Defending champions, Team Malaysia are gunning for their third consecutive OCBC Cycle Speedway crown, but they will face their stiffest challenge yet at the Singapore Sports Hub this Saturday, 18th November. Eight teams from Southeast Asia will compete at the third edition of the OCBC Cycle Speedway SEA Championship.
Malaysia has named a largely unchanged team from last year, led by team captain
and OCBC Cycle Speedway veteran, Muhammad Fauzan Bin Ahmad Lutfi. Joining
him are fellow SEA Games medallists, Nik Mohd Azwan Bin Zulkifle and Sofian Nabil Omar Bin Mohd Bakri, forming a formidable squad with Amir
Mustafa Bin Rusli and Hamdan Bin Hamidun.
Debutants Thailand are looking to halt Malaysia’s dominance. Making their first appearance at the competition, Thailand has lined up cyclists who were part of the 2017 SEA Games cycling squad that recorded an impressive second-place finish overall.
Thailand’s team mainly consists of specialist criterium riders Adulwit
Phosangda, Jetsada Janluang and Setthawut Yordsuwan will be anchored by star
men, SEA Games medallists, Thanawut Sanikwathi and Yuttana Mano.
Brunei and the Philippines both finished on the podium in the 2016 edition, and are determined to muster a much improved challenge to favourites Malaysia.
Brunei will be represented by Azmi Bin Abdul Hadzid, Andrew Bin Sianong, Abdul Hadrie Morsidi and fellow SEA Games teammate, Ahmad Rifa’ie. The Philippine team has taken a slightly different approach from their rivals at the
speedway championship this year by replacing four out of their five cyclists. Third year veteran George Oconer will be boosted with the presence of his SEA
Games teammates John Mier and Ronald Oranza.
After a second place at the 2015 speedway championship, Singapore will be raring to be one of the top championship contenders with returning anchor duo, Junaidi Bin Hashim and Gabriel Tan, pairing up with 2017 SEA Games cyclist Luqmanul Hakim.
Team Captain Junaidi said, “The level of competition is higher this year with the inclusion of teams like Thailand and Laos, but we have learnt some lessons from the past speedway races and we will give a good account of ourselves. Our preparations for the SEA Games in August were good and we hope to carry that momentum going into tomorrow’s race.”
Following the trend, Cambodia and Myanmar have also opted to select a majority of their riders with at least one speedway championship under their belt.
Two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals. One team will be knocked out in the semi-finals before the top three teams battle in the finals to be crowned the OCBC Cycle Speedway SEA Champion. First, second and third placed teams stand to receive prizes of $6,000, $4,000 and $2,000 respectively.
OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship
The OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship will feature 15 different clubs battling for supremacy as kings of the road – the biggest participation of locally-based clubs seen since the inaugural edition.
This year’s roster will see the following teams join OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship for the first time: Allied World Kemp Technologies, Cycleworx, Guerciotti Racing Team, ICH Gemini, Matador Racing, Road Brothers, Swiss Club Riders, Team BCM and TWC Racing.
The clubs participating in the race for the first time are expected to put up a good fight for the podium positions. Excitement is high amongst the new entrants about competing in a premier club-only race in Singapore for the bragging rights to be the best local cycling club.
More details can be found on www.ocbccycle.com.