CORNISH IS CROWNED KING OF ASIA
Cornish is crowned King of Asia
Shortly before Christmas, supermoto racer Lewis Cornish set off from his Norfolk home to Singapore for the penultimate round of the series hoping to consolidate his lead in the 2017 FIM Asia Supermoto Championships.
Joining him for the final two rounds of this all action series was top Danish racer Simon Vilhelmsen who is fourth rated rider in the world and was sure to be a tough rival in the heat and humidity of the KF1 Circuit. During free practice, qualifying and super-chrono for grid position it was the 25 year old Brit who narrowly put his Team KMTR Husqvarna at the front of the pack and Lewis sat on pole position for race one. This proved to be extremely important as the all tarmac circuit was tight and demanding with few places where a safe overtake could be carried out. As the lights went out Lewis gunned his bike off the line pulling across the front of his rivals and into turn one leading the chasing pack. Vilmhelmsen was putting pressure on Lewis as he looked for a gap to make a move. Keeping a cool head and setting a blistering pace it was the Dane that dropped off the pace and reigning champion Malaysian Gabit took up the second spot. With the gap behind him increasing, Lewis was scything his way through back markers and as his pit signals kept him informed of the gap to second he crossed the line on the back wheel with a comfortable lead.
Unfortunately ‘Mother Nature’ soon put paid to race two as a tropical lightning storm forced the organisers to cancel the second race and so Lewis took the top step of the podium and also increased his grip on the championship title which would be concluded at the National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia the following weekend.
With his bike finally back at the team’s Kenny Motorworks HQ in Puchong, it was stripped and meticulously rebuilt with upgraded clutch, suspension and brakes. Thai champion and former Asia No.1 Trakarn Thangthong was realistically the only rider with a chance of stealing the title from Lewis’ grasp at the final round but throughout qualifying it was a battle between Lewis and Vilmhelmsen, the Dane narrowly took pole by 0.02′. Once more this was going to prove to be extremely important on the tight and demanding Bukit Jalil circuit. With the temperature and humidity stifling, the riders thundered off the line for race one. Lewis tucked in behind his Danish rival, separated by the tiniest of margins, Lewis’ incessant pressure pushed Vilmhelmsen into a mistake and he slid to the ground coming off the triple jump. Out in front with a clear track Cornish put an eight second gap into the second place rider and looked certain to cruise to a comfortable win. However on the tight left hand turn one Lewis inexplicably slid off his bike but remounted to take third place at the flag.
Despite being clearly disappointed he knew he had one hand on the championship victory and only a major problem stood in the way of taking the Asia title. Race two started badly for Lewis as he hadn’t put his bike in gear for the start. Undeterred it wasn’t long before he had caught and passed Trakarn and as long as he finished in front of the likeable Thai he would be crowned champion. But Lewis is ever the racer and he passed several more riders including Vilmhelmsen to find himself in second place, however the Dane wasn’t going to let his British rival have an easy time and the pair battled bar to bar and soon forced his was back in front of Lewis. Checking on his pit signals it was soon clear that Lewis didn’t need to fight for places and he knocked off the pace and took the flag in a safe third which was a comfortable championship winning performance. The pit lane celebrations from Team KMTR erupted as Lewis did a celebratory burn-out his father Dave, Kenny, Simon and Justin shed tears of joy and relief as the reality began to sink in.
It was an amazing effort from all involved especially from Lewis who was almost permanently jet-lagged during the season as he flew from Asia, Europe the USA and Canada competing. Interviewed minutes after the race he explained “That was the worse race start I’ve ever had and I guess it was the nerves as I knew the championship was almost mine. Its been the longest, toughest season ever. I’d like to thank Simon Rushbrooke from Tekmo Racing as well as Kenny and Justin from Kenny Motorworks plus Metzeler and VMX and all my sponsors for making all of this possible. They have been right behind me with limited budget and equipment but we have finally done it. I’m so pleased my dad was here to share this moment with me and we will be celebrating in style. I want to congratulate Trakarn on his Asia class win and also Eric Loo the championship organisers for putting on such an awesome series. It was also good to have Simon (Vilmhelmsen) here for the last two rounds and it shows just how fast the riders are here that Hairi took the race two win. This championship is going places and I’m so happy to be part of it. For sure I’ll be here in 2018 to defend my title with Team KMTR and we will be better prepared for next season”
So with Lewis’ 2017 season finally at a close, he can now relax and make plans for 2018 If you would like to get involved with sponsoring or supporting Lewis in his racing you can keep in touch with Lewis’ racing by clicking onto www.lewiscornish.co.uk or CRT Supermoto Facebook page.
Lewis and his Team KMTR would like to thank the following for their continued support in the FIM Asia Championship.
Tekmo Racing, Kenny Motorworks, JBT Resources, Metzeler, VMX, Cti, MvD Racewear, Forcefield, Venhill, LR Designs, Morden Sport, WD40, SM Project, Holroyd Tyre warmers, The Boot Repair Co, Vibram, FTR Susension, GMX Radiators, Buff, Bwell Gym, Ducksmart, and Charge
Photo credit: FIM ASIA Supermoto