Learning > Inspiration

He's 70 and still pushing his limits

Former Grand Prix racer Lee Chiu San may be 70, but he still rides a motorcycle.

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Benson Ang on 11 Sep 2016

The Straits Times

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The retired car dealer and former motoring journalist scoots around in a 30-year-old Yamaha RD350 despite stares from younger riders.

 

He says: "They say I am old and shouldn't be riding a motorcycle and that my bike sounds very loud.

 

"But older riders will know my bike was derived from a famous Grand Prix racing bike. And they get excited when they see it."

 

Indeed, he had ridden earlier versions of his bike while participating in the Grand Prix races from 1970 to 1973.

 

Mr Lee - whose passion for motoring was sparked by his step-uncle Looi Im Heok, a motorcycle racer in the 1950s - first raced in the Grand Prix at age 24.

 

He says: "Uncle Looi sponsored me and three other racers to take part and we became quite successful under his guidance."

 

Winning the race was not the most important thing, he said.

 

"Conquering the track was what mattered. After I completed a track in good time, I felt a sense of accomplishment that words could not describe."

 

In those days, he recalls, a ticket cost between $1 and $15. A more expensive ticket would get you a seat on the grandstand, with shade.

 

Asked about the accidents and deaths that occurred during the event, he says: "These are sad stories. But it comes with the territory. After all, nobody forced us into the race."

 

After the Grand Prix was called off in 1974 due to safety concerns, he continued motorcycle racing in Malaysia.

 

As the years went on, he also raced in cars. His last race was in 1996 for his 50th birthday.

 

He is married with no children.

 

Although his racing days are over, his love for motoring is not.

 

Five years ago, he rode along the famous Route 66 across the United States - from Chicago to Los Angeles - covering 3,900km as a personal challenge.

 

He says: "To me, riding is about conquering one's fears and pushing one's limits.

 

"I will never stop riding."

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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