A CHANGE in technical regulations that increased the permitted engine valve size for the Under-17 Wira class of the Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix has brought about an unprecedented scenario with the Wira boys now clocking close lap times with their seniors in the CP115 category.
The permitted valve size for the Wira class is now 26mm, only 3mm smaller than the valve size in the CP115 class. Last year, only standard valves were allowed, resulting in different makes running on different valve sizes.
This was standardised to 26mm this year. As a result, the lower horsepower, added to the lighter rider weight and the bike being 5kg lighter in the Wira class, mean that the young riders can make full use of their smoother power band by opening their throttle a bit earlier.
In three rounds, the impact of this change could clearly be seen in the short, tight street circuits that characterises Cub Prix.
During the timed practice session at Round 3 in Kangar last weekend, Mohd Hafiz Nor Azman (Track Pro Mos Yamaha Racing) delivered spectacular pace to clock 43.596s, just 0.127s off Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa (Pachie Yuzy Honda Racing) who was fastest in the intermediate class with 43.469s.
Hafiz however was not the only rider from the grassroots class to record a lap time within the 43-second mark.
Tengku Amirul Haffiruddin (Motul Yamaha YY Pang Racing Team) too levelled himself with the seniors, clocking 43.870s. Both riders are only 16.
Motul Yamaha YY Pang Racing team manager Pang Yoke You said another reason why the Wira boys are becoming more competitive is because they are more open-minded and willing to learn.
"All the riders in this class are under 17, meaning they are quite young and easier to teach.
"So if we tell them they did something wrong on track or their riding is not perfect, they are more willing to try new methods or suggestions as opposed to the seniors in the CP130 or CP115 who have already developed a fixed view when it comes to racing," said Pang.