Honda isn’t the brand it is today if its founder, Soichiro Honda, did not turn his dreams into reality. Here, we have a group of Malaysian racing enthusiasts who have gone the distance by allowing some young Malaysians to pursue their racing dreams. This is “Dream Chaser Malaysia”, and this is how they fared at their first race in 2016 at the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS).
There are two categories in the MCS; Touring Production (TP, for cars above 1,900cc) and Malaysian Touring Car (MTC, for cars below 1,600). A total of four rounds will be contested this season, all taking place at the newly resurfaced Sepang International Circuit and will consist of sprint and endurance races. The first round was two sprint races of 10 laps each.
Dream Chaser Malaysia is an independent team founded by CY Ong who aims to provide a platform for young talents to unleash their potential in motor racing. This year, the team welcomed a young and interesting talent, Geraldine Read. She is one of just two female competitors in the MCS, with the other being a seasoned racer, Claire Jedrek, who hails from Singapore.
The young lass from Sarawak and former Red Bull Rookies driver will be part of this year’s Dream Chaser Racing Development Programme. She pilots car no. 12 in the MTC Independent Class, while car no. 100, which will be in MTC Open Class, will be shared by both team principal, CY, and the man behind the ZerotoHundred portal, Tom Goh. The team fielded two Satria Neos in this year’s MTC.
So how did the team fare last weekend? Despite the reduced number of racers (Proton R3 team was absent), competition in the MTC was tough. Geraldine who never raced in sprint races, qualified ninth out of 10 entries. The other car meanwhile, qualified for sixth place on the starting grid.
Geraldine had a rough start in Race 1 and trailed behind the pack. The more experienced Tom Goh in the other Satria Neo fought closely with a field consisting Suzuki Swifts, Proton Satria Neos and a Proton Preve. Geraldine was later forced to pit when she lost her gears, but fortunately managed to get back onto the track.
She eventually finished in eighth, while Tom settled for fourth place. The race was won by Mark Darwin in his Proton Preve from Team Sakura-Tedco Racing, which is actually a partner of the Dream Chaser team.
In race two, Geraldine started at the back while car no.100 was passed over to CY and started in fourth. When the lights turned green, Geraldine took no chances and began chasing the pack. She quickly overtook a Swift and things fell into place, to her favour. Unfortunately, the troublesome gearbox gave way, forcing car 12 into retirement by the fifth lap. It was indeed a crushing disappointment to a great start. That’s the reality of motor racing, though. You win some, you lose some. For the latter, it builds character. Just ask Lewis Hamilton on that…
Meanwhile, CY (piloting car no.100) gave everything he’s got but later rewarded with third place. Race 2 was yet again won by Mark Darwin.
On the other hand, it was basically a Honda affair in the TP category, where a field of Civics and Integras duked out for glory. Both races were won by Team Tedco’s Fitra Efi in a Honda Civic FD2R. In a nutshell, it was a weekend to remember for the dominating Team Tedco, who quickly positioned themselves as the team to beat.
CY Ong added, “Despite the setbacks, Geraldine has shown the right attitude. She’s a quick learner and has a strong fighting spirit. On race two, she displayed tremendous improvement on her lap times and gave a good fight to her nearest competitor.”
“We will need to help her to improve further on some of the fundamental skills (gear upshifting and downshifting, heel & toe), racing line, braking skill, feel the feedback from tyres and car balance. She’ll learn about mechanical knowledge about cars, tyre difference in terms of compound and branding.”
For sure, they’ll be back stronger later in round two in August. Regardless of the outcome, racers will always adhere to this adage “onwards and upwards”, and this applies to both Geraldine and the Dream Chaser team. Soichiro Honda’s dream for personal mobility didn’t just end with his first motorcycle; the D-Type (D stands for Dream) motorcycle then evolved to become the Cup. Needless to say, the rest is history.