Wily Malaysian rider Ahmad Fazli Sham stole the Underbone 130cc Race 2 win in Round 2 of the 2016 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship. In this instance, Fazli’s wealth of experience clearly counted when it mattered most.
A slow start placed Fazli deep in the group as Amirul Ariff Musa and Race 1 winner Wahyu Trilaksana stole the holeshot. However, Fazli quickly overcame the disadvantage and appeared to be fighting for the lead midway through the 8-lap race.
However, Race 2 did not go entirely to script. Instead of the usual swarm of riders jostling for P1, the riders were split into two main groups with five riders in the first group and another five in the second pack.
Given more room to manoeuvre , Fazli nipped into Wahyu’s slipstream as the riders approached the last corner, deftly managed the tricky last corner by hugging the apex, and won the photo-finish battle against Wahyu by only 0.021 seconds.
Fazli’s win was recorded at 17’36.626s while Wahyu finished second with 17’36.647s and Florianus Roy third with 17’36.748s.
“It’s really gratifying when your strategy works out,” grinned a delighted Fazli Sham. “I thought I could break away, but it was obvious that racing solo would cause too much strain on the engine. This way was more of a gamble, but the split group of riders certainly helped.”
Underbone 130cc championship leader Mohd Izzat Zaidi finished fourth in Race 1 and fifth in Race 2 to stay in front with 69 points. Amirul Ariff Musa came in within the top-6 in both races and is second overall with 57 points. Wahyu Aji Trilaksana’s double podium from Round 2 placed him third with 56 points.