PETALING JAYA: Amidst the euphoria of Sepang International Circuit hosting its biggest ever total crowd of 170,000 for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, there was a sobering reminder of the risks one takes in the pursuit of glory in motor racing.
Rising star Danial Syahmi Sharil (pic) almost lost his life in an unfortunate incident in the season-ending round of the Asia Talent Cup (ATC) at Sepang on Sunday.
The 16-year-old was following race leader Haruki Noguchi closely in the final straight in Race 2 and looked set to overtake the Japanese to take the chequered flag.
But just as Danial pulled out of Haruki’s slipstream, the Japanese rider swerved to his left and clipped the young Malaysian, causing him to crash.
Danial was then ran over by another bike. He finished second in Race 1 on Saturday.
Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said Danial suffered serious injuries to his lower right leg.
“Danial was flown by heli-copter straight to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for immediate surgery to his left leg,” said Razlan.
“It is a serious injury as he had multiple fractures. I hope he can recover and not end his career like that.
“It is very sad as he is one of the riders we have been expecting to do well in the future.
“We had planned to move him up to the Red Bull (Rookies Cup) if he had won (at Sepang).
“He is one of the five riders that former Moto3 and Moto2 rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin has been developing since the end of last year (via Impian ke MotoGP programme).”
Haruki went on to cross the line first but was not credited with the win. Race officials found the Japanese guilty of irresponsible riding and he was slapped with a 27-second penalty, which moved him down to 12th in the final race results.
Danial had earlier won both races at the penultimate round at Buriram circuit in Thailand last month.
He ended the season fourth overall out of 22 riders in the series. The ATC is a feeder series for young riders hoping to work their way up to the MotoGP world championships.