COMING in second at the inaugural Eight Hours of Sepang on Saturday night was the sweetest moment of Zaqhwan Zaidi’s motorcycle endurance racing career so far.
It had appeared to be going pear-shaped for the Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa rider after he sustained minor injuries in a crash in the morning warm-up session.
To add insult to injury, his motorbike caught fire and had to be replaced.
“I just felt really demoralised after seeing the bike on fire (during warm up) because we had it set up really well for the race and we had to use the spare bike instead,” said Zaqhwan, who rode together with teammates Chantra Somkiat (Tha) and Andi Farid Izdihar (Ina).
“It was a tough race due to the weather conditions (rain) and we had to wait until 6pm before we could really race.
“I was hurting a bit from the (minor) injuries from the crash but the team decided to have me ride first.
“Thankfully everything went well and we managed to finish on the podium.
“This is the first time I have finished on the podium in EWC and it is definitely a huge moment for me especially after all the challenges we faced.
“I have competed in five previous EWC races with this team and I believe this is our strongest lineup so far.”
The Eight Hours of Sepang is part of the Endurance World Championships (EWC).
The race, which was scheduled to start at 1pm on Saturday, could only begin at 3pm due to heavy rain but was again suspended after only half-an-hour of racing due to the rain causing limited visibility among riders.
The race resumed at 6pm, leaving the riders with just three hours to battle it out for honours.
YART-Yamaha riders Broc Parkes, Karel Hanika and Niccolo Canepa took the win after completing 80 laps, crossing the line one minute and 49.622 seconds ahead of Zaqhwan’s team.