Monday, October 12, 2009

Wildcard duo

Loose cannon acts as Mick Doohan's minder

The Press invite. Creative

Tamiya model kits, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson and Randy Mamola...and loose cannon's fling with motorbikes ended when the novice rider lost control of Bang Long's kapcai at Jalan Pawang. Luckily man and machine escaped unhurt. These days loose cannon is more comfortable driving his nine-year old Iswara. And his love for Tamiya plastic kits and radio controlled cars has been chucked into the memory scrapheap.

Cherished in his thought is the privilege of being the sidekick to Jamhariah Jaafar for the 1994 Moto GP, years before the F1 juggernaut reached Malaysian shores. Abdul Ghafar Ismail, assistant to Hishamuddin Aun at the Berita Harian sports desk then, gave loose cannon's race report the thumbs up.

Loose cannon will not be at the Moto GP on Oct 24 and 25. But two Malaysians - Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin - are the two wildcard entries for the 125cc race. Read the Bernama report below. Again there's the AirAsia branding, courtesy to one of the best marketers around, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes.

SEPANG, Oct 12 (Bernama) -- Two local riders would cherish their lifetime dreams of riding in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) when they were given wildcard entries for the race in Sepang on Oct 24 and 25.

Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin would represent the country in the 125cc race of the MotoGP, after coming through the wildcard programme with flying colours.

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Razlan Ahmad Razali said both riders would represent Air Asia Racing Team which uses expertise from Italian outfit Ongetta ISPA.

"Initially there were plans to field only one rider, but the determination and competency showed by both riders throughout the six months of training under the programme, forced us to include both of them," he told reporters here on Monday.

Razlan said dropping either one of them would be a big loss to the country's motorsports aspirations because both possess tremendous potential although Elly is 25 and Zulfahmi is just 18.

The last time Malaysia was represented in a MotoGP was when M. Meganathan competed in the 2003 edition in the 125cc while Shahrul Yuzy Ahmad Zaini competed in 2002.

"This is just the beginning and SIC is working towards securing more wildcard places for local riders through discussions with Dorna, who hold the rights for the World MotoGP.

"Maybe after this local riders will be able to compete in other races held abroad. Setting up a local team for the cause is on the cards. However, everything is still in the preliminary discussion stage, including talks on the extension of SIC's contract to host the MotoGP at SIC," he said.

The last Malaysian team that featured in the MotoGP was Team Petronas Sprinta TVK Yamaha in 2000.

Meanwhile, Air Asia Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said it would be a proud moment to see a local rider on the starting grid of the MotoGP this year.

"It will be a good example and Malaysians must be proud of their participation," he said.

For Perlis-born Elly, being selected to represent the country in the prestigious MotoGP has given him a major responsibility and hopes to do his best to make the grade.

"My first mission will be to complete the race and if possible snatch a point by finishing within the 15 spot. That will be a fantastic start for a wildcard.

"I feel more comfortable and at ease with my motorcycle now. I will use the next two weeks before the race to train hard and get used to it," he said.

Elly added that apart from getting used to his machine, he also need to be focused and maintain his physical and mental condition.

The Sepang race is the 16th round of the World MotoGP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lets hope the two will give the regular riders a hard time until the finish line and eventually get the points..Malaysia always boleh!