Racing can be a bitter pill to swallow. How so? Well, when everything seems to be going alright and in the final race that determines the weekend’s winners, all hell breaks loose. This was the reality for Praga Asia in Round 2 of the Asia Max Challenge. We were quick in the heats. We always fought it out with the lead pack. But in the final, it was not meant to be.
This round, Praga Asia fielded three karts with Senna in DD2 while Timothy and James competed in the Senior category.
Senna’s weekend looked strong. Here’s how it went:
“My Qualifying was pretty good, we were 2nd only by less than 0.1s off the pole sitter.
For heat 1 we had a great race. We managed to pass the pole guy early and held the position until the chequered flag.
Heat 2 was also pretty good. We took the lead straight away from the start and kept it until the chequered flag. But the steward amazingly decided to give me a 5-position penalty for being too aggressive at the start. A new experience for me for sure.
I started 3rd in the pre-final had a quite long battle for 2nd which allowed 1st place driver to pull away. In the end, I did not have enough time to catch him.
In the final, we had a good speed. After starting 2nd, we closely followed the 1st driver and when the tire temperature reached their optimum, I was catching up really quickly. But then the throttle cable jammed and I was forced to hit the barrier. I managed to continue, using my hands to pull the throttle, until the cable completely snapped off. I somehow found it in me to finish the race because the points were important.
Yes it was a difficult weekend for me but I’m very sure I will bounce back stronger for the next round, with an even stronger throttle cable.”
James’ weekend did not end well. Here’s how it went:
“I Qualified 6th, 0.3s behind the leader. I didn’t think too much about it, we had a whole weekend to find the extra time.
Heat 1 went well for us. Made a good start, fought it out for a bit with Alex Yoong’s son Alister before making my way up to 4th. We didn’t gain much on the lead pack as we were definitely running the wrong ratios.
Heat 2 didn’t go as well as the first heat that’s for sure. Although we made the changes to make up for our gap, I had a real rookie moment. I forgot to open up the radiator cover causing my engine to run at higher temperatures. This made my engine sluggish but just enough for me to not notice. Plus, I was fighting it out with the 4th and 5th placed drivers, causing me to forget about my temperature readings. I ended up finishing 6th.
The next day looked good with a start in 3rd place for the pre-final. We knew we had the pace to stay with the lead pack. After a good start and maintaining my 3rd place, I followed 1st and 2nd as closely as possible. However, 4th place was right behind and didn’t let me go. He eventually passed while making his way to 2nd. I finished 4th, but right behind the leaders, and far away from 5th.
The final was a hot sunny session with no rain in sight. New tires, the best setup we had up to that point, and an eager pack of racers ready to fight it out. My start was good, maintained 4th and kept a close watch on the leaders – who had gained a bit of a gap. By lap 5, I was closing in on them while they were fighting it out. My plan was to wait till about 5 laps until the end and hopefully someone takes the other out before that.
In lap 10, my chain snapped. And that was the end of my weekend. Life is a (#$$* sometimes.”
Timothy was the only Praga Asia driver to walk away with a trophy. Here’s how it went:
“The pace in qualifying was not superb as I was running a different setup.
In the heats, the engine started losing power which meant that the kart wasn't capable of being in the front pack.
On Sunday, it was decided there needed to be a change with the engine but unfortunately, it was not in time for the Pre-final.
In the final, I still faced engine problems but luckily I was able to cruise back and finish the race taking 5th place in the Malaysian Rotax Championship.
I'm very thankful for the hard work the team put in this weekend but however bad luck does strike.”
This was Timothy’s last round for Praga Asia and we would like to thank him for all that he has done on and off the circuit.
Despite the tough reality on-track, off it was a completely different story. For Round 2, Praga Asia had the prestigious opportunity to work with TOC and their talented students. Through our new partnership with Aylezo Motorsport, TOC has also become our associate in which they help fill our karting engineer vacancies in return for real-life work experience.
We were joined by Low Siew Tim, Kenny Seow Weng Leong, Ooi Yuan Zhang, Chuah Chong Yew, Mohd Azim Ikhwan, and Abimayu Bharthy A/L Ganesan. All of whom are current TOC students undergoing their motorsport syllabus.
For a bunch of fresh faces who have never really seen or touched a go-kart other than at a fun-kart track – these guys performed as though they’ve been doing it for years. TOC must be doing something right at their campus because every one of them worked hard, smart, and efficiently. Granted they were learning on the job, every hour was a class in itself, but by Friday evening (practice started Thursday) these guys were doing engine changes with supervision. Any team would be lucky to find such capable individuals. Praga Asia just so happened to land them all.
Racing can be a bitter pill to swallow. When we’re underperforming and the results don’t represent our true abilities, racing almost seems pointless. What is man’s need for speed? Why do we have to go around in circles to prove something? Because we compete. It is in our physical nature to be the strongest, smartest, and in our case – the fastest. The fastest on our own two feet. The fastest on a horse. The fastest in a go-kart. And when we win, racing will be the sweetest part of our lives.
And then there’s Aldrin.