11 March 2014

Asia Max Challenge 2014 (Round 1)

A Harrowing Experience

Asia Max Challenge 2014 (Round 1)
8-9 March 2014, Malaysia Sepang International Karting Circuit

It was a miracle that Jon suffered only minor injuries and a muscle pull after he was flipped out of his kart and took a few tosses and turns before landing on the grass patch during the Pre-Final race. This is his first (and hopefully the last) major accident!

He was limping as he returned home on Sunday night. As the pain on his right leg became more serve and unbearable, he was rushed to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment at midnight. An injection gave him immediate relief for the pain and an X-ray was done on his pelvic and right thigh. Fortunately, there was no sign of tear or fracture.

We would like to thank everyone for your concern. Jon is now resting and having “fun” with his crutches while recovering. For sure, he will be back in round 2.

Despite the accident on Sunday morning, he managed to continue and finish the Final in the afternoon. Below is a recap of the race:

Picture courtesy of www.rotaxasia.com (Mr Ben Leong) 

Picture courtesy of Mr Edi Imola Batrawan

It has been almost two months since Jon last raced in the Rotax Invitational Race in January. In this first round of the 2014 Asia Max Series, it will be the first time he is racing on a new ART kart. Still new to the Team, getting the good set-up will prove to be a challenge. But, none of us are prepared for what eventually happened in the Pre-final race.

The team reached Sepang on Thursday evening just to locate the tent and detach the caravan. Practise sessions started on Friday with all the Juniors, Seniors and  DD2s grouped together. Jon tested various set-up using previous race tires at first. In the afternoon after lunch, new set of tires is used to gauge his position. A mistake was made by the mechanic in adjusting the kart front tires camber due to unfamiliarity, the new tire testing was not done properly. Based on Jon’s timing, he is still about 0.5sec away from the front pack. The Team retested again but just could not improve.

On Sat morning, Qualifying was held after lunch time when the track was already very hot. Jon was not able to drive this new kart to his limit as he felt as if there were no grip at all. His Qualifying time was even worse than yesterday’s new tire testing lap time thus only managed 28th position from 33 drivers. Soon after that, the mechanic frantically change some minor set-up before Heat 1. Heat 1 went smoothly without much incident and Jon managed to climb up to position 18th.

Heat 2 was held on Sun morning and Jon also had a good race to complete the race at 19th. Starting from 18th in the Pre-Final, Jon was hopeful because the mechanic has made a major set-up change to counter his grip problem. It was a good start and Jon has already overtaken five drivers after 2 turns. The drivers bunched up as they approached the tight Mickey Mouse section but Jon managed to squeeze through nicely too. As he power forward, Jon’s right rear tire caught the front tire of the kart besides him. This causes the kart to tilt sideways and flip up in the air. Jon has lost control completely as he flew out of the kart and landed besides the track. The kart somersaulted and came to a halt eventually. Luckily, all the karters coming through managed to avoid hitting him. The race was red flagged as the ambulance was rushed into the track. Jon was stretchered off into the ambulance and he was brought to the medical center for observations. After the doctor inspected him, Jon was diagnosed with some muscle injury only. It was quite a miracle that the injuries he sustained are not that serious and the doctor released him limping back to the pit.

The mechanic repaired the frantically to prepare it for the Final. It is up to Jon if he still can race or not as he is still suffering with pain on his thigh and  calf. Eventually after putting some ice to reduce the pain, Jon was determined to perform.

Starting from the back of the group, Jon was prepared to just complete the race without much expectations or stop if he feels unable to continue. With determination, not only that he managed to complete the race, Jon was able to fight with other drivers and eventually finished at 18th position.

Motorsport is a dangerous sport but the thrill of high speed and winning is what draws Jon to it. He will learn to be stronger and continue to pursue his passion.

more pictures of the race can be viewed here (facebook of Rotax Max Challenge)

click here to watch the video (total length of the video is 13.5mins, accident happened at 7min of the recording)

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