2020 hasn’t been kind to motorsports, and Malaysia was no different. With the Shell MotoGP race being cancelled, motorsports action at Sepang looked to be all but ceased for the year. Then, MSF came along as a lifesaver tossed into the water to burn some rubber into the asphalt of our national circuit. Over 200 participants took part in this year’s edition of the annual Merdeka Race, which ran place behind closed doors under strict SOP’s required under RMCO guidelines.
Over the Merdeka weekend, MSF organised endurance races in five different categories, namely Super Street, Super Production, Saga Cup, Masters, and the Malaysian Championship Series. Day 1 saw MSF Super Production Enduro race run first, which saw Hazrin Mad Kaidi in the Binjai JMS Toyota Levin BZR take the win, followed closely by Chi Boon Poi/Ahmad Ridhwan’s Honda Civic EK. The Kegani Racing Toyota Levin AE111 of Kenny Lee came home in the third position for the ST1600 class. Over in the ST2000 class, Faizal Naim and Akina Teo took the victory for Millenium Motorsport with their Honda Civic EG, while the pair of Toyota GT86’s from RBM Motorsports piloted by Fahrizal Hassan/Adrian Henry Silva and Chan Choong Ming/Aaron Foong rounded up the podium.
The excitement of Day 1 continued with Race 1 of the rapid Malaysian Championship Series, with the Touring Production class won by R Engineering’s Lai Wee Sing in the only Honda Civic FC 1.5 Turbo on track. The podium positions were hotly contested with second place Akid Azlee and his Sitty Racing Honda Civic FD2R finishing just seven-tenths behind Lai. In contrast, third place Mohd Fikri Rahim from BHP Racing finished a further 3.7 seconds behind. In the SP 1 class, BHP Racing’s Hanafi Husin/Hayden Haikal won with their Honda Jazz, Project E’s Mun Yi Quan/Mark Darwin came in 11.4 seconds behind in second. In a class chocked full of Honda’s, Suzuki Swifts dominated the MTC class, with Al-Farouk/Sim Kwong Teck taking the top step of the podium for 23 Motors.
Day 1 came to a dramatic close with the MSF Saga Cup. Split into two 45-minute segments, with a 10-minute break in between. The drama-filled enduro race was not lacking in action, from a flaming race car on the back straight, flying tyres and even a race car ending up on its roof just to mention a few. The race was won by Muhammad Shafiq Shaiful/Hafiz Bachok, followed by runner up Tan Chaw Wei and third place Mohd Noor/Shaiful Zamri.
Day 2 began with Race 2 of the Malaysian Championship, which again saw the Honda Civics dominate the front. Wenso Racing’s Amirul Hafiz/Azlan Malik took the top step while Lai wee Seng’s FC Civic 1.5 Turbo took second. Brendan Paul Anthony/Bradley Benedict won the SP1 class for team Dream Chaser with Muhammad Amirul and Shazull Hisham/Mohd Syahrizal completing the podium. Over in the MTC class, Al-Farouk/Sim Kwong Teck and 23 Motors once again took victory finishing over a lap ahead of second-place Farid Sani/Victor Cheong from Kegani Racing.
Further in the day, racers from MSF Super Street category took to the track and put up quite a show. Wenso Racing was having a fantastic day with Shahrin Kamaruzzaman/Calvin Wong taking the overall victory in their FD2 Civic. Desmond Yee from N1 Pracworks and Galvin Mun from Millennium Motorsports completed took the remaining podium positions. Over in the Proton 1800 category, Alastair Lim took the top step almost a minute ahead of second-placed Alban Raymond.
The climax of the entire Merdeka weekend was the MSF Ultimate category, which featured some of the fastest race cars in the country. It was a three-horse race from the start between the Cupra Leon TCR of SIC Viper Niza driven by Adam Khalid and a pair of Civic EG6s; one from team Fawster 22 ProShop driven by Faidzil Alang and the other from FAST Autoworks piloted by Pee Sau Peng.
It was a close-fought battle between the three drivers for the first five laps. Not long after, the sheer pace of Adam and Faidzil was more than what Sau Peng and his Civic could match. Faidzal and his blue Civic EG looked dominant up front, lapping backmarkers easily and extended the gap between him and Adam’s Leon TCR. Lady Luck, however, played her hand to force Faidzil into the pits with gearbox issues.
It was a race of attrition with only 15 of the 37 registered racers finishing the race. Gilbert Ang, who took over the wheel from Adam Khalid in the second stint, brought home victory in the Cupra Leon TCR. Malaysian Championship category winner, Wenso Racing’s Amirul Hafiz/Azlan Malik came in second overall, snatching the Ultimate Touring class win.
All in all, the Merdeka Race was a resounding success and is a testament to the passion we Malaysians share for motorsport. Despite all that has occurred in 2020 that has dampened the spirit of sports in Malaysia, this event brought together petrolheads from all walks of life to celebrate our national day the only way they know how…and that’s racing!