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HONDA dominates round 1 in The Asia Road Racing Championship 2022

Opening

Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA, a team formed when Honda’s Asia and Oceania subsidiaries joined forces, fielded the prodigy Zaqhwan Zaidi for the 2022 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship for the Asia Superbike 1000cc category.

In 2019, Honda Asian Dream Racing (HADR) finished in its inaugural class ASB 1000 class in the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) with a remarkable 4th position in the team overall championship standings, while its sole rider Zaqwan Zaidi finished 3rd in the rider championship.

Meanwhile, Boon Siew Honda fielded 2 teams in the 2022 ARRC, joining the SuperSports 600cc, and Asia Production AP250cc class as the focus of the team’s talent development programme after 2 years break due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Boon Siew Honda Racing Team continued to challenge the SS600 with Helmi Azman and the return of Khairul Idham Pawi also known as SuperKIP to the starting grid. Even with Azroy missing out due to Covid-19, the current lineup showed that the team is capable to secure the SS600cc class title using the latest CBR600RR racing machine, which makes its debut this year.

In addition, Idemitsu Boon Siew Honda Racing Team fielded Idlan Haqimi who will be competing in the AP250 category.

Qualifying

On a day, the super-hot weather was hotter than the official test and practice day, causing some worry within the team. But during qualifying, Zaqhwan Zaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA took the fastest position in the final practice of the day when he logged in at 1:35:894s.The rider who has been checking in third in both practices 1 and 2 found his pace in the final session, beating his competitors to the draw before retreating for the day. The timing seems to have improved even without the use of the qualifying tires for Zaqhwan.Helmi Azman of Boon Siew HONDA Racing Team managed to clock 1:39.212s and took the 4th position on the grid. Helmi has been consistent in terms of timing from the previous day of practices with some tyre and suspension adjustments made.Teammate Khairul Idham Pawi of Boon Siew HONDA Racing Team, coming back from retirement, managed to clock 1:40.167s and took the 11th spot.Meanwhile, Idlan Haqimi of Idemitsu Boon Siew Honda Racing Team fielded who challenged for the AP250 category managed to clock 1:53.928.

Race 1

A well-planned Zaqhwan’s move with his blazing speed under a scorching sun earned him the victory for Race 1 of the ASB1000 category in the season-opening Asia Road Racing Championship round. Zaqhwan, riding the Honda CBR1000RR-R machine, timed his move to precision when he rode steadily and showcased his flawless tactics for the first seven laps before moving ahead into the top two positions.

The heat was on between Zaqhwan and another rider towards the end of the race. The poleman managed to maintain a position at top speed through 11 laps. It was a switch of back and forth between the two before Zaqhwan pulled off his manoeuvring skills until the last turn before speeding off to the finish line clocking at 21:04:947s.

Fellow national Helmi Azman took 2nd in the SuperSports 600cc. Helmi who rode the CBR600RR, worked up his speed close behind the leading rider. By the midpoint, it was a neck-to-neck battle. He steadily kept pace with the front group to finish impressively in 2nd and clocked 20:03:234s.

Race 2

Zaqhwan Zaidi’s target to finish back-to-back wins from pole position for Round 1 will feel hard done by as he was less than two-tenths of a second from the leading rider to clinch another the top spot for the 2nd day running.

Zaqhwan was on the brink of notching his second straight win in the Asian Road Racing Championships, but he was pipped to the finish line at the last minute sadly had to settle 2nd best this time around.

Concurrently, Helmi Azman of Boon Siew HONDA Racing Team made a triumphant win when he emerged fastest in the SS600 category, ahead by a blistering 4.9 seconds. The race flagged off to a highly competitive battle among riders of great calibre while Helmi struggled to keep his pace up for the first five laps.

A mistake from the leading rider after he took a fall consequently opened the path for Helmi to take on the lead at full speed. The Honda CBR600RR rider then picked up his pace while he peeled further ahead from the trailing riders.

By the final lap, it was a hard-earned win for Helmi. He rode assuredly with confidence and improved well from Race 1. Clocking in at 19:59:528s the rider fondly known as an Underbone rider claimed victory in the SS600 category. Crossing the finish line almost five seconds ahead of second-place to claim his first-ever win in the SS600 category.

Closing

Overall, it was double joy for the Malaysian Honda Riders as they manage to dominate sunny Buriram, Thailand, in Round 1 of the Asia Road Racing Championship 2022 in both Race 1 and Race 2.

Zaqhwan and Helmi set the tone for a strong start this season as they both sit atop the ASB1000 and SS600 classes respectively with 45 points obtained from the opening round. Although there is a long way to go, this will certainly put them in a comfortable position ahead of what is expected to be a challenging season ahead in the ARRC.

Overall, the Malaysian Riders have waved the Jalur Gemilang proudly and embossed their spot under the hot scorching sun in Buriram on top of the very exceptional performance of the opening round. With these triumphs, they have surely set an exciting build-up to create an intense 2nd Round on May 27-29 in Sepang. Congratulations to Zaqhwan and Helmi!

RoundCategoryTeamRiderRace 1Race 2
1AsiaSuperbike 1000ccHonda Asia-Dream 
Racing with SHOWAZaqhwan Zaidi1st2nd
1Super Sports 600ccBoonsiew HONDA 
Racing TeamHelmi Azman2nd1st
1Super Sports 600ccBoonsiew HONDA Racing TeamKhairul Idham Pawi5th5th
1Asia Production 250ccIDEMITSU Boon Siew Honda Racing TeamIdlan Hakimi11thDNF