In the inaugural OCBC Cycle Speedway Challenge last evening, the Malaysian team – led by South East Asian Games double-winning gold medallist Mohd Harrif bin Saleh – clinched the title.
A unique cycling race format
The OCBC Cycle Speedway Challenge had a unique cycling race format – whereby cyclists competed in teams of four, in a relay format – along a fast and straight 1km loop around the Singapore Sports Hub’s Stadium Drive.
The first two cyclists started the race and rode together for the first five loops, and then their two team mates took over for the second five loops, to ride home. The team timing was calculated from the time that it took for the first cyclist in the team to cross the starting line, to how long it took for the last cyclist in the team to cross the finishing line.
Malaysians were dominant throughout
From start to finish, the Malaysians were completely dominant, with both Hariff and his team-mate Muhamad Adiq Husainie bin Othman cruising their way to the finishing line easily – in first place. The Malaysians won in a timing of 18 minutes and 44 seconds.
In second place was Singapore, coming in at about four minutes slower.
Win comes as no surprise
The Malaysian victory came as no surprise, as Hariff had been confident of winning, prior to the competition. In a pre-competition interview, he had said, “Winning two gold medals during the SEA Games in June in Singapore meant a lot to me and my country. The competition at the OCBC Cycle Speedway Championship may be tough but we are all gunning for a double win here.”
Prior to the race, Hariff had also said, “I am going to give it my all with my team. The new race format of a speedway race is unique in this part of the world and it’s going to be exciting.”
Emphasis of the competition was speed
Though Hariff may have said prior to the race – that he and his team mates had not known how to plan for a competition of this format as it was the first time they would be taking part in one, one thing was for sure. The emphasis of a competition like this would be based on speed, and Hariff himself knew that his strength lay in speed.
This is what had probably contributed to clinching the win for the Malaysian cyclists.