Malkar Racing Aims Bigger in the MME
 

 

22nd July 2008, Sepang – Comparing themselves as an Air Asia carrier in a field of high-profile airliners, Team Malkar Racing from Johor Bahru is entering the 2008 Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) with a firm belief that they can make a similar impact as the low cost carrier in the aviation industry.

“We are like Air Asia; competing against the giants … like commoners competing against the rich and famous. But, we don’t want to think about all that; we just want to race and we believe that we can compete in the class,” said driver Hafiz Bachok.

Entering a Satria GTI 1.8 DOCH engine for Class B for production cars between 1601cc and 1900cc, Hafiz, who works as a supervisor in tyre company, would be partnering contractor Johar Hussin and teacher Azman Hussin, who is well-remembered within the MME circle for his infamous accident with ex Formula One driver Alex Yoong in the 2001 race.

“Believe it or not, we have been competing in this race since the first edition in 2000. Sometimes together; sometimes with different teams; but for sure, we will be there at the race. It’s a big event for us; it’s a massive event for many of the drivers.

“We race with limited budget; of course. But, we are as proud as everybody else to compete in this prestigious race. Every year, we geared our preparations and efforts for this event – the MME,” said Hafiz, who started racing at the age of 23.

The partnership of Azman, Johar Hussin and Hafiz of Malkar Racing Team and a long list of their budget racing teams represent the spirit and soul of the MME, which had successfully elevate the interest and standard of Malaysian motorsports to a new level.

Introduced at the turn of the millennium, the MME had progressed to become Asia’s biggest race with the average participation of 90 cars and 270 drivers every year. Last year, a total of 106 cars and 318 drivers registered for the race though only 77 cars and 231 drivers were allowed to compete as permitted by SIC’s circuit license.

Entering its ninth edition this year, the 2008 race would be held on August 30; flagging off at 11am and finishing at 11pm. Qualifying would be held on the preceding day on August 29 to decide the 77 starters as according to their classes.

“For many of us – the regular racers – the MME is a huge event for us. It’s unfortunate that it’s becoming more and more expensive to participate. Hopefully, the organizers could assist us – say like full sponsorship of race tyres to all those who qualified.

Largely due his team’s limited budget, Hafiz had yet to find himself among the podium winners in his eight-year participation in the 12-hour endurance race.

“I have plenty of bad, but memorable, experience competing in the MME. I had encountered mechanical problems, accidents. But, those things are part and parcel of motor racing. In the end, we had a great time racing among the best,” said the 31-year old Hafiz, who is married to a kindergarten teacher and has two children.

“Of course, she could not accept it at first. But, now, she supports me and I thanked her for her understanding. I just love racing – just like many of us who will do everything to put up a team for the MME,” Hafiz added.


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