29 June 2015

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Rok Cup 2015 (Round 3)
27 June 2015, KF1 Circuit

picture courtesy of Mr Bernard Seah

After racing in round 2 of the Rok Cup, Jon experienced great pain on his right ribs. A visit to the doctor concluded that there was nothing to be alarmed about. The doctor said the pain was most likely caused by a muscle pull and that a good rest should heal it.

Our own evaluation is that Jon had probably been practicing too hard. His pre-race practices had lasted from 10am to 10pm, so it’s no wonder that the intensive training has taken a toll on both Jon and his race engine. Therefore, we decided to go easy during his preparation for round 3.

The first practice was carried out on Wednesday night (three days before race day) with the help of Mr. Imran Zaharias. Many people were shocked to see Jon, the CRG driver from Singapore, driving another new chassis (again)! Well, the reason is because the team sold the "one race chassis" which put him on the podium in round 2. The buyer had insisted on the chassis which Jon has driven instead of a brand new one.

This round 3 was raced for the first time in the clockwise configuration and it was interesting to see who performed well and who faltered. It was sunny skies throughout the whole Saturday making it easy for the mechanics to concentrate on dry settings only. The Senior DVS Qualifying was done in two sessions as it was stopped after a driver crashed at the last turn and then it was restarted again. During the first session, Jon was able to secure a provisional 2nd position. Unfortunately, in the next session, while he was just about to do his hot lap, the engine seized as he was about to take turn 2. As other drivers managed to better their times before the red flag came out again, Jon had to settle for 4th.

The team frantically removed the seized engine and exchanged it with another drawn engine. After that, the engine was briefly being run-in on the kart stand. At the same time, the carburettor settings were tuned slightly richer to allow a race cum run-in procedure for Pre-final.

In Pre-Final, Jon had a good start and was already in 3rd after turn 2. Subsequently he was able to pass the driver in front and started chasing the first position kart. As the carburettor setting is not ideal for hard racing, Jon was not able to follow the pole kart but he was still able to keep the third driver at bay. In lap 13, the driver behind tried to make a pass at turn 11 even though he was not close enough. The ambitious move resulted in Jon’s rear left being entangled with the kart from behind causing both karts to be passed by the forth driver. Luckily, Jon still managed to get the kart going and defended 3rd position till the end of the 16 lap race.

Final was held in the night with the track lights illuminating the whole circuit. Starting from 3rd, Jon was able to overtake into 2nd after the first lap but in lap 3, he lost the position back to the same driver. Even though Jon and the second position driver were tussling for positions, they were still able to close in on the pole driver. In Lap 8, the second position driver made a move on the pole driver but it did not go well as his kart stalled and ended his race. While this was happening, Jon took the opportunity to pass both of them at the same time. From then on, Jon just put in laps after laps of best times and started to pull away from the rest. After 20 laps of racing, Jon achieved his first race victory as a Senior after three months in this category. Nevertheless, the ROK cup podium positions are derived from both the Pre-Final and  Final points scored thus Jon was declared as the 1st runner up for this round 3. With this great result, Jon is now leading in the championship with still one more round to go in 2 weeks’ time.

Congrats to Team TPCRG for winning the “Best Team” award!

                                                         * STC Rok Cup - Round 3 Standings (courtesy of KF1's facebook)

Many thanks again to Team TPCRG and Team Principal, Mr. Lawrence for making this race possible!

After the month-long holidays, Jon will be back in school on 29 June. With less than a week’s break, the next race will be round 2 of X30 Challenge on 4 July 2015. 

16 June 2015

Asia Max Challenge (Round 4)

Asia Max Challenge
13-14 June 2015, Elite Speedway Malaysia

Asia Max Challenge (AMC) Round 4 held at Elite Speedway track on June 13th and 14th was a tough weekend for the team. Even though the race was held on the same track as the previous round but it did not help the team in terms of set-up at all. Due to the rainy season, the track condition has changed dramatically. The team has to find new set-ups all over again and it proved to be a challenging affair.

Even up till Qualifying on Sat morning, Jon and the team was not able to find a proper set-up for the kart. To make matter worst, the engine was misfiring thus resulting in Jon only managing to secure position 17th. In Heat 1 and 2, starting both from 17th, Jon was able to gain a few positions, securing 14th and 12th respectively. This combination of the two heats enabled Jon to start from position 14th for the Pre-Finals.

On Sunday morning, it was raining heavily but it soon stooped. The track was still wet for the warm-up session and the team changed the kart to wet settings. After the warm-up, the team waited till the last 10 minutes to convert back the kart to dry settings. Under the tight timeline and some confusions, the rear hubs were not changed to the correct ones. In the Pre-Final, Jon was not able to race all out as the kart rear tires were sliding around at most of the corners due to the wrong hub. This caused Jon to loose positions and ended at 15th eventually.

Upon returning to the pit, only did the team found out the mistake. The Final was held in the afternoon and most teams anticipated a wet race but the sky held. Starting from 15th, it was a good start without much incident. Jon was able to overtake a few drivers and at one point, he was at position 9th. Unfortunately, Jon was not able to defend his position on the 2nd last lap as his engine top speed loose out to the 2 drivers from behind. Eventually, Jon came back to finish at 11th spot, the highest spot among all the CRG drivers. It was not the result the team expected and it seems that there are still lot of work that need to be done on the chassis.

Next round will be held at Sepang. Unfortunately, the race dates coincide with Jon’s year end examinations thus he may not be able to race. The team will plan out if Jon can reach the track on Saturday for the races without the practice sessions.

31 May 2015

Rok Cup 2015 (Round 2)

New Team, New Hopes!

Rok Cup 2015 (Round 2)
30 May 2015, KF1 Circuit

We are extremely happy to share that Jon has been offered a full sponsorship by the newly appointed CRG dealer in Singapore – TPCRG. As a result, Jon will race at the ROK Cup in a brand new CRG chassis, courtesy of TPCRG. Under the new team led by Team Principal, Mr. Lawrence, Jon will be racing in the ROK Cup 2015 from round 2 onwards.

After installing the balloted engine, finding the best set-up on the new CRG KT2 was done on Friday. Sessions after sessions of practice that was divided between the Cadets and other categories, Jon was able to improve his pace. He was able to better the best lap time from last round winner by about 1.8 seconds. It was definitely a big margin comparing to the rest of the field. After nine sessions of testing, the team wrapped up the day full of confidence for the next day race.

*pictures (taken on the track) courtesy of Mr Bernard Seah

On Saturday morning, final preparations were made and Jon went for his warm-up. To everyone's surprise, the kart behavior has changed dramatically. With minutes left on the clock before the Qualifying, the mechanic frantically try to find out what was wrong. In the Qualifying, things did not improve as Jon only managed to secure 7th position. He found that the kart is completely different from the day before. Upon returning to the paddock, detailed inspection was done again. It seems that some of the set-up has been altered without the mechanic knowledge. The mechanic was tasked to reset all the set-up back to Friday's condition and hope that it would work out.

In the Pre-Final, Jon had a good start and found himself in 3rd after the first turn. It was an intense racing as he tussled with some drivers charging from behind but eventually secured 3rd. The Final was held in the evening after dinner. Jon feed backed that the kart has improved but it seems the engine is losing power. Not much can be done as no one is allowed to overhaul the sealed engine. In the Final, it was a good start as Jon was able to maintain his 3rd spot after the first few laps. As the race goes on, the engine loses power even more, especially on the bottom end. Soon, the rear pack was catching up and Jon conceded 3rd but continued to defend 4th till the end of the 20 laps. Based on the points system from both races, Jon is declared the 2nd runner up.

The target to achieve a podium was achieved!

Drivers from CRG Malaysia & Singapore on podium with
Team Principals Mr Imran Zaharias (extreme left) & Mr Lawrence (second from right).

Piston about to seize (loss of  power)

This good result has also catapulted Jon to 2nd in the championship. For sure, the team will continue to challenge for a better result next round. At the same time, it is necessary to rethink the strategy before the race day, especially on preserving the engine performance for the race.

“I feel sad to leave Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team (previously known as Drakar Racing Team). The sponsorship has supported me through five years of racing and played an important role in my achievements to date. Five years is a long partnership for any karter but it’s been a good run. On the other hand, I’m also pleased that TPCRG has come forward to support me in ROK Cup 2015. Although this is my first year in the Senior category but rest assured that I will do my best and continue to secure as many podiums as possible and make the new team proud," said Jon.

TPCRG Team Principal, Mr. Lawrence who handpicked Jon said, "TPCRG recognizes the potential of this aspiring driver. We hope with our guidance and support, he will show victory from the Podium of future international races. Jon is the latest driver from our string of talents which CRG Singapore provided the opportunity to compete in ROK Cup 2015. We believe with our continuous effort, this race season will be a stepping stone to achieve his goal of racing as his career.”

Jon with Team Principal, Mr Lawrence.

Look out for the next two rounds of the ROK Cup 2015:

Round 3 – 27 June 2015
Round 4 - 11 July 2015