Another call for better facilities

Asha Hairy Hadhari

KUCHING: Interests and sponsorships alone are not enough to boost motorsports without the provision of standard facilities, says junior champion driver Asha Hairy Hadhari.

“To race outside the state, I need to train at home but somehow, I feel the facilities here are not helping with my preparations,” said the 16- year-old Formula KBS 2008 and Malaysian Junior Yamaha Cup 2009 champion.

“The temporary circuit at Sarawak Stadium does not have a runoff area and a gravelled bed in case racers lose control of their cars. So even during practice, I cannot afford any mistake.” He said this had prevented not just him but other racers as well from going faster.

“Our racing machines are not cheap and without proper safety buffers around the circuit, the fear of damage is a constant reminder to us not to go all out,” Asha said yesterday.

On whether his racing activities would affect his preparations for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) next year, he said he would Asha Hairy Hadhari make time to study “as education is my priority.” “Travelling for competitions requires me to find time to catch up with my studies but if there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.

He also called for more local motorsports events to be organised, saying it would be a good way to scout for more talents.

Meanwhile, his father Hadhari Husaini has a plan to keep Asha’s career on the right track.

“We want him to continue … that’s why we are sending him for a go-kart training stint in Shah Alam next month.

“As Asha will be in the senior category next year, I believe intensive training is necessary to bring him on the par with the more matured racers,” he said.

Hadhari hoped that more local teens would emulate Asha.

“We like to see more young Sarawakians in motorsports as we believe there are lots of talents here.” Alffian Yanto Kadri, who heads Viking Racing, Asha’s principal sponsor, said they were taking a different approach to keeping Asha in the sport.

“We are certainly not ‘striking the iron while it’s hot and leaving it when it’s cold.’ We want to help Asha attain his full potential in a sustained manner.” He believed Sarawakians were capable of proving themselves at international level, and this was why they were prepared to sponsor Asha.

Alffian also stressed the importance of having a proper circuit locally.

“With just a temporary circuit, Sarawak could produce a national champion like Asha … what more to say if there was a proper circuit,” he said.

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