Malaysian Match Racing Circuit Stage 1 - Down to the wire

Hazwan and Jeremy in close battle in the most anticipated match of the day - Malaysian Match Racing Circuit 2012
© Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images
Malaysian Match Racing Circuit (MMRC) first stage is underway at the Royal Malaysian Naval Base in Lumut. Day two (12th May) started with the remaining matches for Qualifying Round. Jeremy Koo was a picture of confidence as he cruised into the semi- finals after beating long time rival Hazwan Hazim for a straight streak of wins in the Qualifying Round MMRC Stage One.

'It is a good feeling coming out undefeated in the Qualifying rounds. Matches are a lot more strenuous and working with two new team members, we were definitely under pressure to perform. I must give credit to my team who did an absolute fantastic job today,' said Jeremy.

In an exciting twist, Harisfabillhah Muhammad (Royal Malaysian Navy Match Racing Team 2) climbed the ranks from starting as a novice match racer to qualifying comfortably for the semi-final stage by beating Rizal Mahadi (SetiaWest Marine) in the first match of the day. Harisfabillah initial 3-2 win of yesterday upset the scoreboard and put him in the running for the semi-finals. Racing continued with flights eight thru to eleven that saw some pretty exciting races between Nurul Ain Md Isa (Ri-Yaz Heritage Sailing Team), Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (Permai Hotel Match Raicng Team), Masyuri Rahmat (Royal Malaysian Navy Match Racing Team) and Jeremy Koo (Koo Racing Team).

With the wind finally picking up in the afternoon and plenty of sunshine, the last four flights of the Qualifying Round got more exciting as the sailors sought to find balance and control of their boats. It was down to the wire for the final spot in the semi finals between Nurul Ain Md. Isa and Masyuri Rahmat after Jeremy Koo and Hazwan Hazim Dermawan qualified with scores of 6-0 and 5-1 respectively.

Nurul Ain was out of the running after losing her final match against Masyuri Rahmat. Nurul’s loss was Masyuri’s gain as he was now in the top four. Ain said that although they did well in the pre-starts, the constant wind today was a disadvantage for their light weighted crew. 'It was a close call. The pre-starts were pretty close but once he (Masyuri) gybed away, we just could not catch up.' Nurul Ain took her defeat well saying, 'We’ll need to train more together as a team, as I am away most of the time now with Sukma training. We should be better prepared for the next event in Pulau Indah, Selangor.'

The qualifying round ended with the following results:

Qualifying Round Final Standings
Jeremy Koo (Koo Racing Team) 6-0
Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (Permai Hotel Match Racing Team) 5-1
Harisfabillah b Muhammad ((Royal Malaysian Navy Match Racing Team 3) 4-2
Masyuri Rahmat (Royal Malaysian Navy Match Racing Team 1) 3-3
Nurul Ain Md.Isa (Ri-Yaz Heritage Sailing Team) 2-4
Nik Ashraf Thaqid (Royal Malaysian Navy Match Racing Team 2) 1-5
Rizal Mahadi (SetiaWest Marine) 0-6

Jeremy Koo of Koo Racing Team - Malaysian Match Racing Circuit 2012
© Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images

With the qualifying round out of the way, the teams came back ashore for the semifinal boat draw. Highest ranked Jeremy Koo picked Harisfabillah Muhammad and that left Hazwan Hazim to face Masyuri Rahmat.

In the first semi-final match ,Jeremy Koo beat Harisfabillah Muhammad by 33 seconds while Masyuri Rahmat finished ahead of Hazwan Hazim by 21 seconds.

Chief umpire, Gary Manuel commented, 'There were some really close situations today and the results could have swung one way or another. Racing was more aggressive today as the teams got more comfortable with the boats and conditions here. There was lots of yelling from the teams and everyone was under pressure.'

The current standings for the semi-finals are as follows:
1. Jeremy Koo (Koo Racing Team) beat Harisfabillah Mnuhammad (RMNMRT2) 1-0
2. Masyuri Rahmat (RMNMRT1) beat Hazwan Hazim Dermawan (PHMRT) 1-0

Racing continues tomorrow as the top four teams continue the semi-finals with the hopes of being crowned the Champion of the Malaysian Match Racing Circuit Stage One - Lumut, Perak and winning a cash prize of RM15,000.00 sponsored by the state government of Perak.

Monsoon Cup website
World Match Racing Tour website