SRIPERUMBUDUR: It was Japanese rider Taiga Hada, the solo entry of Idemtsu Honda Racing India in the premier SuperSport 600 (SS600) class who helped Honda’s Indian team clinch the first ARRC podium at home during the fourth round of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) in progress at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) on Friday.
For 19 year old Hada, the day started with him qualifying 6th in the grid with the fastest lap time of 01.41.384. Hada made a strong start in Race 1 and soon started leading the ranks with Anthony West and his play-off keeping all on toes right till the finish.
Gaining the first podium of the championship for the solo Indian team, Hada finished 3rd. Winning 16 points in race 1, Hada is now with 40 points and in top 7 of the championship.
Meanwhile veteran Australian Anthony West plotted his way to victory. West rode a waiting race over 16 laps on his Yamaha, content to lie in third position after dropping two spots from his pole position start.
West, who earlier in the day set a record for fastest qualifying lap of 01:40.585 for pole position, made his move with about two laps from the finish to take the flag ahead of Malaysian Md Zaqhwan Zaidi and rising star Hada.
Speaking after the morale boosting podium, Hada said “Having scored double podiums in my previous outing at Madras Motor Race Track, I am very excited to register one of the third consecutive time. The support from the crowd was electrifying and that inspired me push harder in every corner. ”
Meanwhile in the Asia Production 250cc class, Rajiv Sethu, finished 13th in a grid of 24 for his first points this season. However, compatriot and team-mate Anish Shetty, 20, crashed in the eighth of the 12-lap race that Indonesia’s Rheza Danica Ahrens won for his fifth consecutive success in this category.
Commenting on the race, Sethu said, “While I had a bad start and I was confident of the setup of my bike. Too many riders crowding around me which kept pushing me outside of the racing line. But I kept my cool and kept gaining on everyone.
“Climbing 6 positions, I am ecstatic to score my first points for the season in front of the home crowd. My recent stint in the Thai Talent Cup has been a game changer, giving me more exposure to the highly competitive international racing. With this huge morale boost I will soak pressure better and push harder tomorrow.”
Meanwhile in the Underbone 150cc race, Ahmed Fazli Sham led a 1-2 for Malaysia as he snatched a dramatic, last-gasp win over Md Helmi Azman with Thailand’s Peerapong Luiboonpeng completing the podium.
The other two races of the intense day — the Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup (CBR 250) organised by MMSC and TVS One-Make Championship (Apache RR310) - could not be run following a heavy downpour soon after the 600cc race.
SuperSport 600 (Race-1, 16 laps): 1. Anthony West (Australia, Webike Ikazuchi, Yamaha) (27mins, 35.304secs); 2. Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (Malaysia, Musashi Boon Siew Honda) (27:35.629); 3. Taiga Hada (Japan, Idemitsu Honda Racing India) (27:36.885).
Asia Production 250 (Race-1, 12 laps): 1. Rheza Danica Ahrens (Indonesia, Astra Honda) (21:53.4); 2. Mario Suryo Aji (Indonesia, Astra Honda) (21:53.5); 3. Reynaldo Chrisantho (Indonesia, ONEXOX TKK Yamaha) (22:01.9).
Underbone 150 (Race-1, 10 laps): 1. Ahmed Fazli Sham (Onexox TKKR Racing Team, Malaysia) (19:02.205); 2. Md. Helmi Azman (SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda Racing team, Malaysia) (19:02.460); 3. Peerapong Luiboonpeng (Team One For All, Thailand) (19:02.502).