Peerless and almost unbeatable, Direk Achawong won the Series Production 150cc title four consecutive times in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. When the 150cc class gave way to the GP125 class in 2000, Direk added another title to his long impressive resume when he was crowned the 2001 GP125 Champion. Soon after that, Direk hung his boots up for good.
But racing was not something that he could easily walk away from. Switching gears from rider to team principal, Direk founded team Castrol Honda IRC DID YSS Direk. Just like his close friend and former competitor, the late Christmas Wilairot, Direk stayed active in Thailand's quest to bring more Thai talent into the Asian scene.
Now, almost a decade later, Direk Achawong is back in the Asia Road Racing paddock, this time as team manager for Asia Dream Cup hopeful Kanatat Jaiman. "I first met Kanatat in 2010 during a local race organised by Honda Thailand exclusively for first time riders. Kanatat was from Khonken city, almost 500 kilometres from Bangkok. Even though he (Kanatat) finished 6th in his maiden race, I saw something special in him and offered him a place in my team," Direk recalled.
Direk's belief in his young protege paid off handsomely when Kanatat emerged as the 2011 Automatic 125cc All Thailand Champion. "The Asia Dream Cup was a chance for us to fast-track Kanatat's learning process. This will be his first exposure to racing on actual international-standard race tracks. If not for the Asia Dream Cup, I believe he would have to spend a few more years racing nationally before he would be given a chance to race in the Asian series," said Direk of his young charge.