Fatal Incidents: Police must stop issuing permits, participants stop supporting unsanctioned events - Fariqe

25 Jan 2023 11:41am
Former FIA World Touring Car Championship driver Fariqe Hairuman
Former FIA World Touring Car Championship driver Fariqe Hairuman
SHAH ALAM - There needs to be synergy between various government agencies and motorsports authorities in order to curb the growing number dangerously unsanctioned motorsports events that have resulted in fatalities due alarmingly negligent organisation.

Former British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) driver Fariqe Hairuman said questions should also be asked of the police, since it was their issuance of permits to such events, without knowledge of safety requirements and without coherence with motorsports authorities as to why safety should be paramount.

"We need to also blame those who allow such events to be held. Why did the police issue permits to allow such events when they did not involve the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM)?

"If events were sanctioned by MAM, then at the very least there would be minimum safety standards imposed to protect participants and spectators and safeguard the image of motorsports," said Fariqe, who was also a championship-winning driver in the Japanese Super Taikyu series.

Fariqe explained that it was evident that organisers and participants took sanctioning lightly, mainly to avoid paying sanction fees and sought police permits to hold public events as a means to legitimise such events.

He was responding to revelations by Federal Territory Motorsports Association president Shahrol Yuzy Ahmad Zaini that organisers of unsanctioned events have been protected by political connections, some even allegedly supported by the Youth and Sports Ministry, while police presence suggested that they had permits to coerce the public into a false sense of legitimacy.

A New Year Eve incident at the Dato Sagor Circuit in Perak, itself a non-homologated facility, saw a spectator killed after a car veered off-track and ploughed into him as he was standing in an unprotected area. That was just the latest in a series of deaths at unsanctioned motorsports events.

Fariqe himself had come from a street racing background, but had built a career as one of the most successful touring car drivers in the country and he calls on motorsports enthusiasts to take safety regulations, sanctioning and their own protective devices such as insurance and safety gear seriously.

"These unsanctioned events have become popular mainly because they are cheaper to participate in. Participants too are not required to hold competition licences and organisers do not have to install the required safety infrastucture that the sanctioning body would require them to have in place. This is mainly to run an event on the cheap, but at the cost of lives," said Fariqe.
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"In an event that is not sanctioned by the national governing body for motorsports, I doubt that insurance claims can be made in the event of untoward incidents, because that is a prerequisite of insurance claims. You need to compete in a sanctioned event with group insurance with a competition licence for yourself. Motorsports is expensive, but these are costs that must be the prerequisite to competing in an event or competitor."

"Although I have more or less retired from international racing, my racing life insurance is still active because it is part of my life, which I will never leave. You need to ask how many of these so-called racers take this matter seriously. You can see that there are not many. They prefer to do it on the cheap and thus support all these unsanctioned events."

Fariqe also revealed that some organisers, when told that their events were unsafe, responded with claims of developing grassroots motorsports, which needed to be affordable to the masses and thus the participants should also be at fault because they create the demand for such events.

"They should not use this grassroots claim as an excuse because I have seen for myself, in some of these events how rich the participants were, but were encouraged to participate as it was cheap to do so and thus took safety very lightly. I have even seen for myself, a participant driving a Porsche GT3RS, with a motorcycle helmet as his only safety gear!" said Fariqe.
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