In an effort to raise the level of competition and overall series promotion, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) and Two Wheels Motor Racing (TWMR) have ventured into a collaboration to organise the Malaysia Superbike Championship (MSBK) beginning with the 2019 season.
TWMR is an established body that has vast experience in organising motorcycle race series, notably the Malaysia Cub Prix series and the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC).
The Cub Prix series was inaugurated in 1994 as a means for budding talents to race competitively using underbone motorcycles with smaller displacements on the national level. TWMR has stepped in to organise and promote the event since 1996.
The ARRC, started in 1996, is a regional championship that aims to bridge the gap to the world championship with competitions involving classes of ASB 1000, Supersport 600cc, Asia Production 250cc class and also an underbone class.
“This is exciting times for us as we have a very experienced partner to run the MSBK with us,” said SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Razlan Razali.
The collaboration to organise the MSBK will be for five (5) years beginning June 2019. The Malaysia Cub Prix and the ARRC have proven to be a good stepping-stone and grassroots programmes for riders in Malaysia and the Asian region as they make their way into the world championship.
Formally launched in 2015, the Malaysia Superbike Championship (MSBK) was created through a branding exercise of motorcycling competitions under the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) that was first organised by SIC in 2002.
After 15 years, the circuit decided on uplifting the image and status of the series to woo in more participation from corporate companies, racing teams and biking enthusiasts.
With bigger participation, SIC hopes to inject more excitement and creating greater interests from the main stream media especially television.
MSBK was effectively the country’s national championship for track motorcycle racing, with added excitement by participation of top international riders from the region.
Among notable riders that have come out from the championships to race on the world stage are Malaysians Shahrol Yuzy, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, Khairul Idham Pawi and Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, Ratthapark Wilairot (Thailand), Chris Vermeulen (Australia) and most recently Somkiat Chantra, Dimas Ekky Pratama, Kaito Toba and Kazuki Masaki.
Dato’ Razlan added that the collaboration would further cement the MSBK’s status as one of the top national championships in the country.
“We don’t claim to be the best in being a series promoter nor sentimental for holding on to MSBK (formerly known as MSS) since it was created in 2001. In the interest of Malaysian Motorsports, we rather that an entity such as TWMR with great experience in promoting series to take it over and collaborate with SIC to ensure that MSBK remains relevant and continues to contribute to the development of Malaysian Motorsports and complement other series such as Malaysian Cub Prix and Asia Road Racing Championship. We are hoping that with the expertise under TWMR’s umbrella, the MSBK will become a much better and more competitive and overall as an exciting and reputable event for spectators at the circuit – not only in Malaysia but also recognised as the best in the region,” said Dato’ Razlan.
“TWMR has the experience of running a high-level regional championship that has seen many riders make it into the world championship and SIC – in line with our aim to produce talents – would like to continue with this trend.
“We want the MSBK to grow bigger from what we had experienced before. In the last edition of the MSBK, we had 418 participants putting their best on the track and we hope for the numbers to grow even bigger from now on.”
“On behalf of TWMR, our objective is to help create a platform where Malaysian riders can be groomed further before they leave for the higher regional or international level championships,” added Ron Hogg, Director of Two Wheels Motor Racing.
“The MSBK can also be utilized as a hub for other Asian riders to hone their skills prior to their international debut”.
“In the first year of the collaboration, TWMR will maintain the classes available in the MSBK but the Superbike and Superstock classes will be merged into a single race. We had thought about removing the Superbike class this year, but to be fair to the competitors who have already prepared for the 2019 season, we decided to postpone the decision.”
“The future direction will be to have it as a single class with possible A & B sub-divisions to increase the competition level and following the direction of most championships in the world for this category. The Supersports A & B as well as the 250 A & B classes will remain at status quo. The technical regulations for the class will be similar to the ARRC regs,” Ron concluded.
The 2019 MSBK will run for four rounds, kicking off on 14-16 June together with the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (ATC) that will join as the support race and the season ends with double header MSBK Round 4 and 5 on Nov 8-10.
Round 1 (14 – 16 June 2019) – support race Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (ATC)
Round 2 (26-28 July 2019)
Round 3 (20-22 Sept 2019) – support race Asia Road Racing Championsip (ARRC)