Underdogs Win the Day at the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships 2017
SINGAPORE, 18 November 2017 –
OCBC Cycle Speedway Southeast Asia (SEA) Championship
In what was the surprise result of the morning, up-and-coming cycling nation Philippines pipped two-time defending champions Malaysia to the OCBC Cycle Speedway Southeast Asia (SEA) Championship crown. Held at the Singapore Sports Hub, the final race saw Philippines end Malaysia’s dominance at the event with an ingenious stroke of tactical nous.
Philippines’ captain George Luis Oconer, pulled away with Muhammad Fauzan Bin Ahmad Lutfi of Malaysia to form an unassailable lead at the front of the pack, leaving their respective teammates Ronald Nozuelo Oranza and Sofian Nabil Omar bin Mohd Bakri to stay behind with the chasing pack to set up a do-or-die sprint finish on the last straight. As the riders made the last turn, Oranza made the gamble pay off as he turned on the jets as he outpaced the group to clinch the victory for the Philippines.
Oconer, 25, said: “We had new and strong teammates joining us for the race this year and I felt pretty good riding with them today. Our race plan was to always follow our teammates throughout the route because the OCBC Cycle Speedway race is different from other road races we have taken part in. We were partly lucky because the other teams followed Malaysia closely, thinking that the defending champions will win again today. However, our second sprinter picked up speed fast and beat Malaysia’s second rider at the end.”
Muhammad Fauzan, 31, team captain of Malaysia, said: “I am disappointed because we were not able to defend our title this year. The last rider from the Philippines team picked up speed very fast and it took everyone by surprise. To adapt to the interesting race format, our strategy was for our chaser rider to be patient in following the pack. I think we were unlucky this year but we will be back next year to regain our title."
Singapore improved on their performance last year with a respectable fourth-place finish in the final. Team Captain Junaidi Bin Hashim, 34, said: “Following the first changeover, it was still anybody’s race. We still had a fighting chance up until the very last lap. I think the team did very well as we performed better than last year.”
OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship
Local cycling club TWC Racing came out tops among 15 clubs on their maiden appearance at the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship
Following the trend of previous editions, the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship title changed hands once again, as the young upstarts from TWC Racing took home the top prize with an impressive time of 17 minutes and 53.2 seconds.
Formed only in January this year, the young team, with an average age of 22 years, surprised many with their cycling prowess as they overcame a stacked field of 15 teams. They beat early championship favourites and defending champions Specialized Roval Mavericks, as well as established outfits Matador Racing and Allied World Kemp Technologies, in the final.
Firoz Loh, team captain of TWC Racing, said: “This is our first time participating in OCBC Cycle and the club’s first competition together. To win such a major race felt amazing, considering that we formed our cycling club only recently.”
The 18-year-old added, “We wanted to join the competition as it is a prestigious cycling event and most of the popular clubs in Singapore participate in it. With the win this year, we’ll definitely participate again next year!”
Ben Arnott, 46, a rider with the Specialized Roval Mavericks, said: “We may have won last year, but the competition is getting stronger with every edition. We are going to keep coming back because it is interesting to see increasing numbers of people cycling in Singapore. Competitions like the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championships are going to get more people racing and excited about this sport.”
OCBC Cycle Speedway Corporate Championship
Singapore Civil Defence Force romps to victory as corporate champions
In a wild surge to the finish, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) successfully held off the challenge from OCBC Pain Train and Team GlaxoSmithKline to make their mark as the winners of the inaugural OCBC Cycle Speedway Corporate Championship.
Finishing with a time of 20 minutes and 42.2 seconds, SCDF executed their pre-race tactics to perfection, leaving just enough energy in the tank.
Ahmad Ridhwan, 31, team captain of SCDF said: “This is the first year we are participating in OCBC Cycle. We came across this race and saw it as an opportunity to expose ourselves as we are cycling enthusiasts who have been doing this together for a while. We train together as a team three to four times a week. The advantage of cycling together is that we understand each other's strengths and we strategise from there.”
The OCBC Cycle Speedway Corporate Championship is the latest category to be added to the expanded competition, with the other two categories being the Southeast Asian (SEA) and Club Championships.
New Adventure Course a hit with Mighty Savers® Kids
The 300 participants in OCBC Cycle’s popular Mighty Savers® Kids and Family Rides were also in for a treat this year, with a special Mighty Savers® Adventure Course prepared for the children at the OCBC Cycle Expo to test their riding skills.
With a series of turns and four special zones, the children were treated to a novel cycling experience as they navigated their way through the custom-made course. The four zones, comprising the Rainbow Rain Tunnel, Illuminated Tunnel, Wind Tunnel and Windmill Tunnel, provided a sensory experience for all participants.
This year’s Mighty Savers® Kids and Family Rides took place later in the day, with close to 300 children aged 2-12 years old riding along the OCBC Speedway route with their parents in tow. The rides were broken down into different age categories, with different cycling distances for each age group. Starting with the the Mighty Savers® Kids 10-12 years old age group, the kids were allowed to cycle on their own for a duration of 30 minutes along the modified Speedway course. This was followed by the Mighty Savers® Family ride for kids aged 9-12 years old, who cycled along the same course as a family unit for a total of 30 minutes.
Following this, the Mighty Savers® Kids 8-9 and 5-7 years old categories commenced, with the children being allowed to cycle on the route for a duration of 20 minutes, before the Mighty Savers® Families Ride for 5-8 year olds took over for these families to enjoy the route for their 20 minutes of fun.
Finally, to end the day, the Mighty Savers® Kids 4-5 and 2-3 years old rides began, with the children riding along a modified 100m straight along the Speedway route, with their parents walking alongside them.
John Tan, 39, who signed up his two sons for the 5-7 years old and 2-3 years old categories respectively, said: “This is a great event that was very well-organised. It was a fun day out for the kids and my family really enjoyed themselves today.”
His older son, 6-year-old Tan Sing Nyuen, said: “I liked to cycle on the road. I went around the track ten times. The bubbles were really fun!”
As part of OCBC Cycle’s “Sponsor a Child’s Bike” Programme, a total of 26 bicycles were also donated to beneficiaries from The Business Times Budding Artist’s Fund and Yu Neng Primary, who also took part in the Mighty Savers® Kids Ride.
Chew Yingling Charlene, Executive, Arts & Community Developer, The RICE Company Ltd, said: “It’s been a fun and enriching experience for our beneficiaries. Cycling is accessible, inclusive, and also a great way for children to keep active. We are very delighted that they have gained so much confidence, and are able to cycle on their own. We are thankful for OCBC’s efforts to raise awareness of our cause and fundraise for the organisation.”
12-year-old Muhammad Naqib Bin Makhlas, said: “I am very happy and grateful to OCBC and The Business Times Budding Artist’s Fund for giving me the opportunity to learn how to ride a bike, and to now own one. I look forward to riding my bicycle on the weekends.”
The OCBC Cycle 2017 continues tomorrow morning at the Singapore Sports Hub with the Community Rides, which will see cyclists participate in The Straits Times Ride (23km) and The Sportive Ride (42km).
More details on OCBC Cycle 2017 can be found on www.ocbccycle.com
OCBC Cycle Speedway SEA Championship
OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship
OCBC Cycle Speedway Corporate Championship
Sunday, 19th November 2017