December 9, 2016

2016 Serpent Asia Cup – Report

The recent 2016 Serpent Asia Cup was run along side the season finale of the Serpent GT Cup and held at the Hong Kong based TRC track. 52 drivers signed in for GT Modified class while over 100 entries were received for the GT RTR category. The Serpent Asia Cup then added two more classes to the special event in the form of the 1/10th Nitro Touring class and 1/8th Nitro on-road class. Current 1/10th Nitro Touring World Champion, Dominic Greiner as well as former IFMAR A-main finalist Takumi Matsuda made the trip as special guest as did Serpent’s Michael Salven and Billy Easton who raced in the 1/8th on-road and GT Modified class respectively. The Asia Cup also attracted driver from America, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippine, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. With more then 100 drivers all on Serpent chassis, the races were intense with a friendly atmosphere around the pit area.

There seems to be a resurgence of popularity of the 1/8th scale nitro on-road classes and this was underlined by the presence of three full heats. All eyes were on current German Champion and 977 series designer, Michael Salven. The veteran race showed no sign of age on the track and a lot of drivers took their chance to have a photo taken with the legend. As for the qualifiers, Michael started out well but suffered gremlins in the remaining rounds, leading to a sub-standard result for him. Another driver that showed signs of very good speed was Hong Kong’s Cheng but he also suffered problems during the qualifying rounds and and so he ended up on P7 for the main. Nelson Lee from Singapore also showed good form with very fast lap times, however the TQ honours went to Felix Law from Hong Kong. Although better known on the EP touring and buggy field, and this being his first taste of the 1/8th scale on-road class after signing with Serpent, he already showed some very serious speed.

Right before the A-final start local driver Wadee and Michael Salven both called for a time out to address problems with their engines during the warm-up period. All drivers responded with great deal of sportsmanship and allow both drivers to have ample time to fix their problems. When both of them finally got the car ready and warmed up, everyone at the track was clapping and cheering. The final’s start then was smooth and Felix was able to lead the way. After the first few minutes, Felix was able to pull out a 10 seconds gap to the then second place Cheng. 10 Minutes into the race, Michael’s car suddenly lost power and his mechanic rushed to the scene to recover the car. After some checks his engine was changed and although losing a lot of time, Michael still decided to bring the car back, hoping to put on a good show, but the engine was not fitted properly due to rush and he was not be able to hit the track. During those dramatic times, there were also big changes on track. Felix had suffered a flame out that cost him the lead while Cheng had worked his way up, taking the lead with a pretty comfortable marring. After some more flame outs, Felix was not able to close the gap and eventually had to settle for second place. Up front Cheng Taki Chee from Hong Kong would be the first to cross the finish line, taking the win in a convincing fashion. Third place went to Wadee after a close battle with Thailand driver Fluke.

1/8th on-road final results:
1. Cheng Tak Chee
2. Felix Law
3. Wadee
4. Fluke
5. Nelson Lee
6. Kim Daesik
7. Michael Salven
8. William Chu
9. Fat Wah
10.Seo Byungbo

In the 1/10 Nitro Touring class and with all drivers using the Natrix 748 platform, the TQ was still up for grabs after four rounds of qualifying. Dominic and Takumi were both a serious contender while local drivers Fai Ho, taking one round, was also in contention. Due to a late arrival to the track, Takumi’s car did not see any action until qualifying time came, but he would constantly improve. Dominic on the other hand was dominating and he took the first two rounds. After four rounds, Dominic was leading with two round wins while Takumi and Fai Ho both scored one round TQ. Based on a best 3 out of 5 rule, it was all going down to the last qualifier. At the end Takumi was able to secure the last round’s win, beating Dominic on the tie-breaker. Dominic and Fai Ho would line up in second and third place on the starting grid for the finals.

From the very start of the finals, both Takumi and Dominic were starting to pull away from the rest of the field, and everyone knew the win would be decided between them. However the race for third place was fierce in the early stage of the race. Fai Ho and Huang from China and Shinnosuke had the best chances and when the race reached the 15-minutes mark, things started to look different, Fai Ho and Huang both retired and Shinnosuke suffered from multiple flame outs. Local driver Johnny Lo was now sitting in third place whole up front both Takumi and Dominic opted to change a complete set of tires on their cars and after the pit stops it seemed like Takumi had gained an advantage and he started to pull away from Dominic. With only 5 minutes remaining on the clock, Dominic’s car started to act erratically and was not able to catch up. At the end of the 40-minutes encounter, Takumi Matsuda took the win with a comfortable margin over Dominic Greiner, while the third and final podium spot went to Hong Kong driver Johnny Lo.

1/10th Touring final results:
1. Takumi Matsuda
2. Dominic Greiner
3. Johnny Lo
4. Chen Ling Xiang
5. Shinnosuke Hagmioto
6. Liu Hai Feng
7. Fai Ho
8. Joseph Evaristo
9. Li Cong
10.Huang Yong Xiang

In the Serpent GT Modified class Billy Easton was showing very good speed even though he did not race the class for more than a year. The title contenders including Nelson Woo, Hui Chin Ho and Samuel Chiuvall had two wins in the bags and whoever won this round would be crowned the series champion. Hui’s performance during the qualifiers was flawless and by winning the first three rounds, taking the TQ honour convincingly. After getting used to the track and the chassis, Billy finally came good in the last two rounds to start the main from second place. Series points leader Nelson Woo would start his title chase from the third place.

With a good start all title contenders would be in a position to win the race but it was Billy that really made a statement. Not only did he pull fastest lap time, but his consistency was simply amazing, with his fastest single lap and 15 laps average being only 0.044s apart. 15 minutes into the race, Billy had a lead of nearly two laps up on Hui but as suddenly Billy’s car pulled to the side at the beginning of the straight, hitting the track barriers at nearly full speed things were over for the US boy as the impact left his engine damages, eventually ending his race. Hui then had a clean track in front of him and he would eventually take the win. Starting from P6, Kwai Lo from Hong Kong laid down a steady performance that awarded him with the runner-up spot while Nelson Woo suffered multi flame out during the race, only allowing him to finish in third place. As for the championship, Hui and Nelson ended tie on points with the number of race wins then handing Hui the overall title with Nelson in second place. With Hui winning and Nelson second, the third place went to Samuel Chiu, a single point in front of Kwai Lo.

GT Modified overall top 10 results:
1. Hui Chin Ho – 499
2. Nelson Woo – 499
3. Samel Chiu – 482
4. Kwai Lo – 481
5. Picco Lok – 476
6. Ben Lau – 460
7. Superman – 459
8. William Chu – 453
9. Wai Mak – 437
10.Anthony Lam – 429

The Serpent GT RTR class steadily grew in popularity over the year and much like the Modified class the overall champion would be decided in the final race. Four drivers, Philip Leung, Nelson Woo, Chun Yuk Ming and Siu Ming would be in contention and it was Philipp who took the TQ from Jason Choi in second while Nelson, Chun, and Siu Ming lined up third to fifth on the grid. As predicted, the four title contender had a fierce race during the main with Philip having a very slight advantage on Nelson in terms of lap times when disaster stroke for Nelson. Having three flame outs during his pit stops eventually robbed him the chance to take the title as he lost the second place to Chun. Up front Philip would take the final race and at the same time, crucial points for the series.

GT RTR overall top 10 results:
1. Philip Leung – 496
2. Nelson Woo – 491
3. Yuk Ming Chun – 488
4. Siu Ming – 487
5. Jason Choi – 475
6. Bus Cow – 466
7. HEC Lam – 463
8. Wadee- 460
9. Leung Chi Fung – 446
10.Fat Kit – 436

Source: Serpent []


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