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!

Kartmaster Drakar’s Jon Lee cruises from pole to podium

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.

Determination pays for Kartmaster Drakar’s Josh Lee

2012 Rotax Asia Max Challenge (RMC/ACM) Round 5, PEKAN, PAHANG, 9 September 2012 – What do you do when you start a race at the back row of the grid? Give up, or hope for the best?

For Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team’s Josh Lee, the answer is a no-brainer.
“I’m already way back on the starting grid. It can’t be any worse than that. The only way is up, isn’t it? said the cherubic 10-year-old.

It was this spirit of optimism that reaped rich rewards for the young driver, who was racing in Round 5 of the 2012 Rotax Asia Max Challenge last Sunday at the semi-street Inderapura track at Pekan, Pahang.

Josh, the only Singaporean racing in the 2012 Rotax Asia Max Cadet Category featuring 14 drivers from five countries, earned an impressive 5th position and took his place among the winners on the podium.

Josh’s father, James Lee hard at work setting the kart right for Josh. His constant dedication has paid off.

But, behind the glory and celebration was a story of unyielding determination borne out of pure exasperation. After impressing during practice and qualifying, a frustrating pre-final saw a rival collided with Josh from the side while attempting an overzealous overtaking move. Shaken, the Singaporean re-started his kart and continued racing. He finished 11th out of 14 drivers in the pre-final.

Josh putting the stickers in place which were peeling off due to the high speed on the track.

“I was disappointed, of course,” said Josh, who had finished 8th in the previous round at Sepang. “I did not cause the collision. It wasn’t my fault but I paid for his mistake.”

At that point, Josh could have been forgiven for giving up and settling for nothing. But he refused to go home empty-handed.

His one-man mission started in 11th position at the Finals. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Josh pounded his Micromax engine and his Tony kart roared into life. One by one, he slithered past his rivals and, by Lap 6, he had already skinned five drivers to move up to 6th place.

There, his old nemesis – the guy who crashed with him during the pre-final – was in his way once again. Revenge? Oh yeah. This time, Josh timed his assault to perfection, tailed his opponent for three laps and made the decisive move at the back straight.

Finally, Josh was 5th and never looked back.

“After a disappointing pre-final, I am delighted to earn a podium finish,” said Josh, who clocked a Final time of 12:03.411, behind race winner Presley Martono of Indonesia.

“I think I put on a good show despite all the odds stacked against me. I’m proud of myself that I never gave up.”

It was a no-brainer. Josh never would.

More photos of the race can be found here.

Josh Lee playing five ten with his fellow karting mates.

Kartmaster Drakar celebrate hard-earned One-Two-Three

Kartmaster Drakar Team in SKC Rd 2

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.

Kartmaster Drakar Senior Driver Opai NaufalThe 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.

Kartmaster Drakar Opai Naufal Marina F1 PitHis 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.

Opai Naufal SKC Rd 2 Champion“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.

Kartmaster Drakar Cadet Driver Josh LeeIn 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.

Josh Lee on SKC Rd 2 podium“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.”

Kartmaster Drakar Junior Driver Jon LeeHis 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.

Jon Lee at Marina F1 track“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.”

Kartmaster Drakar Junior Driver Santos BalaHis 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.

Kartmaster Drakar Veteran Driver Leon KhooIn 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 MechanicsKartmaster Drakar would like to thank all our mechanics for their tremendous hard work and effort setting the driver’s karts right.

Kartmaster Drakar VIP Tent at SKC Round 2We would also like to thank all our sponsors, family and friends who came down to watch the race and support us during the race.

Wine and Champagne fromAlso 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!

Wonderful people from CMPB

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-PBUrban Group — CMPB & The Straits Settlement

Kartmaster Drivers and friends savouring their lunch from CMPB!

Kartmaster Drivers and friends savouring their lunch from CMPB!

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.

The New Paper Sunday—Go Kart!

Miss Asyiqin from the New Paper explored the thrills of Go Karting with our Team at Kartmaster Drakar. Read about her interview with our drivers, our Team Principal, Mr. Roland Chong and also her first personal experience on go karting at Kartright Speedway!

The New Paper Sunday — Go Kart!