lead

Starting from pole position, Gerry easily captured the holeshot and went on to lead the 8-lap race. The first five laps were particularly intense as Gerry fought off persistent attacks from Takehiro Yamamoto and Tomoyoshi Koyama. The young Indonesian tried to pull away on Lap 5 but was soon reeled back in again.

The battle continued neck-to-neck up to the chequered flag. Gerry bagged his fourth win of the season with 20’01.909s and was escorted up the podium by Yamamoto in second place with 20’01.978s and Tomoyoshi Koyama third with 20’02.415s.

Gerry’s team mate, Rheza Danica Ahrens again lived up to his top billings by finishing fourth. Racing astride the new model CBR250RR, AP Honda Racing Thailand’s Muklada Sarapuech completed the Suzuka race in fifth place.

Gerry Salim took the Race 1 win
Gerry Salim took the Race 1 win

Andy Muhammad Fadly astride the sole factory Kawasaki on the 250cc grid finished sixth ahead of Vorapong Malahuan, Soichiro Minamimoto, Rey Ratukore and Ashin Sanjaya who completed the top ten.

Gerry now holds 100 points at the top of the standings. Yamamoto was second with 94 points and Rheza Danica Ahrens third overall with 73 points.

Asia Production 250cc Race 1 Results – Top 15
  1. Gerry Salim – INA
  2. Takehiro Yamamoto – JPN
  3. Tomoyoshi Koyama – JPN
  4. Rheza Danica Ahrens – INA
  5. Muklada Sarapuech – THA
  6. Andy Muhammad Fadly – INA
  7. Vorapong Malahuan – THA
  8. Soichiro Minamimoto – JPN
  9. Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore – INA
  10. Awhin Sanjaya – INA
  11. Ahmad Afif Amran – MAS
  12. Galang Hendra Pratama – INA
  13. Naoaki Kubo – JPN
  14. Shota Ite – JPN
  15. Yusuke Nakamura – JPN

Asia Production 250cc Race 2

Gerry Salim’s decision to stay focused on his title chase in the Asia Production 250cc class paid off in a big way at Round 3 in the Suzuka Circuit. After a convincing win in Round 1, Gerry followed up with a double victory to cap off a successful weekend.

Gerry Salim in the lead
Gerry Salim in the lead

Race 2 of the Asia Production 250cc class sped off with Gerry in the holeshot. This time, Takehiro Yamamoto made an early bid for the lead. This time, there was no waiting around for the final lap. Gerry and Yamamoto went at it tongs and hammers fighting for the lead at every single corner.

On Lap 4, Rheza Danica Ahrens, team mate of Gerry Salim, snuck into the fray and turned the fight into a three-way battle. Behind the group, Yamaha Thailand’s Anupab Sarmoon rode the wheels off his R25 trying to keep pace with the speedier Hondas.

The battle went right down to the wire with five riders neck-to-neck at the final chicane. Rheza out-braked himself and crashed heavily at the last corner, inadvertently taking out Yamamoto with him.

A very happy Gerry Salim, having taken his second win of the weekend at Suzuka
A very happy Gerry Salim, having taken his second win of the weekend at Suzuka

Gerry gunned the throttle to his second double victory with a time of 19’58.335s, 0.709s ahead of the rest of the field. With Yamamoto and Rheza out of the picture, Anupab Sarmoon celebrated his fifth podium finish of the season in second place with 19’59.044s. Team RAMA Honda’s Tomoyoshi Koyama finished third with 19’59.074s.

After Round 3, Gerry has successfully extended his lead at the top of the standings, holding 125 points against Takehiro Yamamoto who is second overall with 105 points. Anupab Sarmoon, who has been consistent throughout the first half of the 2017 season, is third overall with 92 points.

Gerry’s win also translated to continued domination for team Astra Honda Racing. The Indonesian factory race outfit leads the team title chase with 145 points. Team Sidrap Honda Ikazuchi is second with 105 points and Yamaha Thailand Racing third with 92 points.

Asia Production 250cc Race 2 Result – Top 15
  1. Gerry Salim – INA
  2. Anupab Sarmoon – THA
  3. Tomoyoshi Koyama – JPN
  4. Galang Hendra Pratama – INA
  5. Takehiro Yamamoto – JPN
  6. Awhin Sanjaya – INA
  7. Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore – INA
  8. Muklada Sarapuech – THA
  9. Ahmad Afif Amran – MAS
  10. Peerapong Boonlert – THA
  11. Imanuel Putra Pratna – INA
  12. Soichiro Minamimoto – JPN
  13. Yusuke Nakamura – JPN
  14. Rei Toshima – JPN
  15. Rheza Danica Ahrens – INA
Asia Production 250cc Championship Standings – Top 10
  1. Gerry Salim – INA – 125
  2. Takehiro Yamamoto – JPN – 105
  3. Anupab Sarmoon – THA – 92
  4. Rheza Danica Ahrens – INA – 74
  5. Tomoyoshi Koyama – JPN – 73
  6. Awhin Sanjaya – INA – 59
  7. Galang Hendra Pratama – INA – 48
  8. Peerapong Luiboonpeng – THA – 34
  9. Andy Muhammad Fadly – INA – 33
  10. Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore – INA – 30

Underbone 150cc Race 1

Yamaha Racing Indonesia’s Wahyu Aji Trilaksana seems unstoppable now that he has found his rhythm. Qualifying for pole position with a full second ahead of his closest competitors, Wahyu looked like a shoo-in for the top spot of the podium in Race 1.

Wahyu Aji Trilaksana
Wahyu Aji Trilaksana

The Indonesian rider rocketed off to a strong start with Malaysian riders Mohd Akid Aziz and Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam hot on his tail. The more experienced Wahyu allowed Fakhrusy to overtake on Lap 2, only to watch as the SCK rider dive in too deep at the chicane and crash out of the race.

Akid Aziz took a turn at the front on Lap 3 before Wahyu reclaimed his position. Wahyu grabbed his second back-to-back victory with a time of 16’05.294s. Malaysian team mates Mohd Akid Aziz and Mohd Haziq Mohd Fairues of team UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor picked up second and third places respectively.

Anggi Setiawan and Mohd Adib Rosley completed the top five. 

Wahyu, the defending champion in the Underbone category, has narrowed the gap against Akid on the championship ladder. The Malaysian rider still leads with 85 points but Wahyu is now only 15 points shy, with 70 points in the bag. Mohd Izzat Zaidi is third overall with 61 points.

Underbone 150cc Race 1 Results
  1. Wahyu Aji Trilaksana – INA
  2. Md. Akid Aziz – MAS
  3. Md Haziq Md Fairues – MAS
  4. Anggi Setiawan – INA
  5. Md. Adib Rosley – MAS
  6. Md. Izzat Zaidi – MAS
  7. Md Muzakkir Mohamed – MAS
  8. Md Amirul Ariff Musa – MAS
  9. Md. Hafieenaz Md Ali – MAS
  10. Sasitharen Sukumaran – MAS
  11. Md. Khairul Ikhwan Ajis – MAS
  12. Shafiq Rosli – MAS
  13. Cao Viet Nam – VIE

Underbone 150cc Race 2

Malaysian duo Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam and Mohd Muzakkir Mohamed triumphed in a dramatic Underbone 150cc Race 2, bringing home a much needed boost for team SCK Rapido Hi-Rev Honda Racing.

The 6-lap Underbone 150cc race got off with championship leader Wahyu Aji Trilaksana at the helm. The Indonesian Yamaha rider raced at a conservative pace in the first part of the race. With an extra second in his pocket, Wahyu could afford to pace himself while his chief rival Mohd Akid Aziz tried desperately to gain the upper hand.

On Lap 3, Wahyu made an attempt to break away, but was quickly reeled back in by the charging horde. At the last lap, Akid had the reins in his hands, while Wahyu found himself sandwiched between the two SCK riders.

Race 2 winners Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam, Md Muzakkir Mohamed
Race 2 winners Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam, Md Muzakkir Mohamed

As the swarm flew down the back straight, Wahyu pushed beyond his limits in an effort to gain some leverage at the final chicane. Unfortunately, Wahyu was unable to fully control his bike and crashed heavily at the entrance of the chicane, taking Akid Aziz out with him.

Fakhrusy and Muzakkir narrowly avoided the same catastrophe. Fakhrusy had almost lost control, but made an impressive save and continued racing towards the finish line in first place with 16’03.866s. Muzakkir scored his first ARRC podium in second place with 16’03.940s and Mohd Haziq Mohd Fairues completed the all-Malaysian podium in third place with 16’04.649s.

Both Wahyu and Akid were able to get back on their bikes in time to finish within the top 10. Akid finished eighth, and earned enough points to stay at the head of the title hunt with 93 points. The unfortunate Wahyu finished the race in seventh but is still second on the standings with 79 points. Haziq is third with 73 points.

Underbone 150cc Race 2 Results
  1. Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam – MAS
  2. Md Muzakkir Mohamed – MAS
  3. Md Haziq Md Fairues – MAS
  4. Md Amirul Ariff Musa – MAS
  5. Md. Izzat Zaidi – MAS
  6. Md. Adib Rosley – MAS
  7. Wahyu Aji Trilaksana – INA
  8. Md. Akid Aziz – MAS
  9. Md. Hafieenaz Md Ali – MAS
  10. Sasitharen Sukumaran – MAS
  11. Shafiq Rosli – MAS
  12. Md. Helmi Azman – MAS
  13. Cao Viet Nam – VIE
Underbone 150cc Championship standings – Top 10
  1. Md Akid Aziz – MAS – 93
  2. Wahyu Aji Trilaksana – INA – 79
  3. Md Haziq Md Fairues – MAS – 73
  4. Md Izzat Zaidi – MAS – 72
  5. Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam – MAS – 68
  6. Md Muzakkir Mohamed – MAS – 60
  7. Md Helmi Azman – MAS – 51
  8. Anggi Setiawan – INA – 49
  9. Md Hafieenaz Md Ali – MAS – 46
  10. Md Amirul Ariff Musa – MAS – 38

Suzuki Asian Challenge

The third round of the 2017 Suzuki Asian Challenge (SAC) kicked-off at Suzuka Circuit in Mie, Japan, the home circuit of SAC General Manager, Yukio Kagayama, many of the official sponsors; and Suzuki Motor Corporation who has put this single-platform series into place.

Edward Faulkhead took a strong seventh in Race 1 but saw a DNF result in Race 2, leaving him in 12th overall.

Edward Faulkhead
Edward Faulkhead among the SAC field

Pole-setter Punchana Kulrojchalalai scored a double victory in the Suzuki Asian Challenge third round at Suzuka International Circuit; the Thai rider’s first victories of the season.

Blue skies once again blessed the riders on the final day at the 5.821km Suzuka Circuit. This was the first time this season where both SAC races were held on Sunday in Suzuki’s rider-development, single-platform series, using the brand-new Suzuki GSX-R150.

Edward Faulkhead
Edward Faulkhead

After all the young riders made their final adjustments to their GSX-R150s in the warm-up session, pole sitter #78 Kulrojchalalai led the start of the opening six-lap race, followed by #76 Chepy Armansyah Suryadi (Indonesia).

Everyone expected the whole field to be battling for the win until the final lap, but instead, Kulrojchalalai – and guest rider, #83 Takeru Murase (Japan) – pulled-away for a one-on-one battle. With several lead changes, the exciting race went on until the chequered flag, with Kulrojchalalai winning his first race of the season.

The second race saw a similar start, where Kulrojchalalai took the lead with, but this time the fight for victory continued until the final lap. Although there were a few fallers during the race, 10 riders ran in the top-group, with the lead changing several times in each lap. But it was Kulrojchalalai who would take the win, and with this a perfect weekend, dominating every session of the weekend at the infamous Japanese circuit.

Suzuki Asian Challenge Race 1
Suzuki Asian Challenge Race 1

The penultimate round of SAC takes place in Indonesia, at Sentul International Circuit, on August 11-13th.

Punchana Kulrojchalalai

“The SAC riders have been racing together for two rounds now, and we are all improving each session. I feel that it is difficult to pull away from the pack, so I concentrated on checking the other riders throughout the weekend, and tried to figure-out where I had the advantage. My strategy in Race 1 was to take the lead from the beginning and pull away, and was successful in doing that, but was not able to do that in Race 2. I am sure everyone will be racing harder to win the remaining rounds. I plan to review how I am riding and try to win again in the remainder of the season.”

Suzuki Asian Challenge Race 1 Results
  1. Punchana Kulrojchalalai – THA
  2. Takeru Murase – JPN
  3. Ahmad Saugi Muchtar – INA
  4. Aaron Gunawardena – SRI
  5. Nur Al Fath Sam Ahmad – INA
  6. Tetsuya Fujita – JPN
  7. Edward Faulkhead – AUS
  8. April King H. Mascardo – PHI
  9. K.Y Ahamed – IND
  10. Chepy Armansyah – INA
  11. Mario Borbon U. Jr. – PHI
  12. Eane Jaye S. Sobretodo – PHI
  13. Bikram Thapa – NEP
Suzuki Asian Challenge Podium
Suzuki Asian Challenge Podium
Suzuki Asian Challenge Race 2 Results
  1. Punchana Kulrojchalalai – THA
  2. Ahmad Saugi Muchtar – INA
  3. Nur Al Fath Sam Ahmad – INA
  4. Eane Jaye S. Sobretodo – PHI
  5. Aaron Gunawardena – SRI
  6. Tetsuya Fujita – JPN
  7. Chepy Armansyah – INA
  8. Mario Borbon U. Jr. – PHI
  9. Takeru Murase – JPN
  10. Bikram Thapa – NEP
  11. Prahbu Arunagiri – IND
Edward Faulkhead now sits 12th in the standings with 25 points
Edward Faulkhead now sits 12th in the standings with 25 points
Suzuki Asian Challenge Championship Standings
  1. Punchana Kulrojchalalai – THA – 94
  2. Nur Al Fath Sam Ahmad – INA – 85
  3. Ahmad Saugi Muchtar – INA – 82
  4. Tetsuya Fujita – JPN – 77
  5. April King H. Mascardo – PHI – 76
  6. Aaron Gunawardena – SRI – 72
  7. Mario U. Borbon Jr. – PHI – 55
  8. Chepy Armansyah – INA – 44
  9. Prabhu Arunagiri – IND – 37
  10. Eane Jaye S. Sobretodo – PHI – 35
  11. Takeru Murase – JPN – 27
  12. Edward Faulkhead – AUS – 25
  13. K. Y. Ahamed – IND – 25
  14. Patis Chooprathet – THA – 21
  15. Bikram Thapa – NEP – 20
  16. Mohamad Arfyq Hillman – MAS – 16
  17. Muhammad Zulhilmi – MA – 6