Only two rounds into the 2016 season and the stakeholders in the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship are already mulling exciting developments for the coming years. In a meeting held with the manufacturers and team owners, Two Wheels Motor Racing, the race promoters of the ARRC, have tabled two proposals for their consideration.
Of immediate concern, the 2016 season would be the last season of the Underbone 130cc category. In keeping with market trends, the most likely race class to take its place would be the 150cc machines. This new class is expected to debut in 2017.
“For fans of Underbone racing, the 150cc class will be even more exciting. The bikes are deemed as “Super Underbone” with liquid cool engines, 6-speed gearboxes as well as monoshock suspension,” said Ron Hogg, Director of Two Wheels Motor Racing
“While the Underbone class is a heritage category for South East Asia, we need to keep abreast of market sentiments and technological developments. In the past, the regulations of the ARRC Underbone class was the benchmark for most underbone racing championships in Asia. The reason for this was to create a standard platform of racing in each country and thereby consistently bring up the level of racing to a common platform. After 21 seasons, that objective had been achieved and it is now time for the Underbone class of the ARRC to take up its role as the next step-up level for Asian riders. By heading in the direction of the 150cc class, it would become a natural next step for Asian champions graduating from their respective national championships,” Hogg explained.
The next change will come in 2018 where the Superbike 1000cc class is now being considered as a replacement for the SuperSports 600cc category.
“The Asia Road Racing Championship has raced 600cc as the premiere class since 2000. The reasons we had stuck to this class were many – running costs for teams, market trends, and most importantly, riders standard of racing. In the past, the pool of Asian talents were not yet big enough for us to make that jump into Superbikes. But now it is different. The standard of racing in all classes is very high. The only way to move forward is to take everyone to the ultimate platform – which is Superbike racing.”
“This move will open the doors to a wider field of manufacturing competitors and thus creating strong competitive racing. The decision for this class (whether to remain at 600cc or move to 1000cc by 2018, will be made by the end of this year,” Hogg concluded.