CONEMASTERS GYMKHANA CHALLENGE RECAP

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!”

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

Here’s me lining up at the start. That’s right, I had to run the event, commentate, keep everyone happy AND drive.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

After a couple of runs, this is what my tyres looked like.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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)

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

Thankfully Ku Shahriel and Xian were on hand to help me make a quick tyre change.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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)

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

Leona’s crew brought their own gas and lots of spare tyres. Me is jealous!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

Fans were lining up to take photos with Malaysia’s best girl drifter after the race – me included!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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!

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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:

Conemasters 2011 Gymkhana Challenge @ Sepang International Circuit

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.

🙂

THE LOTUS PLAYGROUND

This is a video I put together from a trackday that Lotus Cars Malaysia and Lotus Cars Club Malaysia organized in December, 2010.

More than 40 Lotuses attended the track day and it was the biggest turn out ever for a Lotus track day at Sepang.

What I really wanted to show in this video was not the racing aspect of the track day, but the individuality of the cars and also the camaraderie of the Lotus community in Malaysia, which I feel is incomparable. Everyone is part of one huge family and is there to have a good time … No egos or politics anywhere … Lotus Cars Club Malaysia really is the best car club in the country!

At that track day, I took a lot of people out for taxi rides and they all seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly.

I can’t wait for the next one!

LOTUS TRACK DAY @ SEPANG

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

Towards the end of last year, on the 27th of December to be exact, a scant 2 weeks after the Time To Attack Final, Lotus Cars Malaysia organized a track day at Sepang International Circuit and more than 40 Lotuses turned up for the event.

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

This was by far the largest gathering of Lotuses ever at Sepang and it was indeed an awesome sight to see so many Elises, Exiges, Evoras and Europas taking it to the track.

Colin Chapman would have been proud!

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

I of course participated, and I helped out by giving taxi-rides to people who were there for the “Lotus Experience

I drove more than 20-laps non-stop (pitting in every 2 laps to switch passengers) but I was more than happy to do this since every extra lap I got to drive meant more experience for me at Sepang.

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

Aylezo Motorsports brought their Lotus 2-Eleven along with their GT4 Cup Car.

Hmm … I just noticed that their race number is 69.

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

On the left is the super hardcore Exige 260 Cup car (almost every part of the car is made from carbon fiber) and to the right is a really fast Exige S who came all the way from Singapore!

Same base car, different spec – all good.

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

Also at the track day were beauty queen Chermaine Poo and girl racer/drifter Leona Chin.

Chermaine is a very accomplished actress/MC/host but not many people know that she’s also a chartered accountant! :0

Leona is a VERY fast racer and I have a lot of respect for her because she drives faster/better than most guys!

Leona spent most of the day teaching Chermaine how to drive on the track and I saw the two of them having a lot of fun on the track in the gorgeous black Europa that you see behind us.

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

I learnt a lot on the day from my sifus Oh Kah Beng and Edward Tan from Lotus Malaysia – like how to PROPERLY drive an MR car (damn it takes very BIG BIG BALLS) … every time they teach me so many things it’s like going to school (but SUPER FUN)

I am grateful to them for constantly sharing their knowledge of driving techniques with me. It has really helped me to improve my own personal set of skills and has made me a lot more analytical about my driving.

Thank you sirs!

Lotus Track Day @ Sepang International Circuit

And there we have it … the biggest gathering of Lotuses at Sepang so far … it was a truly great day and a memorable experience for everyone.

I am certain that there is no other car club in Malaysia that is as cool as the Lotus Cars Club of Malaysia – everyone is uber-friendly, polite and respectful of other drivers. I think a very unique type of person buys a Lotus as opposed to other sportscars. Owning a Lotus is not about being flashy or using the car as a status symbol but about trying to get the purest driving experience possible. It just so happens that the cars are drop dead gorgeous.

And I will also say that you haven’t truly driven until you have driven a Lotus.

Lotus = Super Awesome!