Bogor, 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.
As 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.
Khoo, 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.
Jon, 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.
“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.”
Indeed, 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.
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.”
Indonesian-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.
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.
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.”
The 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.
“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.
SINGAPORE, September 30, 2012: Call it third time lucky if you want, but Jon Lee is having none of it. The Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team ace will tell you his first win of the season at the Singapore Karting Championship (SKC) was not down to luck. Far from it. It was a culmination of hard work, near misses and countless hours on the track since April.
Jon, 13, clocked a time of 14:31.801 to fend off challenges from team-mate Gabriella Teo (2nd:14:32.141) – who was making her SKC debut in Kartmaster Drakar’s colors – and Amin Noorzilan (3rd: 14:32.402) of AutoInc to win Round 3 of the SKC Junior category at Kartright Speedway on Sunday.
Jon, the SKC Cadet champion last season, had initially found his graduation to the Junior race this year hardly a walk in the park. The higher level Junior category boasts several top drivers like Amin and Gabriella – both older and more experienced – and the heavier steering wheel took some getting used to.
It took Jon, well, three races to suss it out.
“I came in second in Round 1 and fourth in Round 2,” said Jon. “I spent a lot of time training, preparing and getting used to the new set-up. After the first two rounds, I gained valuable experience and learned from it. This is the result of hard work from the whole team.”
Starting from pole after an impressive qualifying weekend, Jon cruised through his race adopting a defensive strategy.
“I know that Amin and Gabriella are faster than me,” the Victoria School student said. “I cannot afford to let any of them overtake me. So I drove carefully, shut all possible angles, and it worked.”
The race may be a cruise, but it was not without it’s share of thrills and spills. Jon’s Kartmaster Drakar team-mate Santos Bala Kerisan retired after seven laps after an accident saw him thrown out of the car and halted the race temporary. Luckily, he was unscathed.
In the Cadet Category, an engine failure right after the formation lap saw Jon’s younger brother, Josh, retire from his race.
In the Senior Category, Opai Naufal consolidated his position on top of the drivers’ championship by coming in second behind Randall Ng of BMS Racing. He had won back-to-back titles in Round 1 and Round 2 this season.
In the Masters category, Kartmaster Drakar’s Leon Khoo finished second.
Kartmaster Drakar co-team principal Roland Chong was pleased with his drivers’ performance. “I felt Jon did really well today to win his race,” he said. “His brother Josh’s blow-up is just plain unlucky. Overall, I am pleased.”
Congratulations to all drivers for their hard work and effort, never-say-die spirit and let’s strive to do better next time! We are thankful for all our Kartmaster Drakar mechanics for their hard work for setting the karts right!
Kartmaster Drakar will next race in Round 4 of the SKC on Oct 26 & 27th to be held at the F1 pit.
Photos of the race can be found here.
SINGAPORE, 19 AUGUST 2012: Talk about character. The never-say-die spirit. The refusal to yield to the stiff competition. The steely determination to prove everyone wrong. That’s Opai Naufal.
The 23-year-old put a miserable two months behind him with a spectacular win in the Senior Category at Round 2 of the Singapore Karting Championship (SKC) at the Marina Bay F1 Pit Circuit yesterday.
Opai had a torrid time at the Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC) the past two months, failing to meet his high expectations at both Round 1 in Macau in June and Round 2 in Manila last month. Inclement weather and self-enforced errors saw that the talented driver failed to earn a podium finish in both races.
But hell-bent on righting all that was wrong, Opai was determined to make his statement – Look out guys, he’s back.
His intent was clear right from the start. Flying off the blocks, such was his focus that he didn’t even notice race officials calling for another formation lap as he raced through his first two turns.
When the race officials were satisfied and race finally resumed, Opai, who started from second place, saw a gap in the first turn and went for the throat. He made his move, overtook the leader Thaddeus Lee from AutoInc, shut the door and never looked back.
Such was Opai’s domineering drive that the race officials could have given him the winner’s trophy there and then.
“I saw the gap and went for it,” said Opai, who now has two Senior SKC wins under his belt this season. “I told myself to be patient, drive carefully, maintain my lead and not make any mistakes. Then, in my last five laps, I went for broke.”
As his kart raced through the finishing line, Opai pumped his right fist repeatedly in the air in a show of unbridled joy.
“It has been a tough two months, with lots of disappointments in AKOC,” said Opai. “This win, I proved to everyone I still have the quality to be champion.”
Opai was not the only Kartmaster Drakar driver who has cause for happiness.
In the Cadet category, Josh Lee, 10, started the race in second spot and was coolness personified. He drove patiently and managed to hold off his rivals to keep his position to the end. It was his second second-placed finish of the SKC season.
“I drove okay and was more concerned about not making any mistakes,” said Josh. “The guy ahead of me was really quick on the track today, and the guy behind me was a big threat. So I just knuckled down and try and keep myself in second spot.”
His elder brother Jon Lee, 13, wasn’t that lucky. The talented Victoria School student started the Junior Category race in pole position, but dropped off the standings within the first few laps. He eventually finished 4th.
“I had to cede my pole position after the first turn and dropped back to 4th as I was trying to avoid a collision,” said Jon. “I managed to fight my way back to 3rd, but my brakes aren’t working very well and a slip in the later stages of the race saw me go back to fourth again.”
His Kartmaster Drakar teammate Santos Bala, also racing in the Junior Category, failed to complete an overtaking move and spun in the final lap and finished 6th.
In the Veterans’ category, Kartmaster Drakar’s Leon Khoo, 51, finished third to complete a happy day at Marina Bay.
“It was a brilliant day,” said Kartmaster Drakar’s co-team principal Raymond Low. “It was a fantastic team effort today and I am particularly pleased with Opai’s performance. I think this is a timely win for him, personally, and a big boost for the team.”
Kartmaster Drakar would like to thank all our mechanics for their tremendous hard work and effort setting the driver’s karts right.
We would also like to thank all our sponsors, family and friends who came down to watch the race and support us during the race.
Also big thanks to our sponsors, Bernard Magrez, Nicolas Feuilatte, Villa Maria, Beam Global for the excellent champagne and wine. Thank you, Shawn Lee from Pure Solution for your kind support and arrangement!
A big big big thanks to Mr. Khim Lee and his impeccable team during this busy period (eve of Hari Raya) for setting up the wonderful reception with delightful spread of food and drinks from CM-PB !
Kartmaster Drakar will next race in Round 3 of the AKOC in Manila on Sept 2.
More photos of 2012 Singapore Karting Championship Round 2 can be found here.
All photos by Jet Rabe. Copyright and property of Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team.
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.
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.
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).
“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.
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.
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.
In 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
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’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.”
Teammates 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. ” .
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.
“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.”
Kartmaster 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.