Rossi shocked by ‘Mat Rempit’ menace
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.