HISTORY OF THE UNDERBONE TEAM
2001: THE PIONEER CAMPAIGN
The very first outing for the STAR RACING TEAM, doing battle for the full series of the INDONESIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.
Our sole rider, Popi Sugianto, was the lone Honda competitor in the 2-Stroke Underbone 115cc class, riding a HONDA NOVA TENA (NZ110), a machine originally imported from Thailand. As the engine displacement of the NZ110’s was just 102cc, it was bored out, to increase engine displacement up to a maximum allowed 115cc. A Yamaha Y125Z piston was fitted.
In the newly-important 4-stroke class, we fielded another Honda, the Supra, on which our best result thus far was a 2nd–place finish in a National Championship race in Bandung, West Java. Working from an acutely limited budget, STAR RACING made the hard decision to put the 4-stroke aside, and concentrate all efforts on the Nova Tena!!
The struggle was especially acute as STAR RACING had no factory support whatsoever, racing against sponsored Suzuki and Yamaha factory Teams: it was looking like it was going to be a very, very tough year.
Luckily, our ‘lone wolf’ Team had MOTUL –Indonesia as our first-ever sponsor, so at least we didn’t have to buy race oil for our machines. The NOVA TENA 115cc was great for us – and shocking for the competition – as it proved to be a very fast bike among the competitors; its speed was particularly remarkable as Popi, our rider, was also known to be the heaviest rider on the track.
Popi faced off with strong and quick factory team riders, big names like Ahmad Jayadi (Yamaha), Hendriansyah (Suzuki), Irwan Ardiansyah (Suzuki), Felix Judianto (Suzuki), Ade Taruna (Yamaha), Bima Aditya (Suzuki) and Bima Octavianus (Yamaha).
STAR RACING’S crowning victory was at the final race at Sentul Circuit that year, proving that our HONDA NOVA TENA was unbeatable. Popi took 1st Place and was thus crowned National Champion for 2001. What a big surprise for the racing world to see the plain white HONDA NOVA TENA on the front page!!!
TECH NOTE: Our winning rider recorded a lap time of 1:54.4 at Sentul – impressive for a small-bore machine. The modified engine was putting out approximately 24 hp at 12,500rpm. The secret was: extracting the maximum reliable power possible from the humble production engine: you don’t get any trophies for blowing up before the end of the race.
2002: DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR THE COMPETITION!
A forceful campaign was planned for 2002, when the Team, now known as ‘SKF FUCHS HONDA Racing Team’ recruited Indonesian national star Ahmad Jayadi, National Championship Runner-up for 2001. The diligent work and keenly competitive spirit of the previous year paid off with an official sponsorship: this was in fact the first time that Honda of Indonesia had supported a domestic racing team since the 1970s.
While the potential track rivalry of our two star riders generated considerable excitement and media interest (the motoring press called us the strongest team in 2002), the effort of guiding and encouraging two top riders in one team was a major challenge: it is only natural that each one of them would want to have that precious ‘numero uno’ plate on the front of his bike. The other guy would try that much harder to show his skills, to snatch that Number 1 plate from his teammate. Spectators thus got really exciting and dramatic racing action!
An extension to our racing efforts was contemplated, as we tried to compete in the 110cc 4-Stroke National Championship Class with a ‘Honda Nice 110 U-BOX’, but discovered that maintenance costs would be prohibitive. STAR RACING thus shelved the project in order to focus all efforts solely on victory in the premier class.
We are proud to report that by end-2002 ‘Smooth Roller Adi’ had taken the Number 1 plate for STAR RACING, becoming Indonesian Road Racing Champion.
TECH NOTE: The best time recorded around Sentul International Circuit was 1:52.3, with engine output measured at around 26 Hp / 13,200 rpm.
2003: A NEW LINEUP FOR TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT
Our veteran STAR MOTOR rider, Popi Sugianto, had a new teammate in 2003, as Ahmad Jayadi was wooed away from Star Racing, by the official Suzuki Team, thanks to his having secured the previous year’s championship.
Bima Aditya, already known as a strong and confident rider, was contracted to ride the NZ110 on which he had won the previous year’s championship. STAR MOTOR’s confidence in Bima was vindicated in the first regional race in Jakarta, where he showed that he would certainly be a serious championship contender – the guy was incredibly fast!!
Inasmuch as detailed technical development has always been at the core of STAR RACING efforts, we contracted the experienced Imannudin, former 150cc 2-Stroke National Champion. This rider had raced on a variety of mounts: Kawasakis, Suzukis, Cagivas, Yamahas and Hondas, all of this experience contributing to our motorcycle development.
BIMA ADITYA, POPI SUGIANTO, IMANNUDIN
An unforeseen setback was the sudden decision of Honda of Indonesia to terminate their support – thus the new 2003 name for the Team, now officially known as ‘FUCHS SKF STAR RACING TEAM’. We were able to secure a degree of support from Indomobil Suzuki Indonesia, in line with their strategy of developing and promoting their new underbone 115cc 4-Stroke product, called the ‘Suzuki Smash 110’.
It was notable – and unusual – as we were the only team fielding two different brands of motorcycle in National Championship events: the trusty Honda for 2-Stroke races and now the new Suzuki for 4-stroke ones.
STAR MOTOR has truly pioneered engineering efforts, as no one else in the Indonesian racing scene had ever attempted such extreme racing modifications on a humble underbone 4-Stroke engine: 2.5mm oversized valves, a full-race camshaft, a hi-dome piston, racing ignition, close-ratio gearbox, and other exotic mods. We thus managed (running race fuel) to extract 16.5HP/15,000 rpm from this engine, sharply up from the original power output of just 6.8 HP/ 9,000 rpm.
The result was victory for STAR RACING, as Bima on the Suzuki won the 5th Round of the National Championship Race at Park-Kenjeran Circuit (East Java), thus becoming the first man anywhere in the world to record a win on the Suzuki Smash 110.
Motorcycle road racing has always been a perilous profession, and its dangers were revealed when Bima crashed hard and broke his leg during a practice session for the First Round of the National Championship, an injury which kept him out of action for both the 1st and 2nd Rounds in 2003. Once again, as in the old days, Popi was the ‘lone wolf’ competitor for STAR RACING.
At this point STAR RACING had no sponsorship contract with a motorcycle manufacturer for 2-Stroke Class races – Benny D.U. was thus obliged to look internationally for a potentially competitive 2-Stroke bike to modify, and after careful technical study a machine was chosen from Italy, the classic home of motorcycle racing: the CAGIVA STELLA 115cc was to be our ‘next victim’!
Our faith was rewarded, as the Italian stallion proved to be considerably quicker than our previous champion’s bikes. We developed and kept the CAGIVE STELLA in our garage – ready for the FINAL RACE.
2003, a Year of Destiny for STAR RACING. Once again, Popi Sugianto won the Indonesian National Championship, seizing back the title from Ahmad Jayadi and mounting the Number ONE plate on our bike. ON A CAGIVA STELLA!!!
POPI SUGIANTO, 2003 INDONESIA ROAD RACING CHAMPION
TECH NOTE: The Italian bike clocked a 1:51.8 lap time at Sentul, turning out around 27.5 HP / 13,400 RPM.
2004: BEGINNING OF THE END FOR 2-SMOKE RACING
As time marches on, technological development and consumer taste force changes. By 2004 it was clear that 2-Strokes were doomed, as all the major motorcycle manufacturers were focusing development and marketing efforts on their 4-Stroke models.
This was a painful reality for STAR RACING, as we truly loved 2-Stroke racing and had spent enormous amounts of energy, time, money and love on developing these machines. The brutal fact was, however, that STAR RACING is in business to make a living, and 2-Strokes were on the way out.
On a positive note, STAR RACING welcomed Sulaeman, an energetic young novice rider, joining forces with Popi and Imannudin, our stalwart two-wheel warriors, for 2004.
We continued to be known as FUCHS SKF STAR RACING TEAM, as Suzuki, which had indicated at end-2003 that they planned to extend their sponsorship, unexpectedly withdrew support from us.
New challenges lay ahead. By March 2004 we had established meaningful contact with Yamaha of Indonesia regarding their intention to develop their flagship of 4-Stroke bikes, a new model known as the 'Yamaha Jupiter-Z 110cc' – which would thus become the principal competitor against the proven Suzuki Smash 110cc. It is ironic to note that while STAR RACING had developed and raced the fastest Suzuki Smash 110 (the machine still sitting in our garage), we were faced with the prospect of building a Yamaha machine to beat it on the race course!
This was in truth a huge challenge for STAR RACING, since the modest Jupiter-Z had almost never won against Suzuki, especially on a long high-speed course like Sentul Circuit.
Starting the project in June 2004, we finished several months later, having swapped nearly every part in the engine:
1. We fitted a camshaft with hi-lift, hi-duration, aggressive profile.
2. We modified the intake valve, replacing the stock one with an oversize unit, 4.5mm bigger than stock.
3. The new exhaust valve was 3mm oversized.
4. Relocated and rehaped the intake ports for superior gas flow.
5. Valve guides were repositioned, and an 0.5mm bigger stem was fitted.
6. AMPCO 45 valve guides and Copper Beryllium Valve Seats were used to stand up to the task.
7. The engine compression ratio was bumped up to 16:1
8. Vortex programmable CDI was fitted for the precision ignition timing
9. A lightweight rotor was installed
10. Close ratio gearbox promised peak lap times
11. Ceramic ball bearings, along with a special coating for all potential high friction parts (rocker arms, piston pin, etc). PT. SKF INDONESIA did all these job and the result was awesome!
12. The engine was to run on Special lightweight oil provided by Fuchs Silkolene.
13. A race exhaust was fitted.
14. A modified Mikuni TM-24mm carburetor was fitted, for a perfect A/F ratio across the range.
This development involving several contacts acroos the world, because to increse power output from 6.7 HP engine to whopping 18HP engine was no easy task. Mr. Janne Larsson from Primoto of Sweden and Richard Muurling (Vortex Ignition/ Australia) and Mr. Rami Aro from SKF Indonesia played a big role to support this project since the very beginning.
Before the final race of 2004, one Yamaha rider was in second position for the championship. As expected, Yamaha Indonesia wanted this rider to test the bike. On the 3rd day of testing we decided to store the bike in our garage and use it for the final race ONLY! History repeated again. This rider's name is HOKKY KRISDIANTO.
For the FINAL RACE of 2004, STAR MOTOR made the strategic decision not to join Official Friday practice or the First Qualification session. Hokky only did two test laps during Saturday practice – just to make sure everything was working OK. The competition began to look worried after Final Qualification, when Hokky grabbed pole position in only ONE SINGLE LAP!!!
HOKKY won the FINAL RACE of 2004 !!! The rest is history.
2005: A NEW ERA DAWNS FOR INDONESIAN ROAD RACING
As sad as we were at STAR RACING to say ‘Goodbye!’ to the sharp and rapid 2-stroke machines, we had to accept the fact that the industry, along with the manufacturers and motorcycle society as a whole, was moving along: 4-strokes were undoubtedly the future. And that was where the path to sponsorship clearly opened as well.
STAR RACING clearly had to focus its technical and racing energies on 4-Stroke Yamahas in 2005 (the last year for the 2-stroke class in Indonesia) and in fact Yamaha Indonesia backed STAR RACING with strong support, supplying machines for our efforts.
2005 was also the first year for the 125cc 4-Stroke class, which was awkward for Yamaha, as the Japanese maker did not have any suitable 125cc engine. STAR RACING improvised by boring up and fitting a 2mm oversize piston to fit the regulations. The 110cc Expert class was called ‘MP-1’, and the 125cc expert class was to be known as ‘MP-2’.
Seasoned race veterans Hokky Krisdianto and Bima Octavianus joined forces, with our revitalised FUCHS SKF YAMAHA Racing Team, while Popi was racing in a parallel effort, with the FUCHS SKF STAR RACING TEAM.
We were quite confident by this point that Hokky's competitive spirit and Bima's proven determination would be an excellent mix for the year’s efforts.
Hokky Krisdianto dominated the championship in the sharply competitive 110cc class, but was frustrated in the 125cc Class, as STAR RACING machines lacked a sufficiently reliable racing piston. While we won many times during the championship, we also suffered embarrassing DNFs (Did Not Finish) in other races, as a result of these piston failures. By the final race rolled around Hokky led the 110cc Championship and was in 2nd place in the 125cc class.
Once again, Yamaha Indonesia brought forth a candidate to step up to the Indonesian Championship. His name was H. Ichal, and he came from the island of Sulawesi, where he was the reigning champion. STAR RACING saw that he would be the only one who would have a chance to win the National Championship.
Yamaha Indonesia directed STAR RACING to build another winning bike for Ichal, just for the final race, and through determined effort we completed the job in just one week.
By end of 2005, Hokky was crowned Champion in 110cc class, and H. Ichal was the Champion in the 125cc class.
Hokky also won the premier class YAMAHA CUP RACE (the 125cc class).
2006: STAR RACING, A MAJOR FORCE RAISED HIGHER
Formal negotiations with YAMAHA INDONESIA MOTOR MANUFACTURING concluded successfully with the local subsidiary of the giant Japanese firm agreeing to become our main sponsor, with our official name now becoming the YAMAHA SKF FUCHS Racing Team. Hokky Krisdianto and Harlan Fadhillah were our 'best blend' of riders, meant to face up to and defeat the tougher competition anticipated in the future.
STAR RACING had to prepare to contend with a new category in the Yamaha Cup Race: the JUPITER MX-135 LC class. New regulations for the 125cc Class allowed up to 130cc of cylinder displacement. Federal Izumi Manufacturer (a piston maker) became our sponsor, and their superior product proved to be the key to our success! FDR tire (PT. SRI) also sponsored the Team, supplying excellent race tires for all our bikes. This was a critical upgrade, as with steady engine development yielding increased power and higher torque, choosing the correct tire became a crucial factor in success. FDR tire technical support proved to be exceptional! And the result was outstanding!!
Further, OAKLEY of Indonesia and KYT Helmet Company supported our riders, as they had proven themselves the best sportsmen in their field.
By this time there was no doubt: Hokky Krisdianto and Harlan Fadhillah had become CONQUERORS in all Indonesian road racing events. While their absolute domination in 2006 made us proud and kept the sponsors happy, the fact that it killed the competition was not a positive development for the sport.
Here’s the tally: by end-2006,
* Hokky had won the 125cc National Championship,
* Harlan had won the 110cc National Championship, Hokky in 2nd place.
* Hokky had won the YAMAHA CUP RACE in the 110cc Class, Harlan in 2nd place
* Hokky had won the YAMAHA CUP RACE in the 125cc Class, Harlan in 2nd place
* Hokky had won the YAMAHA CUP RACE in the MX135LC Class, Harlan in 2nd place
We swept up all available titles in the Indonesian Road Racing Scene.
By this time a number of major players were looking seriously at ways that STAR RACING could add value to their multinational brands. STAR RACING was poised to go big-time.
PETROLIAM NATIONAL BERHAD (PETRONAS), a National Oil Company from The Republic of Malaysia became our second main-sponsor, working through their Motorsports Division (PETRONAS MOTORSPORT / PETMOS) alongside YAMAHA INDONESIA MOTOR MANUFACTURING. Our official team name became YAMAHA PETRONAS FDR Racing team.
HOKKY KRISDIANTO & HARLAN FADHILLAH, as the reigning champions, stayed with STAR RACING to defend their title. In fact Harlan had been a PETRONAS rider in 2005 (supported by PETRONAS Niaga Indonesia).
We won nearly all events in the Indonesian National Championship (MOTORPRIX /MP) Series, but the governing body in Indonesia (IMI) changed the rules, so that Hokky, Harlan and the rest of the TOP 25 Indonesian riders would not be entitled to collect any points from MotorPrix events. Rather, these riders would be awarded championship points from a new series, to be known as ‘INDOPRIX’. There was considerable resistance to this plan, and heated debate throughout the Indonesian racing scene – but in the end nothing changed the decision of IMI to force riders and teams to join the INDOPRIX (IP) Series.
While rules and technical regulation of IP were identical to those of MP, a new aspect introduced was the Superpole, which would determine the starting grid (similar to contemporary practice in WSBK).
STAR RACING continued to participate in the MP championship, thus fulfilling our original obligation to all our sponsors. The first IP was held two months after the opening round of MP (March 2007).
While no Yamaha Team took part in the 1st Round of IP, Yamaha Indonesia suddenly decided to join the IP as well. YAMAHA PETRONAS FDR was appointed to take part in IP events for the remainder of 2007.
At this point STAR RACING had a 50 point disadvantage in both classes (110cc & 125cc) compared to our competitors (principally, the Suzuki Team). With only 4 events left we realized that we would have to attempt a ‘Mission Impossible’ task. While MP events were relegated to second-tier priority for STAR RACING, we continued to win the remaining MP races.
By end-2007, Hokky was the Runner-Up in the 125cc Class, trailing by just 2 points from the point leader. Harlan was the Runner-Up in the 110cc Class. We had done the best we could, but from the very beginning we were aware that this was a ‘Mission Impossible’ task!! However, true road racing fans and enthusiasts knew that we had not really lost the game.
STAR RACING ONCE AGAIN SWEPT ALL TITLES IN YAMAHA CUP RACE !!!
THE WINNER TAKES ALL (AGAIN)
Hokky had won the YAMAHA CUP RACE in the 110cc Class, Harlan in 2nd place
Hokky had won the YAMAHA CUP RACE in the 125cc Class, Harlan in 2nd place
Hokky had won the YAMAHA CUP RACE in the MX135LC Class, Harlan in 2nd place
WE SWEPT ALL TITLES IN YAMAHA CUP RACE ONCE AGAIN