The Underbone 150cc title chase came to an end at Race 1 of the season finale of the 2018 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship. Championship leader, Mohd Helmi Azman, in spite of the handicap of starting the race from P19, powered his way up the 27-rider grid to seal the title with a second place finish.
Indonesian rider Wawan Wello who had breezed through the qualifying and waltzed his way through the SuperPole succeeded in capturing the holeshot. But in typical Underbone fashion, the race got serious as soon as all 27 riders had gotten past Turn 1.
While Wawan dictated the pace at the front, Helmi had made up ten spots by Lap 1. By Lap 2, the SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda Racing Team rider had gotten up to P8, exactly what he needed to pick up enough points to seal the title.
However, Helmi was not content with a safe finish. Instead, the 19-year-old waded into the top group and fought his way up to the front of the pack.
At the end of the 8-lap race, Wawan picked up a second victory for team Yamaha Yamalube SND Racing with 16’18.788s. Helmi Azman followed Wawan to the finish line in second place with 16’19.362s while Mohd Affendi Rosli was delighted when he placed third with 16’19.544s.
“It was actually safer at the front end of the grid instead of enduring the bumps and jostles in the middle group. Anyway, I really wanted to win the title by finishing on the podium and I thank my team for their hard work this season,” said Helmi who confirmed himself as the 2018 Asian Underbone 150cc Champion with 184 points.
Helmi’s closest title contender, Mohd Izzat Zaidi, didn’t manage to get himself in play in Race 1. The RCB Yamaha YY Pang rider only managed a 14th place in Race 1. Izzat must pick up at least one point in Race 2 to prevent ONEXOX TKKR Racing Team’s Ahmad Fazli Sham from taking the second overall ranking from him.
At the same time, team SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda Racing has also won the Team Award title in the Underbone 150cc class with 192 points. The last time the Malaysian racing team had won the Asian title was in 2009.