Speed phe­noms

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by nASA MARIA EnTAbAn nasa@thes­tar.com.my

Young Malaysian mo­tor­sports ath­letes are gath­er­ing s peed around the world.

WHILE many watched the live tele­vi­sion broad­cast of the For­mula 1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka cir­cuit in Ja­pan last Sun­day, thou­sands of oth­ers thronged the Sepang Cir­cuit in Se­lan­gor to sup­port Malaysian rider Mohd Zul­fahmi Khairud­din at the Petronas-Malaysian Mo­tor­cy­cle Grand Prix (Mo­toGP).

The 18-year-old Air Asi­aSepang In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit team rider was im­pres­sive last week­end, and al­though he didn’t fin­ish on the podium at his home race, he was happy to have given his fans and sup­port­ers an ex­cit­ing show.

Fahmi, whose home­town of Bant­ing is a mere 10-minute drive from the cir­cuit, fin­ished 16th out of 26 rid­ers in the 125cc cat­e­gory, giv­ing a con­sis­tent per­for­mance from start to fin­ish. Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider Marc Mar­quez from Spain took first place in the race.

Fahmi is the only Malaysian rider to have ever scored points in the his­tory of Mo­toGP. He cur­rently has three cham­pi­onship points from this sea­son so far, with a few races left to go.

But Fahmi isn’t the only young Malaysian rid­ing high in cir­cuits around the world; other young lo­cal rac­ers have also scorched tracks the globe over.

Na­bil Jef­fri of the Lo­tus Rac­ing team re­cently be­came the youngest test driver in For­mula 1 his­tory, af­ter mak­ing a name for him­self in go-kart­ing.

Mean­while, early this year, for­mer For­mula BMW driver Jaze­man Jaa­far, 17, be­gan his first sea­son with Bri­tish For­mula 3 cham­pi­ons, Car­lin.

Fe­male rac­ers can give their male coun­ter­parts a race for their money, too, as 17-year-old Natasha Seat­ter has proven. Natasha won all four races at the Petronas For­mula Xpe­ri­ence (PFX) pro­gramme last year, land­ing her a spot on the Petronas Mo­faz Rac­ing team for the For­mula BMW Pa­cific race se­ries.

In 2008, she placed fourth at the Asian Kart­ing Open Cham­pi­onship, and was named Rookie of the Year in the se­nior cat­e­gory at the race.

For­mer Malaysian Ju­nior Kart­ing cham­pion Aaron Lim, too, has a stun­ning re­sume – he went from kart­ing to For­mula BMW Asia to For­mula V6 Asia, and fi­nally be­came an A1GP Team Malaysia driver last year.

Just a few weeks ago, four Malaysian sec­ondary school stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in the F1 in Schools Chal­lenge World Fi­nals in Singapore took home the Knock­out Rac­ing cat­e­gory top prize in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Team Raluca F1, made up of Haziq Asyraf Marzuki, Mohamed Hus­sein Haron, Danel Iman Che Khalib and Wan Faiq Am­syar Wan of Seko­lah Datuk Ab­dul Razak in Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, went head-to­head with school teams from all over the world in the com­pe­ti­tion. The Schools Chal­lenge aims at pro­vid­ing an ex­cit­ing and chal­leng­ing ed­u­ca­tional For­mula One ex­pe­ri­ence for youths aged nine to 19.

With so much ac­tiv­ity go­ing on in Malaysian mo­tor­sports, it is hard to not sit up and take no­tice of our promis­ing young ath­letes. Fahmi and Na­bil took some time out of their busy sched­ule to share their ex­pe­ri­ences and sto­ries in the world of mo­tor­sports.

A few days be­fore the Mo­toGP, Fahmi sat ner­vously in the of­fice of AirAsia at the Low Cost Car­rier Ter­mi­nal in Sepang, look­ing back at the spec­tac­u­lar year he has had.

On the fast track: Young Mo­toGP rider Mohd Zul­fahmi Khairud­din of team AirAsi­aSIC is look­ing for­ward to a bright fu­ture in mo­tor­sports.

Look­ing ahead: For­mer go-kart­ing prodigy Na­bil Jef­fri is the youngest per­son ever to make his de­but as a test driver in the his­tory of For­mula 1 rac­ing. Hum­ble be­gin­nings: Aaron Lim be­gan his rac­ing ca­reer as a go-kart racer. Cur­rently, he is an A1GP team Malaysia driver. Mak­ing his­tory: Young Mo­toGP rider Mohd Zul­fahmi Khairud­din of team Air Asia-SIC is the first Malaysian to earn cham­pi­onship points in the Mo­toGP race.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.