Anthony West retains title advantage after sitting out Sentul
Travis Hall goes 18-DNF in Underbone 150s
By Barry Russell
Despite being sidelined for Round 5 of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) due to the provisional suspension of his racing licence, Anthony West retains a healthy 34-point championship lead ahead of the final round over the first weekend in December.
West’s racing licence was provisionally suspended following an “adverse analytical finding” in an anti-doping test at the Misano World Supersport round in early July. He is campaigning for a prompt end to the uncertainty that the FIM’s slow handling of the case has caused.
The Queenslander travelled to Sentul Circuit, just south of Jakarta, Indonesia to support the Webike IKAZUCHI team, which this time fielded South African WSS star Sheridan Morais and New Zealander Liam Taylor MacDonald, as Patrick Li was competing in the final ASBK round at Phillip Island.
West began the weekend with a 51 point lead over 2017 champion, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, so his absence handed the Malaysian a golden opportunity to shrink his deficit in the standings.
However, an ignition problem in Race 1 in which he finished eighth and a seventh place in Race 2 gave Azlan a total haul of just 17 points, so he has a
total of 102, to the Australian’s 136.
Yuki Ito, who began the weekend third in the standings, was under doctor’s orders to not to compete after an Arai mangling crash at Turn 2, Sentul’s fast left hander, left the Japanese more than a little dazed.
The challenges of the 25-year-old circuit’s surface gives a huge advantage to local riders, who know far better than annual visitors how to get a decent machine set up and how best to navigate its patched up 3.965 kilometres.
As in previous years, it was riders from Indonesia’s powerful Honda franchisee, Astra Honda, who dominated the 600 and 250 classes that it contests, winning all four races over Saturday and Sunday.
Andi Farid Izdihar converted the flashes of brilliance he has shown this season into a statistically perfect pole position and double win.
The 21-year-old had to fight off robust challenges throughout the weekend from Azlan’s Indonesian Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki team-mate, Ahmad Yudhistira, who qualified second and led most of both races before succumbing to tyre wear and persistent attacks from Farid.
In Race 1 the pair were separated by 29 thousandths of a second, while eight seconds back, MUSASHI Boon Siew Honda’s Zaqwan Zaidi triumphed over Farid’s teenage team-mate, Irfan Ardiansyah for third.
In Race 2 Farid managed to get past and clear of Yudhistira with three laps remaining, while Yamaha Thailand’s Ratthapong Wilairot, who had taken fifth in Race 1, held off Zaqwan for the final spot on the podium.
It was plucky stuff from the Thai, who had wrecked his R6 on Friday morning at Turn 2 and had to have his left shoulder popped back in while the team built him a new bike.
Webike IKAZUCHi’s Morais and Taylor MacDonald got a classic ‘Welcome to ARRC’. Both riders got their heads down, qualifying 14th and 19th and reversing the order in Race 1 to finish 14th and 17th.
In Race 2 Morais was finding his way around and finished 12th, while the New Zealander crashed on lap 3 and got two fingers on his left hand chewed
up when they got dragged along under the bike.
While the top two in the standings remain the same, there are now five riders with a mathematical chance of taking the 2018 title from West in the final round at Buriram.
Supersport 600 Race 1
- Andi Farid Izdihar INA 24:17.288
- Ahmad Yudhistira INA +0.029
- Md Zaqhwan Zaidi MAS +8.773
- Irfan Ardiansyah INA +8.891
- Ratthapong Wilairot THA +12.941
- Taiga Hada JPN +14.620
- Tomoyoshi Koyama JPN +14.672
- Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman MAS +15.141
- Azroy Hakeem Anuar MAS +21.882
- Keisuke Kurihara JPN +26.836
…14. Liam Taylor MacDonald NZL +52.535
Supersport 600 Race 2
- Andi Farid Izdihar INA 24:18.014
- Ahmad Yudhistira INA +3.186
- Ratthapong Wilairot THA +5.281
- Md Zaqhwan Zaidi MAS +5.501
- Irfan Ardiansyah INA +9.231
- Decha Kraisart THA +9.530
- Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman MAS +9.896
- Tomoyoshi Koyama JPN +9.996
- Keminth Kubo THA +13.046
- Taiga Hada JPN +13.252
…DNF. Liam Taylor MacDonald NZL
Supersport 600 standings following Round 5
- Anthony West 136
- Azlan Shah 102
- Andi Farid Izdihar 99
- Ahmad Yudhistira 99
- Zaqwan Zaidi 94
- Ratthapong Wilairot 91
Asia Production 250
By taking a first and a second at Sentul, Astra Honda’s Rheza Danica Ahrens sealed the 2018 AP250 championship, thereby completing his mission of retaining the title won by team-mate, Gerry Salim, in 2017.
He cleared off in both races with wingman, Awhin Sanjaya, who cheekily defied the assumed team orders by slipping past a miffed Rheza on the last lap.
There was fierce fighting for third place by up to 11 bikes in both races, with Indonesian, Rafid Topan Sucipto, just overcoming AP Honda’s Muklada Sarapuech in Race 1.
The Thai is still recovering from a complex fracture of the left wrist she smashed at Suzuka at the beginning of June.
In Race 2, Awhin’s impudence reversed the order of Astra’s 1-2, while Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki’s Andy Fadly got in front of Rafid on the line. Muklada again ‘rode like a girl’ to win a nine-bike battle for fifth.
The popular 15-year-old Astra Honda rider, Mario Suryo Aji, who began the weekend second in the championship and qualified on pole, crashed out of the leading group in both races.
Asia Production 250 Race 1
- Rheza Danica Ahrens INA 20:38.812
- Awhin Sanjaya INA +0.275
- Rafid Topan Sucipto INA +3.618
- Muklada Sarapuech THA +3.643
- Andy Muhammad Fadly INA +3.657
- M.Faerozi INA +3.724
- Anupab Sarmoon THA +4.107
- Sigit Purno Harjono INA +6.992
- Anggi Setiawan INA +8.021
- Richard Taroreh INA +8.175
Asia Production 250 Race 2
- Awhin Sanjaya INA 20:37.542
- Rheza Danica Ahrens INA +0.038
- Andy Muhammad Fadly INA +7.875
- Rafid Topan Sucipto INA +7.885
- Muklada Sarapuech THA +13.395
- Sigit Purno Harjono INA +13.598
- Anupab Sarmoon THA +13.625
- Anggi Setiawan INA +14.432
- Reynaldo C. Ratukore INA +14.556
- Yossie Legisadewo INA +14.657
Asia Production 250 Standings
- Rheza Danica Ahren INA 193
- Anupab Sarmoon THA 126
- Mario Suryo Aji INA 122
- Awhin Sanjaya INA 117
- Rafid Topan Sucipto INA 113
The challenge for 14-year-old Travis Hall in an already brutally competitive Underbone class was compounded by the arm injury he carried to Indonesia and six wildcard entries, as well as the particular challenges of Sentul’s surface.
On the positive side he arrived at Round 5 following his podium debut in India and with one of the best teams in the paddock around him, SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda, whose Helmi Azman had a chance of wrapping up the title.
Travis applied himself as well as ever from Friday morning, getting to know the track as quickly as possible. He missed out on the Superpole shoot-out for the fastest 15 qualifiers, despite clocking a respectable time and started from 20th.
In Race 1 he came through to finish 18th, while he was one of four first lap crashers in Race 2. Team-mate, Helmi, rode two smart races, finishing second in Race 1 to wildcard Agung Fahrul, as the first three bikes crossed the line within six hundredths of a second.
In Race 2 he was well placed to take the required first or second place for the title, until another bike crashed in front of him. The avoiding action dropped him to sixth at the chequered flag, so he will go to Buriram looking for eight or more points to seal the deal.
The first three crossed the line split by five hundredths this time, with Agung sandwiched in second between UMA Racing Yamaha’s Haziq Fairues and Akid Aziz.
Helmi’s main title challenger, Izzat Zaidi, had a nasty looking crash in Race 1 just after the crossing the finishing line fifth, when the engine of fourth placed Amirul Ariff Musa’s Yamaha seized, causing Izzat to run into the back of it, which threw him off. Nothing was
broken, but a peaky looking Izzat was forced stayed under observation and missed the second race.
“This weekend was a real challenge for me as I was going to a circuit that I had never raced at before. On the Saturday warm up I was feeling confident in myself and felt good for the race. In Race 1 I was running at a good pace until I had a small moment and then after that I couldn’t catch back up. Race 2 I was really hopeful for a better result for the team but wasn’t so because of another rider crashed into me and I couldn’t do anything about it. Sorry to my team and I hope to come back stronger in Thailand. Big thanks to SCK racing team for giving me a excellent bike to ride and I will try my best in Thailand in December.”
Underbone 150 Race 1
- M. Agung Fahrul INA
- Md Helmi Azman MAS
- Gupita Kresna INA
- Md Amirul Ariff Musa MAS
- Md Izzat Zaidi MAS
- Syahrul Amin INA
- Wawan Wello INA
- Ahmad Fazli Sham MAS
- Rusman Fadhil INA
- Murobbil Fatoni INA
…18. Travis Hall AUS
Underbone 150 Race 2
- Md Haziq Md Fairues MAS
- M. Agung Fahrul INA
- Md Akid Aziz MAS
- Wawan Wello INA
- Reza Fahlevi INA
- Md Helmi Azman MAS
- Md Adib Rosley MAS
- Md Amirul Ariff Musa MAS
- Wahyu Nugroho INA
- Ilaham Elsan Efendi INA
…DNF. Travis Hall AUS
Underbone 150cc Standings
- Md Helmi Azman MAS 164
- Md Izzat Zaidi MAS 122
- Ahmad Fazli Sham MAS 96
- Md Akid Aziz MAS 87
- Wahyu Aji Trilaksana INA 83
- Md Haziq Md Fairues MAS 74
- Gupita Kresna Wardhana INA 74
- Md Amirul Ariff Musa MAS 69
- Md Affendi Rosli MAS 68
- Syahrul Amin INA 67
…14. Travis Hall AUS 46