Published on September 21st, 2016 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Battle to become the Next ‘SuperKIP’ Heats Up
As the 2016 PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship winds down to its final rounds of the season, the battle lines in the Honda Wave Alpha Challenge series are continuously being redrawn with the young riders vying for the chance to become the next SuperKIP. With Round 8 taking place at Temerloh, Pahang this weekend, main contenders have clearly emerged in the other race classes. But in the Honda Wave Alpha Challenge, rankings within the top five change with every successive round.
To date, 17-year-old Syairul Yusrie Suhaimi holds a tenuous 15-point margin lead. Behind him, two riders are tied in second overall position. Both Mohd Haikal Syafik Shuhaimi and Mohd Haziq Mohd Hamdan have picked up 120 points each. Mohd Sahzul Naim Razali and Mohd Hanafi Mohd Isnaini are also having a tough time keeping their slots in the top five.
The level of competition in 2016 is markedly different from previous years in which the Honda mono-brand talent development series had been dominated by just one or two riders. This development had been attributed to a systematic change in training strategy from Boon Siew Honda’s motorsports management team.
“This year, we allowed a few riders to repeat a second year with the Honda one-make race. This goes against the usual practice of previous years but we felt that it would bring about a change for the better. Therefore, the more promising riders from the class of 2015 who were unable to find a spot with any of the professional teams were offered a second season with the Honda Wave Alpha Challenge,” explained Zulhelmi Ahmad, Assistant Motorsports Manager of Boon Siew Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
“We began seeing results from this strategy. No doubt, the more experienced riders were dominant in the opening legs of the season. But it wasn’t very long before the rookie riders learnt from their seniors and soon caught up in terms of performance and results. We believe that this training cycle will benefit all the riders, allowing them to hone their skills through a shorter learning curve.”
The Honda Wave Alpha Challenge which runs as part of the PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship is one of the two talent identification platforms directly managed by the motorcycle manufacturers. The series came into focus this season when former protege Khairul Idham Pawi became the first Malaysian to ever win a race at the MotoGP level.