The Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) is the regional motorcycle road racing championship for Asia, which is being held since 1996 as an Asian-wide initiative to boost the development of the sport of motorcycle racing in the continent. This championship is part of the production-based category of racing, similar to the Superbike World Championship, British Supersport Championship and AMA Supersport Championship. Modified versions of road-going motorcycles which are available to the public are featured in the races.
The Championship structure
The championship is currently divided into three open-make classes and one mono-brand developmental classes. The open-make categories are the SuperSports 600cc, Asia Production 250cc and Underbone 150cc.
Since 1997 the ARRC has been recognised for the Federation Internationale Motocyclisme (FIM) as the Asian continental championship for the FIM and has received its endorsement. The commercial rights are owned by Two Wheels Motor Racing, with FIM Asia as the sports sanctioning body. Each season consists of six rounds with two races organised per round. The championship tours in Asia but it is open to riders from all nationalities. ARRC 2017 season consists of 12 races at 5 circuits in 5 different Asian countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and India.
Dreaming of the MotoGP World Championship
AHRT is at this moment participating in its fourth consecutive season in the ARRC. In the team’s first appearance in the AP250 class this year, Gerry Salim is leading the overall standings with 75 points and three wins out from four races. In the SS600 category, Irfan Ardiansyah has taken his first personal podium in the ARRC and is placing 7th in the general standings, with 35 points.
For Anggono Iriawan, Senior Manager Safety Riding & Motor Sports PT. Astra Honda Motor (AHM), the team performance “is getting better. Not only are the riders improving their skills, but also the mechanics, which are mostly from Indonesia. For this season, we are certainly targeting the Asia Production 250cc class, where our goal is to become champions. ARRC is the best championship in Asia for road racing, with several circuits being used for world championships. I think the ARRC is a bridge for the riders to get to the World Championship. People may get to know them from national championships and then climb to the World Championship –and the highest championship in Asia is ARRC.”
The leader’s ambition
ARRC it is useful as a stepping stone for young riders, for instance Gerry Salim, who has started the season in an amazing form. This is how the AHRT rider evaluates de Asian competition: “This championship is great for the young riders development. For me, to perform in the AP250 class is a challenge; as I hope to become champion this season. It will be difficult as many top Asian riders also are competing in this class. Maybe if I am able to be the best in this Asian class, I will get the chance to go to Europe, as my dream is to race in MotoGP. I am also motivated to improve my skills and stamina, so that I could achieve the target which I have set for myself.”
Two promising rookies
His teammates in the AP250 class are Rheza Danica and Awhin Sanjaya, who are having great results in their first year in the championship. For Rheza, who took his first two podiums last weekend at the Chang International Circuit, the ARRC “is my first international racing event, after I competed in the Suzuka endurance race –but that’s only one series. Last season I raced in the National Championship so being in the ARRC means a step forward for me. To take part in the ARRC is quite meaningful, because not that often you can get a chance from Astra Honda Motor to race in Asia. I certainly will make the most of this opportunity.”
“For sure, I am happy to get this opportunity, because the ARRC is a good championship in Asia. As a young rider, here I can improve my skills and gain a lot of experience. I am also trying to improve my results in every race. There is a lot of great Asian riders who compete in this championship, and racing against them can give me further experience. I hope that racing in the ARRC can open me the opportunity to compete in Europe and, especially, in the World Championship” Awhin says, as he had also arrived to the ARRC after taking part in the National Championship last year.
Learning and improving
Finally, there is the team’s only competitor in the SuperSports 600cc, Irfan Ardiansyah, who claims that “being in this class is a challenge for me; I want to give the best result possible to the Astra Honda Racing Team. The ARRC is very helpful for the young riders, as it is a way to improve your skills and gain experience by racing in international events and competing against experienced riders. But this also motivates me. Being able to take part in the ARRC is very meaningful to me. This will give me more experience for my racing career in the future, as I hope to compete in Europe and World Championship in the future.”
Now the ARRC will take a break until June 3rd-4th, when the AHRT will meet again in the Suzuka International Circuit, Japan.
Photos from AHRT Media