YOUNG Filipino riders McKinley Kyle Paz and Herbert Lopez hope to pick up from where they left off as they resume their campaign in the FIM Asia Cup Road Race which holds its second leg on Oct. 4 in Chinese Taipei.
The two steered NAMSSA (National Motorcycle Sports and Safety Association)-Racewell Philippine team on top of the standings of the three-leg series following their historic performance in the opening round of the meet in Motegi, Japan that saw the 13-year-old Paz topped the two races held on August 23 and 24.
A total of 23 riders from Japan, Indonesia, Taipei, Sri Lanka, and Nepal saw action using identical Honda CBR 150 for the two main 10-lap races.
“It’s the first time in the last 12 years were competing in the tournament that we won in Japan,” said NAMSSA president Macky Carapiet, who accompanied Paz and Lopez in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
“When young Kyle here won Race 1, some people are saying baka tsamba lang. They never really think Filipinos will win in Japan.”
The country with the highest points based on the cumulative scores of both riders will win the Nation Cup title at the end of the meet. No title will be given to an overall individual winner.
The 22-year-old Lopez, a business management undergraduate, finished at fourth place in both races to complement the remarkable showing of Paz in towing the Philippines at first place, followed by Japan and Indonesia.
Carapiet said moto power Malaysia and Thailand are set to vie in the second leg where scooters will be utilized by the riders, although the two countries are hardly the Filipinos’ concern as they’ve missed competing in the opening round.
“Ang problema natin itong dalawa (Japan and Indonesia) because of the cumulative points,” said the long-time moto official in the session presented by Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp.
Carapiet personally met and recruited Paz, a student at Sienna College Taytay, during the visit of legendary Italian motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi here recently.
Paz said he’s hardly intimidated by older and more experienced opponents, stressing, “ang iniisip ko na lang po pare-parehas lang naman kami.”
The third and final leg will be held in Thailand on Oct. 19.