Kartmaster Drakar celebrate Asian haul

Andersen Martono and Jon LeeBogor, Indonesia, 16 December 2012: In a clear sign that Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team have outgrown the domestic scene, the Singapore-based motorsports outfit are making waves in the Asian arena.
2012 AKOC Rd 4 & 5 in Sentul international Circuit2012 AKOC Rd 5 Formula 125 Senior categoryAs the 2012 Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC) season drew to a close at the Sentul International Circuit on Sunday in Bogor, Kartmaster Drakar drivers made sure that the Singapore flag was flown high and proud – not once, not twice, but three times.

Take a bow, Jon Lee, Andersen Martono, and Leon Khoo, for emerging from a sea of Asian motorsports talent to earn podium finishes in the overall standings of their respective categories.

Leon KhooKhoo, 51, didn’t even need to don his racing suit in Bogor as his podium finish in the Formula 125 Veteran championship was confirmed back in September after dominating performances in the first three rounds of the calendar. He finished third in the overall drivers’ standings.

Overall Winners of 2012 AKOC Formula 125 JuniorJon, though, needed to race and had to race hard that weekend. After finishing Saturday’s Round 4 in fifth place, the 13-year-old needed a podium finish on Sunday to clinch a top-three position in the Formula 125 Junior category.

He duly delivered – but not before some scares.

Jon Lee in 2012 AKOC Rd 5“My pre-final in round 4 and 5 were bad,” said the Victoria School student, who started Round 5 sixth on the grid after seeing the cap to his petrol tank flew off midway through the pre-final. “But after some changes and adjustments, I managed to pick up during the final in both rounds.”

Jon Lee in 2012 AKOC Rd 5Indeed, by the second lap in the final, Jon had climbed three places into third position, and held off his rivals for the rest of the race to earn third place in the championship.

Gabriella Teo in 2012 AKOC Rd 5
Santos Bala in 2012 AKOC Rd 5
His Kartmaster Drakar team-mates in the Junior category, Santos Bala Kerisnan and Gabriella Teo, finished seventh and eighth respectively in the overall standings.
Gabriella, 14 years old added “Sentul was the first track I drove that has a major tyre wear problem. I need to learn to control my aggression in my driving and reduce tyre wear. I have also learnt that mental focus is important in a long week of testing and racing, which I believed was lacking at Sentul.”

Overall Winners of 2012 AKOC Formula 125 Senior CategoryAndersen MartonoIndonesian-born Andersen stole the show in the Formula 125 Senior category by finishing second in the championship. His second-place finish in Round 4 saw him charge into second place in the drivers’ standings, and although he did not finish the race in Round 5, he kept his place among Asia’s best.

Winners of 2012 AKOC Rd 5

Opai with ex-teammate, Singaporean Karter Sean Hudspeth who won 4th and 5th respectively in the final race of the year

Opai with ex-teammate, Singaporean Karter Sean Hudspeth who won 4th and 5th respectively in the final race of the year

His Senior colleague Opai Naufal endured another frustrating weekend after an exploded magnito in Round 4 put paid to his bid to finish fifth. A fourth-place finish in Round 5 saw him end the championship in sixth position.

Winners of 2012 AKOC Rd 4 Formula 125 Mini Rok Category
Josh Lee in 2012 AKOC rd 5 In other categories, Indonesia-born Darryl Wenas and Singapore’s Josh Lee finished fourth and 19th respectively in the Mini Rok championship. It was Josh Lee’s first time participating in AKOC. The 10 years old, added, “The cadet category in AKOC is very competitive with many experienced drivers. I must learn to control my kart and try to avoid crashes in future races. I’m definitely looking forward to race in AKOC next year.”

Hong Yang, Gabriella, OpaiThe weekend in Bogor also saw the AKOC debut of new Kartmaster Drakar driver Yeo Hong Yang, who clocked an impressive sixth place in Round 4 and 11th in Round 5.

Hong Yang in 2012 AKOC Rd 5 “I’m happy with my overall performance this weekend,” the youngster said. “This was my first ever AKOC race, going up against many good drivers and i managed to come 6th in Round 4 and 11th in Round 5 after starting from 28th and 27th on the grid respectively.

“I really enjoyed the entire experience but I’m still inexperienced compared to many others in my category and I’ve got a lot still to learn. With more races and more experience, I am confident that I can only improve further.”

There is no short of inspiration for Hong Yang and his Kartmaster Drakar team-mates. After all, there are three among them who have shown there is a bigger world out there beyond the domestic competition.

And their performances are ample proof that Kartmaster Drakar belonged to a bigger stage.
Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team
The Lee family with JP and Raymond
Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team with Zahir Ali

Mr. Roland Chong Pl with his protégé, none other than the swift Zahir Ali whom they won many races together. It was very inspiring to watch Zahir Ali raced during rd 4 & 5. This guy is fast!

Mr. Roland Chong Pl with his protégé, none other than the swift Zahir Ali whom they won many races together. It was very inspiring to watch Zahir Ali raced during rd 4 & 5. This guy is fast!

Darryl and Leon prove age is no barrier

Manila, September 2, 2012 : They belong to two extreme ends of the age scale, with 40 years between them. One is a promising cadet finding his feet in the world of karting; and the other, a veteran racer who has been there and done that in an illustrious karting career.

But Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team’s Darryl Wenas, 11, and Leon Khoo, 51, share a feat at Round 3 of the Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC) on Sunday – they both earned a coveted place on the podium after yet another wet and wild race at the Carmona Racing Circuit in Metro Manila.

Let’s start with the young gun, Darryl. The Indonesian kid won the Cadet Mini-Rok category with a time of 15:32.834 and clocked 57.647 for his best lap. This was Darryl’s second podium finish in three rounds of AKOC action, after finishing second in July’s Round 1 in Macau.

And his victory is all thanks to? Black coffee.

“My performances were poor in the beginning,” said Darryl. “Everything went wrong for me until I had some black coffee. And Bingo! Everything started to click for me and I did much better in the Final.

“But I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation in the first place. One thing I learnt is I need to listen more to the technical crew and my mechanic to bring out the best in my performances.”

Khoo, who came in second in the Veterans race in Manila, did not need caffeine for his push up the podium in his first AKOC race of the season. The driver, who clocked a time of 20:42.158 behind winner Wong Kang Tong of Hong Kong, was hoping for rain.

“My pre-final drive was good, but the Final did not go too well,” said rain-master Khoo, who came in third in Round 2 of the Singapore Karting Championship at Marina Bay last month. “I believe I can perform better in the rain but not in semi-wet conditions.

While Darryl and Khoo enjoyed the sweet taste of success in Manila, their Kartmaster Drakar teammates in the junior category, Jon Lee, 13, finished 6th and Santos Bala, 15, were doing very well during the pre-final and final race until one of his tyre came off, placing him in 9th position. In the Senior category, Opai Naufal came in 10th.

The Kartmaster Drakar drivers, though, are hell-bent on making amends in Round 3 of the SKC later this month.

“Every race, we learn,” said Opai. “And after every race, we look to work harder and improve further for the next race.”

Maybe, like Darryl, a cup of black coffee will do the trick.

Photos of the race can be found here.

All photos by Jet Rabe. Copyright and property of Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team.

Gutsy Kartmaster Drakar calm in eye of Filipino storm

Jon Lee on Podium for AKOC Rd 2

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, 29th July 2012: The weather may be unpredictable at Calabarzon, Philippines, but some things remain constant – Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team’s technical par excellence and their never-say-die spirit.

Drivers braving through the weather and flooded track condition in the Carmona Racing Circuit

Drivers braving through the weather and flooded track condition in the Carmona Racing Circuit

In a day of stormy conditions at the Carmona Racing Circuit just outside the Metro Manila, Kartmaster Drakar proved at Round 2 of the Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC) that it has no equal when it comes to getting the cars set up right.

Good hardware, though, needs strong heartware – and our drivers showed their fighting spirit in abundance, albeit with limited success on the wet and slippery tarmac.

Kartmaster Drakar Junior Driver—Jon Lee

Kartmaster Drakar Junior Driver—Jon Lee

Just look at on Jon Lee. Just 13 years of age, the Victoria School student defied the stormy conditions to come in a creditable 5th position in the Formula 125 Open Junior category and earned his first podium finish of the 2012 Asian Karting Open Championships (AKOC).

2012 AKOC Rd 2 Formula 125 Junior Winners

2012 AKOC Rd 2 Formula 125 Junior Winners

“I have been working very hard to earn a place on the podium on the Asian level and I am glad I did it,” said Jon. “But, to be honest with myself, this was hardly my best race. I am capable of much better performances.  “The setting for my car was good. I was going fine until I got bumped out of the track a little. But hey, no complains. I will do better next time.”

Insatiable thirst for success – check.

Kartmaster Drakar Junior Driver—Santos Bala

Kartmaster Drakar Junior Driver—Santos Bala

Jon’s teammate Santos Bala, 12, finished just one spot behind (6th).  Estefano Rivera of the Philippines won the event with a time of 20:02.418.

“The cars are set up perfectly but there is definitely room for improvement on my part,” said Santos. “One good lesson is it’s better to learn more about the track than to go for speed without knowing it.”

Positive thinking – check.

Kartmaster Drakar Cadet Driver—Darryl Wenas

Kartmaster Drakar Cadet Driver—Darryl Wenas

In the Mini-ROK category, Darryl Wenas, 11, clocked the best lap time (57.886) of his event but finished 6th.

“Other than an almost perfect lap, I made a few mistakes in the race, and ended up spinning, sliding and crashing,” said Darryl. “I will learn to better control my emotions when I race next time.”

Constant quest for improvement – check.

Kartmaster Drakar Senior Driver — Opai NaufalIn the Formula 125 Open Senior Category, Kartmaster Drakar’s Opai Naufal fell short again despite a valiant effort from start to the end. The 23-year-old came in third during the qualifying heats on Saturday and 4th during pre-final on Sunday, but could not replicate his form on the final race. Mother Nature certainly played her part. Struggling for grip on a drenched track, the puddles of water on the track were like minefields that the multiple Singapore

Senior Final Race—incessant rain forced stewards to halt the race after 10 laps

Senior Final Race—incessant rain forced stewards to halt the race after 10 laps

Karting Championships (SKC) winner fought to avoid.  Opai slipped to 8th position after 10 laps before incessant rain forced stewards to halt the race. Even after the storm eased up after an hour, there was no reprieve for the Singaporean, who spun out at the last corner and did not finish.

“I was desperate to climb a position during the last corner of the last lap when I braked too late, drove right into a puddle of water and spun out,” explained Opai, who came in 6th at the last AKOC in Macau. “I was too much in a haste. I should have been more patient and be more focused. ”

Fighting spirit right to the death – check.

Kartmaster Drakar Senior Driver – Anderson MartonoKartmaster Drakar’s Anderson Martono, from Indonesia, finished 8th. “My own performance was average as the conditions constantly changed. My driving in the wet in not as good as on the dry.  I need more practice in the wet.”

Kartmaster Drakar Senior Driver — Julien FongTeammates Singaporean Julien Fong, 19, and Filipino Juan Antonio L. Carcel, 16, also did not complete the race. Juan Antonio, however, still qualified for the “Petron Super Karting Championship” as he took a double entry and got 3rd position from his pre-final timing.

Julien Fong said “Good but disappointed from various incidents. Pace was there for sure, but incidents in every race cost me the weekend. Only heat 2 was clean where I ended up 5th. ” .

Juan Antonio L Carcel, won 3rd place for “Petron Super Karting Championship”

Juan Antonio L Carcel, won 3rd place for “Petron Super Karting Championship”

Antonio on the AKOC race, “I think I gave my best, from break-in to the race. My output, to me, was very good. Although I qualified 13th in the time trial, I managed to bring myself to 7th after the heat. I maintained my position in the pre-final. It is just that my air box got flooded in the final which caused me not to finish.”

These heartware qualities shone through at Carmona, and it is proof that there is silver lining beyond the dark stormy clouds in the Philippines.

Kartmaster Drakar Co-Team Principal— Mr. Roland Chong“I am pleased to see the boys take the battle right to the end despite the conditions,” said Kartmaster Drakar co-team principal Roland Chong.  “It is clear that our technical staff had done a brilliant job in the set-ups of the cars. And I have to commend our drivers for pushing their limit and rising against the odds. Of course we would love to have earned more podium finishes. But more importantly, we saw the fighting spirit, the constant quest for improvement and insatiable thirst for success from the boys.  “These qualities will stand us in good stead in future.”

2012 AKOC Rd Two at Carmona Racing CircuitKartmaster Drakar would like to specially thank our sponsors for their support, all the mechanics for their hard work and setting up the karts right, and JP and his crews for their impeccable hospitality, and keeping the team dry from the wet weather.

Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team will return to competition in Round 2 of the SKC next month.

Photos of the AKOC Rd 2 Final Race can be found here
Photos of the AKOC Rd 2 Pre-Final Race can be found here
Photos of the AKOC Rd 2 Consolidated Qualifying Heats can be found here

All photos by Jet Rabe. Copyright and property of Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team.