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Singapore Karting Championship Final Round: Preview

By Pinkypink on 15 Nov 2010

Karting enthusiasts across the island gathered at Kartright Speedway to watch the fifth and last round of the inaugural Singapore Karting Championship (SKC). As the competitors prepare themselves for the finale, I caught up with the five category leaders to find out how they are doing and what strategies they have planned to clinch the title.

CADET (8 to 12 years of age)
Category Leader: Jon Lee Xuanhao, 11, Drakar Racing Team

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Jon Lee started the season right when he topped the podium at Round 1, despite not having his new Mini ROK engine arrive until Round 3. Going into the last round with a 32-point lead, the only driver able to challenge Jon for the title is his closest competitor Glenn Chiam (who happens to be his team-mate in Drakar Racing). To win the Cadet title, Jon needs to finish with no less than eight points this Sunday.

Having just completed his final year examinations in school two weeks ago, Jon participated in his first race outside of Singapore and Malaysia last weekend at the Asian Karting Open Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. Other race series he participated in this year include the Rotax Max Challenge Malaysia Series.

“I'm very excited and I’m looking forward to the last and final round of SKC. My final examinations in school ended just two weeks ago so I didn’t have that much time to prepare but I will give my best and I aim to clock the fastest timing,” said the Ngee Ann Primary School student.

Jon’s Results in SKC 2010:
Round 1 – 1st
Round 2 – 2nd
Round 3 – 2nd
Round 4 – 1st
Round 5?

JUNIOR (12 to 14 years of age)
Category Leader: Amin Noorzilan, 13, Drakar Racing Team

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With just six points ahead of the next driver – Andersen Martono – Amin Noorzilan has his work cut out for him in order to win the title. Andersen started off very strongly, winning Rounds 1 and 2 and coming in second for Round 3. His no-show in Round 4 boosted Amin to the top of the tables. It can be anyone’s title for the Juniors category this Sunday.

“I’m feeling nervous, but I have been doing my pre-race preparations such as building physical strength and stamina, as well as developing confidence and mental focus. Andersen is a very experienced driver, so it is crucial that I start in front of him for the pre-final and final,” said Amin.

Displaying consistency throughout the season, Amin had a tough time at the previous round when he received a penalty during qualifying and had to start last on the grid for the heats. Initially thinking that his chances for a podium finish were slim, Amin fought on and managed to do well in the pre-final for a second place start in the final before taking the chequered flag first.

Amin’s Results in SKC 2010
Round 1 – 3rd
Round 2 – 2nd
Round 3 – 3rd
Round 4 – 1st
Round 5?

SENIOR (15 years of age and above)
Category Leader: Mohammad Nasri Naufal bin Nasir, 22, Drakar Racing Team

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Better known as Opai, Mohammad Nasri Naufal bin Nasir is an absolute delight to watch on the tracks, especially in the rain. Rounds 3 and 4 were wet races and Opai dominated the curves and lines of Kartright Speedway as he put forth brilliant performance in the rain. He crossed the finish line first for both but his result for Round 3 was later reversed due to a post-race penalty for technical infringements of his kart.

The most exciting race of the season for Opai was Round 4 where he spent most of the race bumper-to-bumper with Andrew Tang under slippery conditions. A mistake from Opai during the last part of the race gave Andrew the opportunity to go past and cross the finish line first. However, a 10-second time penalty due to a jumpstart relegated Andrew down to second place, awarding Opai the win instead.

Although it is Ivan Lim Zi Yang behind Opai with 13 points less, the rest of the drivers in the field are strong too, with most of them having overseas racing experience. Hence, similar to the Junior category, it will be a good battle for the Senior title.

“It is pressurising to be in front, as you can never be sure what will happen during the race. Nonetheless, I am happy to be in the lead and I can’t wait for the finals!” said Opai.

Opai’s Results in SKC 2010
Round 1 – 1st
Round 2 – 3rd
Round 3 – DQ (Technical Infringement)
Round 4 – 1st
Round 5?

MASTERS (30 to 45 years of age)
Category Leader: Paul Lee Kok Khiang, 42, Team Benz Motorsports

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With a field of almost 30 drivers, the Masters category is the most exciting to watch. Although Sheridan Thomas scored two race wins and a second place finish in Round 4, his no-show at Round 2 due to an injury caused him to fall some 14 points behind category leader Paul Lee Kok Khiang.

At the last round, it was a fantastically tight race between Paul and Sheridan as they went neck-to-neck into almost every corner throughout the entire race. Eventually, Paul managed to keep Sheridan off to take the win.

Even though Paul encountered problems of all sorts throughout the season, he has managed to stay in front, never finishing anywhere lower than second place. In the first round, Paul met with an accident with a backmarker and spun 360˚, almost stalling his engine in the process. Then his engine ceased during the heats in Round 2 and a rib injury limited his training for Round 3. Again engine problems plagued Paul during Round 3, but thankfully Round 4 was a much pleasanter experience.

“The season has gone quite well for me, not without some hiccups of course. I’m feeling relaxed at the moment and am ready to go! I’m very confident of clinching the overall title but I will leave it to luck and fate too,” said Paul.

Paul’s Results in SKC 2010
Round 1 – 2nd
Round 2 – 1st
Round 3 – 2nd
Round 4 – 1st
Round 5?

VETERAN (45 years of age and above)
Category Leader: Kenny Yip Ngai Meng, 50, PDB Maddox Singapore (YZF Karting)

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Some may think they are over the hill, but the amount of spunk these veteran racers have are highly admirable. The need for speed lives in them as their bodies fight against the racing spirit.

Having not raced competitively for years now, Kenny Yip was initially afraid that his body may not be able to sustain the demands of the race. However, four rounds and three podium finishes including two race wins later, Kenny holds a solid 35 points ahead of Leon Khoo Beng Koon. In fact, Kenny has the biggest championship lead of the five categories in SKC.

Round 3 was a bad weekend for Kenny as he was still trying and testing out different settings on his new Maddox kart and new Maxter KF2 engine that his son Desmond gave to him for Fathers’ Day. With a better understanding of the kart after Round 3, Kenny corrected the settings and managed to secure pole position in Round 4, even clocking his personal best time of 33.9 seconds within the first five laps of qualifying.

“I’m happy to be in the lead, it proves that the old man can still race! But that said, we are not really here to compete, we are here because we love karting and we just want to enjoy ourselves. Veteran means being of a certain age where we just aim to complete the race without aching too much after,” said Kenny, who is a former Singapore karting champion and the first Singaporean to race at the World Karting Championship in Europe.

Kenny’s Results in SKC 2010
Round 1 – 1st
Round 2 – 3rd
Round 3 – 5th
Round 4 – 1st
Round 5?

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Written by Pinkypink
Referred to as "The Girl Who Loves Cars & Motorsports", Cheryl Tay is a regular name in motoring publications and an established blogger herself. For more of her, check out www.cheryl-tay.com.

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