Chennai : Veteran Australian Anthony West plotted his way to a brilliant victory, his third in the premier SuperSport 600cc this season to consolidate his top position on FIM Asia Road Racing Championship leaderboard at the MMRT, here on Saturday.
The 37-year old with a decade’s experience in the World Championship behind him, 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 19-year old rising Japanese star Taiga Hada who was representing the Idemitsu Honda Racing India team.
The Idemitsu Honda Racing India team had another reason to cheer as their rider in the Asia Production 250cc class, Rajiv Sethu, 20, 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.
In a thrilling finish 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 spotlight no doubt was on the SuperSport 600cc race that boasted of a quality grid with a mix of World championship riders and young guns, but ultimately, it was West’s craftiness and cool that won the day in tricky conditions due to light showers in some sections of the track
Earlier, in the Asia Production 250cc race, Shetty crashed in the eighth lap when he high-sided.
“There was an issue regarding the suspension and also my being too aggressive on the throttle which led to the crash. I damaged the left toe which is swollen, but I should be fine for tomorrow’s second race,” said Shetty who is in his maiden ARRC season.
Sethu said: “I had a bad start, but I gave my best, but other riders too were aggressive and better. However, today, I clocked my best ever time (01:50.555) on this track. Hopefully, I will perform better tomorrow.”
The other two races scheduled for the day – the Idemitsu Honda India Talent Cup (CBR 250) organised by MMSC and TVS One-Make Championship (Apache RR310) – could not be run today 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).