Rossi shocked by ‘Mat Rem­pit’ men­ace

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS - BY SHAHRIM TAM­RIN

SHAH ALAM: Mo­toGP world cham­pion Valentino Rossi was shocked by the “Mat Rem­pit” men­ace in the coun­try dur­ing a visit here.

Malaysia’s racing icon Shahrol Yuzy Ah­mad Zaini said the nine-time world cham­pion had en­coun­tered groups of “Mat Rem­pit” in ac­tion over the years and was stunned to see their dare­devil an­tics on pub­lic roads.

“Nor­mally, af­ter the race in Sepang, Rossi would have a night out in Kuala Lumpur,” said Shahrol, who has known Rossi since his train­ing days in Barcelona and com­pet­ing in the Fédéra­tion In­ter­na­tionale de Mo­to­cy­clisme European Cham­pi­onship and Span­ish Road Racing in the 90s. His first Mat Rem­pit en­counter was dur­ing a late night back from the city cen­tre. He saw a group of bik­ers zoom­ing reck­lessly by his car on the Sun­gai Besi High­way.

“I saw sev­eral mo­tor­cy­cles ‘with­out riders’ ,” he said in jest.

“Rossi then told me, hey Yuzy, I saw a guy ly­ing flat on the bike seat. In­cred­i­ble! What was that?”

Shahrol said he laughed and replied: “That’s a trend here. We call them ‘Mat Rem­pit’. Can you do that, Valentino?”

“Rossi replied that he didn’t dare do it on the (pub­lic) roads or racing track be­cause that’s not his safety cul­ture,” Shahrol told the au­di­ence at a road safety fo­rum “Pusara di Jalan­raya: Sam­pai bila?” (Graves on the road: Un­til when?) or­gan­ised by Karangkraf on Mon­day.

Shahrol, who re­tired from racing in 2002, also re­lated his ex­pe­ri­ence of stay­ing in Europe for seven years.

“Bik­ers in Europe are more dis­ci­plined and tol­er­ant,” he said.

He added that mo­tor­cy­clists in Europe pa­tiently queue be­hind cars and heavy ve­hi­cles dur­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion.

“The bik­ers there wait for their turn to pass an in­ter­sec­tion or traf­fic lights and they don’t ride be­tween lanes of mov­ing traf­fic or against the flow,” he said.

While Shahrol ac­knowl­edged that most bik­ers in Europe ride big bikes, he hoped the mo­tor­cy­clists in Malaysia would cease the prac­tice of lane split­ting or lane fil­ter­ing – the act of rid­ing or squeez­ing be­tween ve­hi­cles dur­ing busy or slow mov­ing traf­fic.

“Bik­ers here should value safety,” he said.

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