Saturday, 25 July 2015

by Imran Ahmad Azhar, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2015.
All photos taken by Encik Fairuz




The Sepang International Circuit has been regarded as the beloved home of motorsport in Malaysia. It is where the ‘big’ races happen in our country. It plays host to the Malaysian Grand Prix for Formula 1 and MotoGP, as well as other major racing events such as the Superbike World Championship and the Sepang 12 Hours. But on the 17th of May 2015, the track was the host, not for a motor-sport event, but the annual Varsity Cycling Challenge.








Our very own Cempaka Schools, mostly thanks to Mr Edwin Wong and Dr Rizal, was able to assemble a team consisting of both students and staff, to compete in this gruesome event. The riders had to to complete a lengthy distance of up to 50km, which is equivalent to 9 laps of the Sepang Circuit. From our group of Cempakans, Team Cempaka was represented by Gabriel Omar Dzukifly, Carson Lai Chia Won Han, Danial bin Ahmad Azhar and Imran bin Ahmad Azhar. From the Cempaka Staff, we had Mr. Devendran, Mr. Jovial Chan, Mr Chew, En. Fairuz, Mr. Leong Koon Wah, En Ezuan, Mr Edwin Wong and our highly respected Dr. Rizal.



It was a beautiful Sunday morning when the riders busy warming up and setting up their bikes for the event. The wind was fine, a few scattered clouds, and the sun was shining to top off the typical Malaysian weather. For many, it was their first experience to be on a Grand Prix circuit. The track, which was unusually quiet due to the absence of the roaring petrol engines around the track, was instead filled with riders of all ages eager to take part in the challenge.





At exactly 9 am, all riders from all categories had lined up together on a mass start behind a pace car. The first lap was a neutral lap, in which, all riders had to follow the pace car across 1 lap of the circuit, and are not allowed to overtake it. It was an amazing scene to see riders jumbling up behind the pace car at such close proximity. After one lap behind the pace car, the riders were set off, pedalling their bikes at racing speed. The fastest riders formed their own peloton, while others who felt they couldn't deal with their immense pace, rode at their own pace in order for them to make the distance. The leading peloton, formed by a group of trained young riders, lapped the circuit at an outstanding pace, lapping the slower riders left, right and centre after the second lap!




As the hour mark kicked in, most riders have already settled to their own pace. For most of us representing Cempaka, there was no eagerness for any of us to go fast as our main target was to complete the distance. It looked to be an easy ride until the end, but that changed when the rain came. It wasn’t just a slight drizzle, it was a massive downpour! Not to mention, the wind was so extreme, it almost threw some of us off the bike! Riding in the rain was not as easy as it sounds. Firstly, visibility was decreased drastically to about whopping 100 metres. Next, the droplets of rain that hit your body can feel like you’ve been constantly shot by paintballs. Many of us couldn’t even look forward because the rain drops would hit our faces and even our eyes. Other than that, the track was filled with standing water which made riding considerably slower and made it dangerous in the corners as it was extremely slippery. All around the track, many riders have taken a tumble or two in the wet conditions.


After enduring the long 50 kilometre ride and braving the gruesome conditions, the Cempaka Cycle Team managed to complete the distance within the given time limit. It was an amazing achievement from everyone within the team considering for most of us, it was our first competitive cycling event. This event marks one of the first competitive events for Cempaka Cycle, and possibly opening the doors for many more cyclists within the Cempaka community to participate in more upcoming cycling events.



“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.” – Bill Nye

by Unknown 22:25 43 comments | in , , , , ,

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