PETALING JAYA: Thailand is back as one of the hosts for the 2014 Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) after a 13-year hiatus.
Organisers Two Wheels Motor Racing Sdn Bhd (TWMR) said that the newly-completed Buriram Circuit in Thailand has been slotted for the penultimate round of the championship from Nov 7-9. (Buriram is about 410km north-east of the Thai capital of Bangkok.)
“We are pleased to announce that Thailand has been included in this season’s calendar and the riders are excited to race there,” said promotions director Ron Hogg on Thursday.
“Thailand has always been on the high-priority list to host the championship, given its huge motorsport following and large segment in the world motorcycle market, but the lack of infrastructure could not accommodate the ARRC in the past decade despite the country having produced Asian SuperSports 600cc champions such as Decha Kraisat and Chalermpol Polamai.”
The battle for two wheels supremacy gets under way this month with the Sepang Circuit hosting the opening round from April 18-20. Indonesia will host the second leg in Sentul (June 13-15), followed by the Japanese races at the Autopolis (Aug 15-17) and Suzuka (Sept 5-7) circuits respectively.
Thailand’s Buriram Circuit has been slotted for the penultimate round while the floodlit Losail Circuit in Qatar will host the season finale for a fourth consecutive term from Dec 11-13.
Provisionally, this season will see a total 53 entries across the board with 22 riders in the SuperSports 600cc, 14 in the Underbone 130cc and 17 young hopefuls in the Asia Dream Cup.
The SuperSports 600cc race will be wide open following reigning champion Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman’s move to the Moto2 World Championship. He is succeeded by long-time rival Mohd Zamri Baba in the Honda outfit while heavyweight Katsuaki Fujiwara and former MotoGP rider Makoto Tamada remain among the favourites for the championship.
Adding to the intensity, Mark Aitchison will make his SuperSports 600cc debut in Sepang and the Australian is expected to shake up the grid with his vast experience, having competed on production machines in the World Superbike Championship.