PETALING JAYA: Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia riders Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Mohd Emir Firdaus Hasan pulled the rug from under a host of Japanese riders to win the 4-Hour category of the 34th Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance Road Race in Japan yesterday.
The duo, also team-mates in the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championships, completed 99 laps in 4’01:38.151, ahead of team Business Rariat & TSR riders Kazuhiro Kojima and Taiko Sato.
Lead rider Azlan started the race well but, being not familiar with the Suzuka track, he allowed pole-sitter Kazuhiro to seize the lead.
For the majority of the four hours, the Malaysian riders, who exchanged places six times to ride the bike, concentrated on maintaining their position in second place until the last 30 minutes.
Azlan, known for his aggressive riding style, managed to overtake Kojima in the final lap.
“After weeks of preparation, we finally did it. We owe this to Boon Siew Honda Racing, our engineers and Harc-Pro ... who have all helped us a lot,” said Azlan.
The duo have had no experience racing in an endurance event but they were ecstatic with their win in Japan.
“It was tough against the Japanese riders ... the hot weather didn’t make it any easier for us.
“Despite all that, we had a solid strategy, maintained our positions, preserved the tyres and did not crash,” said Azlan.
Emir, meanwhile, said he was more than happy with the win.
“Winning the 4-Hour endurance race will remain a memorable moment for me,” he said.