The UMA Racing Yamaha Philippines team was entering round 6 of the Asia Road Racing Championship on a high after their victory in China which gave them the overall lead in the standings. But before they even reached Malaysia an obstacle would already be in their path.
Masato Fernando, the veteran of the team, suffered a knee injury during his training session in the Philippines. His test results appeared negative for any structural damage, but this limited Masato’s movements to only light walking. The fate of the team would rest on the young shoulders of race leader McKinley Kyle Paz who was fresh from his stint in the VR46 Master Camp and was looking to end the title chase in Sepang. But as if his teammate’s injury wasn’t enough, it was Kyle’s turn to have an unfortunate mishap during the 2nd practice session before race day. A hard fall resulted in “The Wonder Boy” to be wheelchaired back to the medical center to be evaluated. An injury to his heel and ankle prevented him to participate in the qualifiers, relegating the potential champion to the back of the grid at 33rd. Both riders were now looking at race day with only one leg to count on and a nation whose hopes were suddenly and swiftly taken away.
Through the pain, the pressure, and the probability of defeat, the heart of a Champion truly rose to the occasion. First, Masato set the tone on track by qualifying for the super pole and then getting the 5th spot on the grid, and that was on a bad knee. Then, McKinley defied expectations and pushed himself to be medically cleared to race. It was tough to be carried most of the way, but he would be outstanding when it mattered most. Counted out by nearly everyone, most of all his rivals whose eyes lit up when there was no Wonder Boy in sight; it was time for a statement.
The Chairman riding through the pain led the race early and was fending off most of the challengers. He then remained with the race leaders even when he was swarmed by multiple opponents all throughout. Then it seemed like a runaway train was on the grid with McKinley Kyle Paz weaving through everyone and rocketing his way to the front. A phenomenal stand from the hurting 18-year-old, showcasing why he earned the right to be at the VR46 camp and why he is the future of Philippine racing.
In a race with multiple crashes and unforgiving competition, UMA Racing Yamaha Philippines Team didn’t just stay alive, they rocked the ARRC with sheer unstoppable will. Masato Fernando finished 11th but would have had been one of the leaders were it not for crash on track that he had to avoid. He still holds on to 4th overall with the Top 3 at striking distance. McKinley Kyle Paz turned ruin devastation into demolition by getting all the way to 6th. For now, he sits at 2nd overall, an unlikely outcome which virtually no one imagined.
After the result of race 1, everyone in the ARRC knows now that with the UMA Racing Yamaha Philippines Team, impossible is just an illusion.
This team is supported by:
Yamaha Motor Philippines, UMA Racing, Racing Boy,
Aracer,Proliner,Youall,Galfer,Nasty Port Flow, Koso, NGK, RK, and Kushitani.