The 2016 FIM Asia Supermoto Championship made its way to the Philippines last Nov. 18-20 for Round 3 of the series at the Bayanihan Park in Clark, Pampanga. The track had been laid out over a public recreational park and part of a taxi depot. The surfaces of the “tarmac” section were therefore rough concrete (the taxi stop part) and fine concrete on two basketball courts, punctuated by strips of grassy dividers. The “dirt” section on the other hand, was uncut grass, making the entire track much more slippery than what the riders had faced previously. Besides that, although the track covered a large area, it became narrow with many sharp corners thrown in (no straights).
Thus, in the face of a narrow, twisty, and slippery track, that Number One starting slot became the most coveted piece of real estate, with the final starting positions determined after the Super Chrono session (a shootout between the fastest six riders from the first qualifying.
Watched on by 30,000 spectators, the start of Moto 1 saw Andy McLiesh grab the lead past the first turn, leaving his rivals to battle it out amongst themselves in his wake. He did not look back from the on and kept building on his lead to an unassailable gap. Behind him, a brutal battle for second developed between Mohd. Al-Amirul Ashshahid (Gaban) and his brother Muhd. Habibullah (Gabit). Gabit finally found a way past Gaban, while the latter managed to hold on to third.
Gabit had hoped that starting in second (following his Moto 1 finishing position) would allow him to claim the holeshot at the start of Moto 2 but McLiesh held his ground. Gabit and Yasushi Matsumoto pressured McLiesh, keeping him in sight and soon closed the gap to McLiesh in three laps. Matsumoto mounted a challenge for second but snagged a sandbag and almost crashed. He maintained his spot and crossed the line in third.
The 2016 FIM Asia Supermoto Championship heads to Malaysia for the fourth and final round on Dec. 17-18.
The FIM Asia Supermoto Championship is organized by Asia Supersports Group, a consortium of three companies namely Bikenation Motorsports Sdn Bhd, CW Media Sdn Bhd and E-Plus Entertainment Productions (M) Sdn Bhd, with international supporters from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Malaysia Major Events, Destination NSW, Tourism Hunter, Newcastle City Council, FIM Asia, Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM), KYT, KTM Malaysia and Premium World Motorsports (PWM) Sdn Bhd, official distributor of Husqvarna in Malaysia. The Philippine leg of this Championship Series is organized by TEN Inc., sanctioned by NAMSSA Philippines.