09/11/2023  •  8 mins read

20 Years of Revving with PETRONAS Malaysian Cub Prix

 From Underdog to Thriving National-Level Sport

Dyg Ainul Mardiah Bt Zainal | Illustrations by Ahmad Saiful Syazwan Ahmad Jamil

The racing bug bit Kasma Daniel as a young boy growing up in Johor. His father Kasmayudin Margono, a former racer, introduced Kasma to motorcycle racing when he was seven years old. Since then, he was smitten with its speed and adrenaline and started competing at 12 years old.

Despite having no formal training except coaching from his father, Kasma quickly rose from rookie to champion. At the age of 16, he broke the record by becoming the youngest Cub Prix champion in 2016. This caught the attention of Valentino Rossi, who invited Kasma to train at his VR46 Rider Academy in Italy that same year. To date, Kasma is the only rider to have won three separate back-to-back titles as the CP115 Champion in 2015, CP130 Champion in 2016 and CP150 Champion in 2017 in the PETRONAS Malaysian Cub Prix Championship.

In 2022, Kasma made his debut in the Asia Superbike 1000cc race category of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship and won two races. From humble beginnings to international success, Kasma Daniel has proven that hard work and dedication can make anything possible. “I am very grateful for the opportunities and support that the PETRONAS Cub Prix has given me. This is where I started, and it opened the door for me to race internationally. So, for that, I am thankful,” he said.

Introduction and background

Kasma Daniel is one of the many success stories in Cub Prix Championship. Established in 1994, the championship is Malaysia's premier national motorsports event that aims to develop local motorsports talents and contribute to socioeconomic development. Organised by Safe Aim Mutual Sdn Bhd (SAM), the championship quickly gained popularity due to its accessibility at the grassroots level and exciting atmosphere. Recognising this, PETRONAS got in on the action in 2003 as the title sponsor which continues till today. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the PETRONAS Malaysian Cub Prix Championship, making it one of the longest-running partnerships in the Malaysian sporting arena. The involvement of PETRONAS and its long-term commitment have revolutionalised the Malaysian sports scene to be more structured and sustainable. Ron Hogg, Promotions Director of SAM said, “The partnership has contributed immensely to the growth and development of extraordinary riders. The opportunity rendered through PETRONAS has enabled these riders to scale to greater heights within the Asian and international front, not only in their personal aspirations but also in the development of a professional career,” he said.

Origins of Cub Prix

"Cub Prix" comes from the Cantonese nickname "Cub 仔," or "Little Cub". Pronounced cub chai or kapcai, it originally referred to the Honda Cub motorcycles, introduced in 1958. Today, "Cub Prix" refers to underbone motorcycles (moto kapcai) in Malaysia. Kapcai motorcycles were usually associated with illegal street racing and reckless motorcycle riding – often related to Mat Rempit. However, the establishment of Cub Prix has elevated underbone motorcycle racing into a professional, safe and legitimate sport at the national level. It serves as a platform for these adrenaline-seeking riders to showcase their skills and compete on a larger stage.

Socio-economic development and well-being

The Cub Prix Championship has continuously nurtured local talents while contributing to socio-economic development. These events, which are predominantly held across up-and-coming towns such as Tangkak, Jasin, Jempol, Teluk Intan, Batu Kawan and Sepang, bring with them added exposure plus boosts the local economy. Research by the PETRONAS Cub Prix revealed that the championship generates approximately RM 1.75 million per weekend for each host venue. This amount includes cash inflow from the race organisers, teams and participants generated from hotel bookings, food and beverages. The amount also includes cash generated by traders at the host venues. The gig economy has helped to put the host venues, such as Jempol, Negeri Sembilan and Pontian, Johor, on the map, making these small towns a magnet to tourists and potential investors.

According to Safe Aim Mutual data, this championship has created approximately 2,000 job opportunities per year, which includes race engineers, team coordinators, freelance photographers, race officials and broadcasting freelance professionals. Khairul Hisham Hj Mazlan, Head of PETRONAS Brand who oversees the sponsorship said, “This championship not only benefits the sponsors, riders, and organisers, but also contributes directly to the development of community and local economic well-being. For example, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) use Cub Prix as a testing ground for developing their motorcycles to be introduced in the market. It is also a weekend event for families and the community to come together.”

Additionally, Ron disclosed that the prize money has been increased by almost 50 per cent this year, totaling RM500,000 for 10 rounds, excluding the winning bonus “This substantial increase will not only enhance the prestige of this event but also benefit the well-being of riders, their families and the surrounding community,” he said.

For the past 20 years, an estimated 4,000 riders have been developed through the PETRONAS + Malaysian Cub Prix partnership according to SAM data. Several riders have progressed to compete in international championships such as the MotoGP, World Superbike and Asia Road Racing Championship among others. Their participation in the international scene has further accentuated the portfolio of Malaysian riders by showcasing their skills on a global stage.

Some notable riders and their career highlights:

Expansion and Professionalisation

Over the years, the Cub Prix expanded its reach, introducing additional racing categories and attracting sponsors such as Hong Leong Yamaha, Boon Siew Honda, RK Malaysia, RCB, UMA Racing, NGK Spark Plug and MAXXIS Tire. With PETRONAS as the title sponsor, the championship gained more recognition and financial support, enabling it to improve racing infrastructure and enhance the overall event experience. This championship has also garnered international fans from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, who follow this race online.

The Cub Prix is also a testbed for PETRONAS’ Sprinta motorcycle engine oil which was formulated to enhance performance while protecting critical motorcycle components. The success of PETRONAS-sponsored teams such as PETRONAS Sprinta Yamaha-CKJ Racing and PETRONAS Sprinta Yamaha Maju Motor is a testimony of the performance and reliability of the machines using Sprinta in the race.


But despite its successes, challenges are inevitable:

  • Competing with other prestigious international motorcycle racing championships - the Cub Prix is a relatively small championship compared to the MotoGP and the World Superbike Championship. This translates into greater challenges in attracting better riders, limited media coverage and support from authorities.
  • Balancing safety with excitement - the Cub Prix is a dangerous sport; hence it is crucial to have safety measures in place such as mandatory safety gear, rider briefings, qualification of riders, technical inspections, medical teams and safety marshals. To meet safety standards, racetracks are equipped with proper barriers, run-off areas, and safety zones to minimise the impact of accidents and provide sufficient space for riders to manoeuvre.
  • Limited number of racing circuits and facilities – inadequate resources hamper riders from achieving their full potential, as riders get better with more track time. To address this, PETRONAS Cub Prix team is working closely with the Ministry of Youth and Sport to advise on the upgrade and modifications of two purpose-built racing tracks; Litar Lumba Tangkak in Johor and Litar Permotoran Terengganu.

The sport has grown substantially over the years despite the hurdles. Nevertheless, continuous support, especially from the relevant authorities is fundamental in ensuring its viability and sustainability.                       

Plans Moving Forward

Looking ahead, the PETRONAS Cub Prix aims to elevate the championship's profile and continue developing Malaysian motorsports talent. Efforts will focus on strengthening partnerships with international racing organisations, improving infrastructure, and expanding the fan base through engaging in marketing and promotional programmes. The Cub Prix also plans to embrace technological advancements, such as incorporating electric motorcycles, to align with the global shift towards sustainable racing. Plans in the pipeline include re-introduction and expansion of Cub Prix in Sabah and Sarawak and uncovering new talents within the localities. To inject diversity and inclusivity, Cub Prix is also looking into starting an all-ladies’ race class which would provide better opportunities for ladies to ride competitively.


The 20th anniversary of PETRONAS Cub Prix is a testament to the power of dreams, dedication, passion, and excellence. Over the years, the series has groomed and developed stars in motorsports while progressively alleviating the sport to a greater standard. 

Despite the challenges, the Cub Prix team is determined to find solutions that would pave better prospects for its riders in the long term. PETRONAS Senior General Manager of Group Strategic Communications Datin Anita Azrina Abdul Aziz said, “For 30 years now, the championship has been uniting Malaysians who share the same passion for speed, adrenaline and the thrill of the race. It’s fair to say that PETRONAS Cub Prix is the heartbeat of Malaysia’s two-wheel motorsport, and PETRONAS has proudly supported this.”

So do support this event by attending the races nearest to you. Check out Malaysian Cub Prix - PETRONAS Malaysian Cub Prix for upcoming races!

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