|MOVE TO BIG-BORE, BIG TIME|
|Monday, 22 September 2008 06:51|
MOVE TO BIG-BORE, BIG TIME
All the hard work to found and build a racing team having paid off, the victories achieved more than their immediate objectives.
By demonstrating sustained dedication, intelligent race strategy and hot tuning, Star Racing was approached as an equal by a potential sponsor of major import.
Since 2007 PETRONAS Motor Sports, the competition arm of the well known national Malaysian Oil and Gas corporation, had extended partial support to Benny D.U.'s Star Racing efforts, while appraising the results of Star Racing and other Indonesian competitors.
The eventual objective of any large country - like the Republic of Indonesia, the fifth-most-populous in the world - in a sports arena is to establish a credible presence and sustain a serious competitive stance. In the field of motor racing this has proved problematical for Indonesia, which suffered a devastating economic and social crisis in the late 1990s.
Motor racing was traditionally perceived as a rarified hobby for rich playboys, something out of reach of the average Indonesian citizen. There was only one reasonably serious race course and practically no racing backup available for potential bikers: specialized parts and machines, tuning experts or sponsors.
Two factors changed all that. The rise of small-displacement 'underbone' class racing, decentralised and exhibited to the masses through local races on closed public roads around the archipelago, and the penetration of private television, featuring satellite coverage of world-class events like MotoGP and World SuperBikes.
Indonesia would never succeed in gaining exposure, building a core phalanx of professional riders, and advancing the sport of motorcycle road racing without some 'giant steps' upward, and that is where big money steps in. Salaries, air transport, machines, parts, modifications -- and a team of professionals to keep it going. It adds up quickly.
Traditional sponsors, such as the major state banks, were either unable to extend backing or (as mentioned above) saw motorcycle racing as of potentially little interest to the masses (a factor which was rapidly being changed thanks to the likes of Valentino Rossi and dynamic, real-time television coverage). Running a team of the of multi-cylinder, large-displacement motorcycles on which underbone riders could learn and strengthen high-speed riding skills, and participating in events around the region, was urgently necessary but undoubtedly expensive.
Following a complex series of negotiations and arrangements between PETRONAS Motor Sports, as the key sponsor, Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing, as the second sponsor and the supplier of racing machinery (YZF-R6s), several other sponsors and Star Racing, a team was proposed and confirmed by legal agreement in late 2007, with a three-year time window projected for its initial, 'learning-curve' phase.
The challenge for riders, tuners and mechanics was the great leap forward.
A number of stalwart Indonesian riders, such as Achmad Jayadi, Hendriansyah and Mohammad Fadly were already riding in local Supersport-class events. Until the formal establishment of the PETRONAS SPRINTA YAMAHA INDONESIA RACING TEAM, however, run under the auspices of Benny Djati Utomo's Star Racing, there was no fully-sponsored effort to inject an Indonesian presence into the regional road racing scene.
We were the first. We will hopefully fulfill the aspirations of sponsors, fans and the public, blazing the trail and setting a standard for other professional-level sponsored teams to follow in years to come. Indonesia deserves no better: let tomorrow's motorcycle racing become a source of national pride and achievement!
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2008 16:02|