As the 31 riders assembled on the congested grid for the start of Race 1, a clean start brought polesitter Haziq into the lead at Turn 1 with the rest of the grid in hot pursuit. The intensity of the title chase had ramped up the action in the Underbone 150cc Race 1. At the end of the first lap, the top 11 riders came across the finish line within the same second.
Unfortunately for championship leader Mohd Akid Aziz, mechanical failure forced him out of the race on Lap 2. More carnage ensued on the same lap when Mohammad Murobbil Vitoni, Syahrul Amin, Richard Taroreh and Muhamad Iqbal Abdul Malek got involved in a big pile-up at Turn 4. Thankfully, all the riders were able to walk away from the crash.
Seasoned campaigner Ahmad Fazli Sham used every bit of skill in his arsenal to lead the group across the finish line for most of the eight-lap race. Three laps to go, Fazli continued to mix things up at the front, championship hopeful McKinley Kyle Paz was meanwhile tucked into the front group on P6.
McKinley’s team mate Fernando Masato sprung a surprise on the last lap when he stormed past Fazli and into the lead. The Filipino rider held on to his advantage for two more corners but lost the lead to Fazli as they exited Turn 3. Team tactics came into play at this point when the ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team riders bunched up together to squeeze Masato out of the front. Fazli got onto the lead with the aid of their slipstream.
Another crash at the same corner gave Fazli the space he needed to pull ahead of the group. The Malaysian rider kept his momentum for the rest of the final lap and notched his second win of the season. Wahyu Aji Trilaksana made it a ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team 1-2 when he crossed the line in second place. Fernando Masato settled for third place.
McKinley Kyle Paz took control of the title chase when he finished tenth in Race 1. McKinley leading Akid by only two-points. The Underbone 150 title chase now down to five riders including Haziq Fairues, Ahmad Fazli Sham and Aldi Satya Mahendra ahead of the final race on Sunday.
Underbone 150 Race 2
McKinley Kyle Paz was disappointed not to qualify on the front row but in the Underbone class, the UMA Racing Yamaha Philippine Team rider knew that grid position is not everything. The 18-year-old, who was one of five riders still in the running for the 2019 title, knew that all he had to do was hunker down within the front group and bide his time for a last lap, last corner attack.
However, in the sheer unpredictability that is so characteristic of Underbone racing, pre-drawn plans and strategy went flying out the window the moment the 8-lap race was flagged off. Haziq Fairues and Akid Aziz were among the early leaders at the start of Race 2. At the end of Lap 1, 28 out of 31 were still bunched up in one big group, attacking the corners six abreast.
The first title contender to drop out of the race was Aldi Satya Mahendra. Aldi crashed out of the last turn along with Mohd Rozaiman Said. Haziq Fairues was very nearly swept along by the incident and lost eight positions to drop down to the back of the group.
On Lap 4, championship leader Akid Aziz retired from the race, his title hunt derailed again by mechanical failure. This left 20 riders in the leading charge, among them, McKinley Kyle Paz, Ahmad Fazli Sham, and Haziq Fairues.
McKinley’s bid for the title faltered when he crashed in the mid-section of the 4.554km circuit. Refusing to give up, the young Filipino rider was back on his bike in a flash even though he had lost touch with the front pack.
The leading group had not shrunk noticeably by the final lap. With the notorious Buriram Turn 12 looming, Ahmad Fazli Sham began to slipstream his way past Richie Taroreh, Mohd Izzat Zaidi and Wawan Wello. The seasoned campaigner was all set to take control of the final corner until he got skittled by Syahrul Amin.
Mohd Izzat Zaidi led the group across the finish line but was later penalised for exceeding the track limit at the last corner. Izzat’s penalty handed the win to Richie Taroreh who claimed his first win of the season with 16’23.670s. Wawan Wello and Wahyu Aji Trilaksana made it an all-Indonesian clean sweep in the Underbone 150 Race 2.
15 seconds behind, McKinley Kyle Paz finished just outside of the points in 16th place. Clueless about what had happened in front of him, the disappointed young rider had no idea that his title contenders had been taken out one by one in the intensity of the race. It was only when he returned, dejected, to the pits that he found out he had officially entered the history books as the first Filipino rider to become the FIM Asian Underbone 150cc champion with 121 points to his name.
Akid Aziz, despite two DNF finishes in the final round, stayed in second overall with 119 points while his team mate Haziq Fairues closed the season in third with 113 points.
While the UMA Racing Yamaha riders were busy celebrating their personal achievements, the ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team had quietly triumphed over UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team in the UB150 Team Awards.
Thanks to Wahyu’s steady performance, the Malaysian-based team won the team award by 190 points. UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team dropped to second with 178 points while UMA Racing Yamaha Philippine Team was ranked third with 139 points.
Underbone 150 Results