SINGAPORE - After a time penalty cost them a podium finish at last year's OCBC Cycle Speedway South-east Asia Championship, Singapore captain Goh Choon Huat has vowed his team have learnt from their mistake as they seek victory on Saturday (May 11).
He said: "We've been studying the lines so we won't make the same mistake. Myanmar won because they did the handover slowly and correctly.
"In training, we tried to simulate the passing of the tags and to make sure we don't cross the line."
Each four-ride team are split into pairs and each pair cover five laps on a flat 1km stretch along Stadium Drive.
Last year's Singapore team were judged to have crossed the finish line before handing over their tags to the next pair, resulting in a 20-second penalty. They finished fourth.
Friday's draw ceremony saw the Republic grouped with the Philippines, Laos and debutants Vietnam for the qualifying rounds.
Defending champions Myanmar, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia are in the other group.
The top two from each group, plus the fastest remaining team, advance to the semi-finals. This will be trimmed to four for the final.
Goh, 29, said: "The draw is kind of tough but Vietnam are a new team, so they may not be familiar with the rule of thumb so that may be an advantage to us.
"I think only the handover part may bring us down, so we just have to stay calm and do that right."
The Filipinos, last year's runners-up, are also determined to reclaim the title they won in 2017.
Last year, they incurred a 10-second penalty for an infringement during the handover which allowed Myanmar to snatch victory.
There is no room for error, said Philippines captain Mier John Renee Sadaya. "The team are strong and we're confident of winning."
In the Speedway Club Championship, two all-female squads - Anza Cycling Women's Team and Fahrenheit Performance Development Team - are participating for the first time.
Anza Cycling captain Stephanie Lim said: "Cycling has always been a more male-dominated sport. We want to show that women's participation is on the rise and encourage more to do so and maybe have a women's category in the future.
"The race is going to be tough, but we've been working on our handovers and corners. We're going to try very hard to stick with the peloton, so that it will be easier and just have a successful race."
The Speedway Corporate Championship will also take place at the Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday, while the mass participation The Sportive Ride (42km) and The Straits Times Ride (23km) will be on Sunday at the same venue.