PETALING JAYA: As the pandemic worsens and prolongs, sports is taking a beating.
While core sports supported by the government may skimp, the others who survive on their own, are facing far harder times.
Chief among them is motorsports, especially motor racing, which has a huge following among bikers around the country.
In the past decade, motorsports has risen as one of Malaysia’s most successful sporting endeavours.
The rise of Malaysian riders on the international stage has had much to do with a thriving domestic racing scene that continues to churn out viables.
Malaysia is the only South-East Asian country with a systematic rider development path that provides a platform for local riders from as young as six years old to the point when they are ready to make the big leap to the international stage.
This talent ecosystem is anchored by the Petronas Malaysian Cub Prix championship. Now in its 27th season, the championship has become the benchmark for underbone motorbike racing in the region and has succeeded in creating a self-sustaining motorsports industry.
Like all non-core sports in Malaysia, the championship relies heavily on corporate sponsors to keep this talent development path on track.
Should the industry collapse due to a loss of sponsorship, not only will thousands of engineers and team personnel find themselves jobless, but rider development efforts in Malaysia will be dialled back by at least a decade.
Designed on a sponsorship-model, the championship has plenty of strengths to offer its corporate partners.
In 2019, motorcycle registrations accounted for 43% of all vehicles in Malaysia – a market that the Cub Prix race interacts with on a daily basis.
It has a large television reach and strong social media following which allows the championship to act as a conduit between corporate partners and their target audiences.
While the races take a break due to the movement control order imposed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cub Prix fraternity encourage all to stay home, stay healthy and stay safe.