We hopped out of the vans in the Petronas gas station and stared across the highway at the Sepang International Circuit sign outside the Grand Prix racetrack in Malaysia. The sun was just rising and we had some significant setup work to do before the school started at 9 a.m., but our excitement was palpable.
The night before we’d gathered in my room at the Sama-Sama Hotel and reviewed last year’s MotoGP race so we could get a handle on the track layout. Chris Peris, our lead instructor, had lapped Sepang two months previous during a vacation to Asia with his wife Jenn—a terrific advantage for the rest of our instructor crew (myself, Ben Walters, Eziah Davis, Michael Henao, and MotoAmerica racer Cody Wyman) who had watched Sepang GP races for years but never dreamed of riding there. Ten minutes after entering the hallowed grounds, Chris was lapping with us in the diesel van with a five-speed manual and right-hand drive. That was pretty hilarious.
This dream school came about because of one man: Rex Tan, owner of Singapore motorcycle dealership Ban Hock Hin. Rex had attended Yamaha Champions Riding School and jumped at the chance to become a certified coach when we announced the 3C (Champions Certified Coach) program two years ago. Rex and his wife Stephanie had been working on getting Sepang Champ School rolling for more than a year and here we were with a sold-out school of 24 students. Thanks, Rex and Stephanie, and kudos to Chris Peris for the US coordination; these three made it happen.
As always in this column, I think pics tell the story best.