In 2015, Calvin Sim crashed out in the qualifying round of the OCBC Cycle Speedway Club Championship with his team, T3 Team Turtle Racing.
Four years later, with a SEA Games gold under his belt and more experience, the national cyclist is gunning for gold at Saturday's (May 5) Speedway South-east Asia Championship. He will anchor the Singapore team comprising Gabriel Tan, Luqmanul Hakim, Goh Choon Huat and SEA Games bronze medallist Mohamed Elyas.
The Republic, who finished fourth last year, face Myanmar, Laos and runners-up Malaysia while defending champions the Philippines, Brunei, Thailand and Cambodia are in the other group after Friday's draw ceremony at Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway.
Each four-rider team is split up into pairs and each pair cover five laps on a flat 1km stretch along Stadium Drive.
Sim stressed that teamwork is paramount for this format.
"This is very different from the individual races (that I do), here you're just as strong as the weakest link," said the 28-year-old, who won the men's omnium at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games.
"If one person lags behind, the next rider has to play catch up which is honestly very tough."
To illustrate his point, Sim added: "Elyas, he can sprint, he doesn't need to launch an attack and try to break away from the group early in the race. But for me, I can't outsprint them at the end so I know I cannot wait till the last moment."
Captain Goh, who rides professionally with Terengganu Cycling, said the Malaysian team comprised "really good sprinters" and will be favourites.
He added: "Our team only has two sprinters while they have four, so we'll try to do something, maybe break away from them earlier so we don't have to try to outsprint them (nearing) the end."
Do not discount the Thais either, said Sim. "They have a lot of seasoned riders who have been training together for a long time so their teamwork is definitely there."
Malaysia, champions in 2016, are fielding new faces. Four of their five riders have never competed in this event but captain Anuar Manan remained confident.
He said: "We've been having really good training to prepare for it. There should be no problem winning today."
In the club category, 15 local teams will be vying for the title in the absence of defending champions TWC Racing.
The 42km Sportive Ride and 23km The Straits Times Ride, which will see participants cycle past iconic landmarks such as Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer, will be held tomorrow.