I’m exhausted, sunburnt and totally thrashed, but it was all worth it.
The Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge was the first time I’ve organized a motorsports event but it was definitely one of the funnest events I have ever managed.
The venue for the event was the P SIC carpark at Sepang International Circuit, which is right next to the main entrance so everyone who was coming to watch Super GT stopped by to check out our race.
There were huge crowds in the afternoon as more and more people arrived at Sepang and I think the crowd motivated the drivers to push themselves harder and harder.
This is one of the first cars I saw arriving in the paddock early in the morning – Leona Chin’s brand new 2011 drift car.
Leona’s Nissan Silvia was definitely one of the most striking cars at Conemasters!
As I was walking around our paddock I spotted another Silvia, but this was a S15 and it belonged to veteran gymkhana racer Mike Ng.
After Mike’s Silvia, the next car I saw was this Hamann-kitted BMW M3 cabriolet and I was like, “Wow! People are bringing some serious machines to compete!”
The start of free practice was delayed because some assholes came to Sepang really early parked their cars on the course (even though JPM Motorsport had helped us to completely seal off P SIC the night before)
I don’t understand why some people would see a totally barricaded place and think that it would be okay to remove the barricades by themselves and park inside.
Oh well – when you are an idiot your car gets towed away. Hohoho
Do you see the red car hidden behind my Impreza? That’s Mike’s OTHER car – a race-prepped, fully stripped Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 7.
It is the most awesome Evo I have seen in Malaysia and I was so busy running the event that I didn’t have time to take any photos of it.
I definitely have to get Mike to bring his Evo out the next time I’m in KL so I can shoot some photos of it.
This is Jackson’s “new” Toyota Corolla KE70. By new I mean he just finished building it 2 days before Conemasters.
Jackson and I had been talking about him switching platforms from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive for a long time since I didn’t think there was anything else he could learn from continuing to drive his Satria. Hence this top-secret KE70 build.
I love classic JDM cars!
Here’s a look at P SIC, a good-sized carpark with a decent surface for all our shenanigans.
Jackson and I only saw P SIC a day before the event and had to design a course that suited all 3 different categories of cars and looking at the times that people were posting, I think we managed to do it.
One thing I wanted to do with Conemasters was to create an even platform for cars to compete. I’ve observed many gymkhanas where course layouts are biased towards small cars and very disadvantageous for bigger cars so from the outset our aim was to design a course where front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and all wheel drive cars would be evenly matched.
Having said that, the fastest car of the day was this tiny old-school Toyota Starlet that came all the way from Thailand!
Watching P. Kai drive was like watching magic and everyone was amazed at his car control. He won the front wheel drive category and it was very well-deserved.
One of the things that sets Conemasters apart from other gymkhana events is that we have commentary.
Commentating is one of the most important aspects of ANY sport (can you imagine watching F1, tennis or football without commentary?) and I wanted to create a live commentating experience for spectators at Conemasters and I think that this was a crucial part of what made the event such a fun one.
Commentating duties were handled by me and Jackson and I have to say I really enjoyed doing it!
Here’s Ramon’s M3 lining up at the starting line.
His car looked so majestic out there and I think most of the spectators had never seen anyone driving a BMW like that!
The M3 is kind of a heavy car and hard to get the tail out but Ramon handled his car perfectly and I got so excited every time he went round the course.
Here’s me lining up at the start. That’s right, I had to run the event, commentate, keep everyone happy AND drive.
After a couple of runs, this is what my tyres looked like.
The Impreza weighs 1400kg, so pressure/stress on tyres is pretty serious, especially when you are trying to make them do something they are not supposed to do (like drift)
Thankfully Ku Shahriel and Xian were on hand to help me make a quick tyre change.
I was also super lucky coz my tyres were sponsored by Soon Tyres in Kepala Batas.
Ah Soon and his boys worked until really late the night before I came down to Kuala Lumpur to help sort my tyres out so I am super grateful to them for their time and effort!
This is P. Tu, who came all the way from Bangkok to compete in Conemasters.
He shared a car with P. Kai (hence the 2 competition numbers on their car)
Leona striking a cute pose early on the morning. I was happy that she came to compete in the event and I was pretty sure she would walk away with one of the trophies until a little prick (Jackson) pulled off a crazy run late in the day and nudged her out of 3rd place.
Leona’s crew brought their own gas and lots of spare tyres. Me is jealous!
Fans were lining up to take photos with Malaysia’s best girl drifter after the race – me included!
This is P. Kai – fastest man of the day and the ultimate Conemaster.
That prize hamper from Würth has like RM1000 worth of good shit in there!
Despite only driving his KE70 for 2 days, Jackson managed to reign in his car and finish 3rd in the event.
If only you could see how close he got to the cones then you would understand why he was so fast in his 30 yr-old car. Haha
Presenting the prizes are Nurul and C.S. Ng from Würth Malaysia.
Here’s a line up of some of the cars … some guys had already left coz we ran until 7pm … The crowd just kept getting bigger and bigger and the guys (and girl) all wanted to drive more so we just kept going.
I think if we didn’t cut off at 7pm some of them would have kept driving all night!
Finally back at the hotel at 11pm … damn I was tired … C.S. was staying with us and he crashed straight away in the hotel lobby. He didn’t sleep for 3 days!
C.S. was one of the people who helped out most for Conemasters – I am super grateful for all his time and effort. Thanks bro!
Würth Malaysia also supported us heavily and brought out a treasure trove of goodies to give away as prizes for winners.
One of the competitors came up to me and said that we gave away the best prizes of any gymkhana he had competed in so far (and he had competed in a LOT)
He also said that our event was the best value for money and he really enjoyed himself so it was heartwarming to hear that from someone who is a gymkhana veteran.
Here’s the Conemasters posse! The event wouldn’t have been possible without you guys – thank you so much!
I need to thank Mr. Ho, Steve & Tracy from SES Sound & Light – the sound system was KICK ASS and was another reason the event was so successful.
I was told so many times during the day that we had really good sound so another job well done for SES!
Oh you see those super cool Conemasters t-shirts we are wearing in the photo? They were sponsored by Olim Souvenirs so I am also grateful to them for their support!
Remus from Motorsport Playground managed to take time out of his SUPER busy schedule to make out competition numbers for us so I thank him very much. I hate those events where people just paint the number on your window coz it leaves a nasty stain that takes ages to get out so I wanted proper competition numbers for Conemasters and Remus delivered (as usual)
Remus is a good friend and very supportive of the motorsports scene in Malaysia. Thanks buddy!
Lastly I need to thank TJ Chin from JPM Motorsport for his valuable support. Even though he was so busy running the main event he still made time to come and check on us and make sure everything was ok. He even got the tow truck to come and tow away those parked cars for us. Thank you TJ!
This is what one day under the Malaysian sun will do to you:
I’d like to thank all our event partners again, all the drivers who came to compete and all the spectators who came to support us.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
P.S. Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge video coming soon!
P.P.S. For results and updates on future Conemasters events, please visit Conemasters on Facebook!
B.T.W. Planning is already under way for Conemasters Gymkhana Challenge 2.