Young Queenslander Broc Pearson recently celebrated his 15th birthday during the weekend of the 2015 Asia Dream Cup finale held at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit. The circuit, opened in 2014, is situated near Biriram, a 400km, five-hour drive, north-east from Bangkok. Or a 50-minute flight from Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Pearson arrived in Bangkok on the Wednesday night and caught a taxi all the way to Buriram. Arriving at his hotel around 0200, Pearson had to wait around until check-in opened at 0900. Upon check-in Pearson kept a low profile and tried to catch up on some sleep, and recover from the inevitable jet lag that comes after a 10-hour flight from Brisbane to Bangkok.
Come Friday it was hot and sunny and things were shaping up for a great weekend of racing with Asia Dream Cup riders all onboard identical Honda CBR250 machines.
Pearson made an encouraging start to the weekend by finishing the opening practice session in fourth, behind Malaysia’s Hafiz Azman, 23-year-old Thai female ace Muklada Sarapeuch and China’s Zhou Sheng Jun Jie rounded out the top three.
Pearson improved on his position further during second practice, benefitting from good slipstreaming Pearson got his time down to 2m05.1 around the 4.55km layout. Thailand’s Muklada Sarapeuch was fastest, closely followed by Japan’s Yusuke Nakumara.
Broc Pearson takes it from here – “I was very happy with how the day went, I’d never been so on the pace which I was stoked about. I had a great feeling with the bike and was expecting good results for the rest of the weekend.
“On Saturday, I was pretty nervous coming up to qualifying. Having done so well in the practice sessions, I had put a bit of pressure on myself and did not want to go backwards from all the hard work I had put in.
“Having been in the fast times the day before, a few riders had noticed me as a good way for them to follow me as they strived to set good times, this made it really hard for me. Wherever I was on the track, there were always a couple riders following in my slipstream for a good lap and every time I would push for my time, they would try and pass me which slowed me up a lot.
“At the end of qualifying, I ended up in seventh position but I knew it was okay as there is a lot of slipstreaming out of the first corner so my position wasn’t too bad. Muklada, Hiroki and Zhou were on the front row for the eight-lap race, followed by 18 other riders.
“Race one was crazy. I was off to a great start and before we got to turn two, I was already up to second position. This explained why it didn’t hurt to be in seventh in qualifying, because I had such a good slipstream down the main straight.
“The race was really hard to focus, one moment you would be leading the race, the next you are at the back of the pack, with riders taking every possible move to gain positions.
“The front pack consisted of about 10-13 riders, it made it very difficult entering corners sometimes eight-wide! Who ever braked latest went in the corner first.
“I made a major mistake on the last lap and went wide on one of the corners which put me at the back of the group. I made up as many positions as I could in the last corner to finish race one in sixth position.” Concluded Pearson at the end of Saturday’s proceedings.
The championship was still open between Thailand’s Muklada Sarapuech, and race one victor Hiroki Nakamura. 13-points separated the pair heading into Sunday’s final race of the season.
Pearson only put in a brief warm-up session on Sunday morning as the track was very hot and tyre wear was starting to become a serious issue.
Broc Pearson – “During warm-up I sometimes took a little easy and used the time to learn the way some of the others were riding to prepare me for the race.
“I was very anxious about the final race, I was sitting in 11th in the championship and I needed to do something special to get myself into the top eight in the championship. If I could get in the top eight I could earn the right to stay on an extra few days and participate in a Moto3 test session with Team Asia.
“I got away to a good start but didn’t make up any positions until the main straight, I tried to stay within the top five of the group at all times, just in case something went wrong I wouldn’t drop back as far, I had a very enjoyable race to be honest.
“I led the race a couple times and stayed within the top three at most times. I made some aggressive passes on some riders to let them know I was here to win but in the last lap with only two corners to go I had a rear end slide that put me back to seventh.
“Coming into the final corner, I was alongside every rider including first place and who ever braked latest was going to take the win. But of course nobody wanted to brake first thus most were going in way too deep so I decided to instead start my braking and set up for a proper run through the corner.I came through the corner in sixth position but every rider in front of me was a long way off the track, because they had all out-braked them self going into the last corner. I went across the finish line in 6th position but due to none of the riders in front of me being able to make the corner without running off the track, they were all demoted two positions, boosting my up for the race win and the top step of the podium!
“I was very happy with the result and the way I managed to do the last corner to stay on track, as it’s a very hard corner to stay on track when there is so many riders going through it.
“The 25-points I earned promoted me into 7th in the championship, scoring that free ticket to the NSF Moto3 testing.
“The NSF testing was great fun and happened over the following two days. I enjoyed riding more then ever, I struggled with my 174cm height on the smaller bikes, which made it a struggle down the straights as other riders were getting to a much higher top speed then me, but it didn’t concern me too much.
“I had never ridden the NSF 250 before so it was a major privilege to get this opportunity. We had five sessions on the bike and about four hours of riding over thetwo days. My lap times improved steadily ,starting out in the high 1m54s and getting down towards the low 52s by the end of Tuesday.
“I have had conversation with series director Ron Hogg regarding next years plan, it seems to be that we will be returning next year to the Asia Dream Cup once again for one more year but doing things a bit differently, this time I plan to win the championship which means it time to get to work and start getting ready for the big year ahead.”
Pearson has learned much about racecraft by participating in the Asia Dream Cup this year and as the second youngest rider in the competition will head towards season 2016 with a great deal of experience under his belt and a genuine shot at the title.
Asia Dream Cup Race One
Hiroki Nakamura (JPN)
Muhd Febriansyh (INA) 0.24
Muklada Sarapuech (THA) 0.32
Woraphod Niamsakhonsakui (THA) 0.78
Yogha Dio Syachputre (INA) 1.071
Broc Pearson (AUS) 1.073
Hafiz Nor Azman (MAS) 1.18
Shankar Sarath Kumar (IND) 1.88
Arsyad Rusydi Shaharum (SIN) 6.61
Yusuke Nakamura (JPN) 21.32
Asia Dream Cup Race Two
Broc Pearson (AUS)
Hafiz Nor Azman (MAS) 0.24
Yusuke Nakamura (JPN)
Muhd Febriansyh (INA)
Muklada Sarapuech (THA)
Yogha Dio Syachputre (INA)
Hiroki Nakamura (JPN)
Arsyad Rusydi Shaharum (SIN)
Zhou Sheng Jun Jie (CHN)
Woraphod Niamsakhonsakui (THA)
Asia Dream Cup 2015 Championship Points Standings (Final)
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