Ride on, Damok!

Milestone: Malaysia’s Syarifuddin Azman (centre) celebrating on top of the podium after taking his first ever win in the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship on Sunday.

PETALING JAYA: “This is for Malaysia!”

Up-and-coming rider Syarifuddin Azman dedicated his breakthrough victory in the FIM CEV Moto3 Junior World Championship at Catalunya Circuit in Spain on Sunday to the country.

The 19-year-old, fondly known as Damok, left it late as he handled the 10th turn on the final lap brilliantly to move from fifth to first before powering to a Race 1 triumph on his 17th start in the class.

The sole Malaysian and SIC Racing representative crossed the finish line in 29:32.533, ahead of second-placed David Munoz Rodriguez of Avatel-Cardoso Racing (29:32.715).

Unfortunately, Syarifuddin’s hopes of securing a double were dashed after he was forced to retire from Race 2. He was placed 13th before another competitor crashed into him.

Still, Race 1 itself was nothing short of spectacular as Syarifuddin had never finished on the podium before since his debut in the late 2019 season.

Syarifuddin’s best showing was last year when he finished ninth in Race 1 at the Jerez Circuit.

“I’m contented and thankful for today (Sunday), ” said Syarifuddin, who had raced a season in the European Talent Cup in 2019 before his promotion to Moto3.

“I won the first race but unfortunately, I crashed in the second race. Another rider crashed into me.

“My team and I worked so hard to find the right bike set-up all weekend. And it was all worth it.

“I would like to say thanks to my family, sponsors, team and friends. This trophy is for Malaysia!”

With 25 points secured from the weekend, Syarifuddin will surely aim to finish as strongly as possible in the five remaining legs of the season.

He has amassed 31 points to date to be placed 10th in the championship standings, and that’s already 13 more than what he earned in the entire season last year where he came in 19th overall.

In the Moto2 European Championship, Adam Norrodin bounced back superbly after crashing out in the Race 1 to secure a creditable fourth placing in Race 2.

He logged 30:22.746 to come in behind Spaniards Fermin Aldeguer (30:01.446) and Alfonso Lopez (30:07.282), who made it a 1-2 finish for Boscoscuro Talent Team-Ciatti, and Liqui Moly Intact SIC Racing teammate Lukas Tulovic (30:18.235).

It was nevertheless a solid outing for Adam, as he had finished no worse than a fourth placing in his first five races this season.

He came in third in Estoril, Portugal, in April and Valencia, Spain, last month, placing him fourth overall on 58 points.

“It’s quite difficult this time around in Race 1. I crashed whilst being in fourth place with four more laps to go. Nevertheless, I didn’t waste my chance in the second race and kept pushing harder, ” said Adam.

“I battled with Xavi Cardelus for fouth place and I managed to overtake him in the last lap. This round was a roller coaster for me and I really look forward to the next round.”

In the European Talent Cup (ETC), youngsters Sharul Ezwan Sharil and ETC debutant Hakim Danish Ramli also did not do too badly by coming in 14th and 19th respectively.

SIC Racing Team Manager Zulfahmi Khairuddin has hailed his riders’ outstanding perfomances.

“Today has been an amazing day for us at SIC Racing where Damok won the first race. I’m happy with the progress he made this week, ” said Zulfahmi.

“For Adam, it was not an easy weekend for him because he struggled with the bike. We could not find the right bike set-up for him. He crashed in Race 1 but he managed to finish fourth in the second race.

“Honestly, we were expecting more this weekend but I’m happy that everyone in the team worked really hard.

“For the ETC boys, this is an important experience for Hakim Danish to race with the other European riders. All in all, it was a positive weekend and hopefully, we can keep up the momentum for our next race.”

The CEV Repsol Series will resume at the Algarve International circuit in Portimao, Portugal, from July 2-4.

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