Honda’s Our Challenging Spirit contest this year is in Phase 2 now. Basically Honda associates a challenging spirit with a few qualities and for Phase 2 it is Challenge and Refinement. You can nominate someone that you think possesses these qualities. You’ll stand to win some prizes, but I think the best of all is having that special person up there on the nomination wall together with your story on why that person is special.
Since the contest is a motorsports-related thing after all, I’m going to nominate one Malaysian that we tend to associate with motorsports – Karamjit Singh. I think Malaysians will be quite familiar with this rally driver who has done Malaysia proud, snagging the Group N (Production car) titles in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
2004 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion
2002 FIA Production Car World Rally Champion
2002 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion
2001 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion
2001 Group N FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion
2000 Group N FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion
1998 Thailand National Rally Champion
1997 Group N FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion
1990 – 1997 Malaysian Rally Champion
But after that sponsorship seemed to have fallen short and Karamjit fell off the radar for awhile. There were even instances where the FIA subsidised participation fees for rallies because they knew his team were facing financial diffiulties. In 2005 he ran the risk of losing his racing license and his means of living as APRC rules stated one had to finish 6 out of 8 races but Karamjit did not have enough money to run sufficient rounds. He ended up getting slapped with a USD20,000 fine. That’s alot of money.
Despite all of that, Karamjit continues to bounce back and the latest is that he is back in a fully manufacturer backed rally team, driving the new Proton Satria Neo Super 2000. He’ll be racing at the APRC leg in Johor this August. “It’s a dream come true, an opportunity of a life time for me,” said 47 year-old Karamjit who began his career in 1985. “I have waited twenty-four years for this car.”
Honda’s definition of Challenge is to stand up to the challenges in life even against all odds and succeed in accomplishing goals otherwise not achievable if not for the challenging spirit. And as for Refinement – the relentless pursuing of perfection, constant learning, patience, and un-ending commitment to strive for the best in everything that one does. Some say Karamjit is already too old to continue racing but I feel with age and experience and constantly doing something you do best and trying to better yourself like in rallying and other forms of motorsports, it helps one get closer in that pursuit of perfection.
I think Karamjit has definitely has these qualities, so he’s got my nomination. If you know of an outstanding person who has made an impact in your life with the qualities Passion, Dedication, Challenge or Refinement, pay a tribute to the person and submit a nomination at the Honda Motorsports Challenging Spirit website.