Wong does it right

Racing legend and speed ace Wong Ah Thiam indulges in folding bike racing and is loving every moment.

HELLO Foldies!
This week, we talk to Wong Ah Thiam @ Mohd Hafiz Wong Abdullah who related his folding bike racing experience to BaikBike. The race legend and former national cyclist finished third on his debut race on a folding bike at the MPSJ Criterium race at the recent MPSJ Cycle Fest 2012.

Team Dahon Racing Malaysia's lead rider Wong Ah Thiam

Wong, who competed for the first time on a Dahon Dash P18 folding bike, said he threw in everything he got to claim the third place in the race.

Apart from the folding bike gig, Wong also participated in three other races during the event.
“It was a good ride, but unfortunately, I didn’t train hard enough,” he said.

Doing well: Even with little preparation, Wong managed a podium finish at his first folding bike race.

DAHON MALAYSIA’S SPONSORED CYCLIST

Sometime in March, Wong had stated his intention to race at the MPSJ Criterium, a 9km race around the town council’s compound covering three laps with undulating terrain. He was desperately looking for a folding bike to enter the event.

Then, as the day drew closer, the former national cyclist had a break with a loan bike from Le Run Industries (distributor for Dahon Bikes in Malaysia).

“I wanted to borrow a bicycle from Johnny Ng from My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama, but was told that the race-tuned Dahon Dash P18 was not available.” Wong added that initially, he ran into a brick wall.

But as time progresses, he managed to obtain a 2012 Dahon Dash P18 to compete in the race.
“I had it fitted and tuned for the road race, but am not really familiar with the bike settings because it has really small wheels,” he recalled.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

Unlike leisure cyclists and amateur athletes who competed in the MPSJ Criterium, some professional racers actually trained for a podium finish.

Wong said he barely had time from work to prepare for the race. And as far as the simple 3km course was concerned, he added that experience counts.

The leading pack with Wong (far right) at the first lap of the MPSJ Criterium.

“I was with a tight pack during the first and second lap.
“The man I was on the lookout for was Shawal Shafee from team My Bicycle Shop. So, when the group was flagged off, we broke away and only three of us remained in the lead.”

Fatigue took a tool as the trio approached the last 100metres to the finish line.

“When we came round the corner, I was behind Shawal. The lead rider made a sprint to the finish and that was it.
“I was completely flat-out and came in third.”

Final push: Wong battling it out with two of his competitors during the race.

The top three folding bike cyclists left the rest of the pack by half a-lap. For a first-timer in the MPSJ Criterium, it was clear that Wong had used his experience for a podium finish.

SMALL WHEELS, BIG FUTURE

Wong added another feather to his cap by doing well in his debut. He hopes to continue racing for team Dahon Malaysia in future events.

All he needs, is a better bike and it would be no surprise to see a consistent performance from this race veteran.
BaikBike wishes Wong all the best in his future endeavours.

By Samo
samcheong@gmail.com

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