FROM BANTING TO BOLOGNA – THE STORY OF A YOUNG RIDER Print
Written by speedfight   
Monday, 02 August 2010 21:18

 fahymi

 

It seemed as if it was a lifetime ago when he had opened the pages of a newspaper and read article which would change his life forever.

It was an article on Aprilia Junior GP Dream, and his heart began dreaming of a day when he could take part in the programme, and perhaps, one fine day, to ride on the same track as his idol, Valentino Rossi.  However, coming from a less well-to-do family, he initially felt as if the dream was too far a reach. Then his stubborn little heart pushed him to pursue his dreams.

 

Today, 18-year old Zulfahmi Khairuddin is standing proud, representing his country as a 125cc rider in the world motorcycle championship, also known as the MotoGP.

 

“It seems like a dream to me. Things happened so fast, and before I knew it, I was riding in the MotoGP. Of course, I had worked hard to get as far as I did, and my family had to make numerous sacrifices to help me pursue my dreams,” said Zulfahmi – the eldest son of a welder in Banting.

The former Modenas Yuzy Pachi Racing rider has come a long way since his days of racing in the Wira epg and the Novice categories of the PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championships.

Fahmi first gained recognition in the motoring world by making it to the top 20 of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2009 in the 125cc category, racing as a wildcard rider for the AirAsia Malaysia 125cc MotoGP Team.

His racing career began in 2007, when Zulfahmi began his racing career with the Aprillia Junior GP in 2007. There, he met Shahrol Yuzy Ahmad Zaini, the trainer in the Aprilia Junior GP Dream programme, a former 250cc MotoGP rider himself. He spotted Zulfahmi’s potential and took the young rider under his wings.

Zulfahmi began training with the Shahrul Yuzy’s team, Modenas Yuzy Pachi Racing team in 2007 and in 2008, he began racing in the Wira epg class. After two years with the team, the young rider was selected to enter the wildcard selection for the Malaysian MotoGP in May last year.

During the selection process, the youth gave his full commitment, realising that it will be the first step towards achieving his dream of racing on the world stage.

“I didn’t think I was going to get it, as there were more experienced riders in the group like Zamri Baba. I had to be very fit and I had to spend a lot of time on the track to be among the 17 that was selected to undergo the wildcard selection process.

“I had to be very consistent in my performance and learn to communicate with the mechanic. We had to undergo training at SIC tracks once every fortnight. It’s an all day training session from morning, from 7am to7pm.

“The judges were very strict; they monitored our gym attendance, our discipline and they also monitored our lap time. They also judged us by our passion for the sport,” he said.

Zulfahmi, along with Elly Idzlianizar Ilias were selected to race in the Malaysian MotoGP as the wildcards. After the race he was invited by Ongetta Racing Team to race in the Valencia MotoGP, Spain in November last year, and the rest is history.
Though he found himself taking baby steps in the first few races, he pushed himself harder with every race.

”It’s very hard to get in the top 20 position. The other riders have five to six years of experience, and I have only raced in the Cub Prix, on a small bike. Now I still race on a small bike, but it’s faster,” he said with a laugh.

”Since this is my first year,  I have to work very hard and learn a lot of things. The pressure is always there, but I will always do the best that I can,” said Zulfahmi, who is currently based in Bologna, Italy in between races.

His efforts paid off when he scored his first point at the Grand Prix of Catalunya, followed by another point at the German GP at Sachsenring Circuit.

”I hope I can pop a surprise for the Malaysian GP in Sepang. It’s not impossible to get in the top five, but it is very hard. I can go fast, but anything can happen,” said Zulfahmi.

He will have five more races to go through before the Malaysian MotoGP on October 10 this year. The next race will be the Czech GP, which will be held in Brno from August 13 to 15.

Article thanks to www.sepangcircuit.com.my