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Phuket Sports: Brothers Grimes step up a gear

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PHUKET: After completing their rookie karting season at the national level in 2012, Phuket’s Ben and Sam Grimes took a well-earned rest for a couple of months over the New Year and reviewed their options and priorities for 2013.

For Ben, it was about improving on his 3rd place finish in last year’s Thai National Championship and consistently competing at the front end of the grid, and to challenge for this year’s Championship.

For Sam, who has made the move up from the 60cc Cadet Class to the 125cc Junior Class, where he will compete directly against his elder brother, it is really about gaining experience in the ultra-competitive junior category and seeking continual improvements in speed, lap times, race craft and results.

Over the close season, a decision was made that the boys would compete in the Rotax Asia Max Challenge (AMC) series held in Malaysia, in addition to the Thai Championships.

Rotax AMC is without a doubt the most competitive series in South Asia, drawing some of the best drivers from across Asia, in addition to having strong Thai representation.

The year also started brightly when the two brothers were able to secure a sponsorship arrangement with the investment management firm Secure Wealth Management, who are based in Phuket, as well as having sales offices overseas.

A busy year of racing commenced at Sepang in March with Round 1 of the AMC. Both boys were keen to impress early. Sam, was however to have a very tough weekend trying to get to grips with the larger, more powerful kart; although he showed reasonable pace in the practice sessions, he was to qualify 24th in the 32 kart field and suffered a series of minor accidents resulting in him finishing only one of the four scheduled races.

Ben had a superb weekend. The team set him a target of finishing close to a top 10 position, so it was a little disappointing when he qualified in 19th place, although – and to put the competitiveness of the event into perspective – he was only three tenths of a second off 7th place.

In both heats 1 and 2, storming starts lifted Ben up the field to finish 11th and 10th respectively, which placed him overall in 9th place on the grid for the pre-final, where he drove a mature and sensible race to finish 8th. Starting from the 4th row in the final, Ben again drove sensibly and showed excellent race craft to eventually pick up three more places and grab the final place on the podium to finish a highly creditable 5th on his AMC debut.

Round 1 of the Thai Rotax Championship followed and both brothers suffered frustrating weekends, mainly as a result of equipment issues. Things did not start overly well when their new chassis did not make it on time, resulting in the need to use different karts. Throughout the weekend, the team struggled to get the new engines up to speed and both karts suffered jetting problems resulting in Ben finishing 5th and Sam 7th from a field of 10.

The first weekend in April brought another visit to Sepang in Kuala Lumpur for AMC Round 2, with hopes high for another successful weekend. Even more drivers entered Round 2, so in total 35 karts took to the track in what turned out to be a massively competitive and very aggressive weekend of races and incidents.

Ben was again a little disappointed to qualify in 15th position while Sam started to feel more comfortable at the busy home of Malaysia motor racing and qualified a creditable 25th, beating several more experienced racers on only his 2nd time at the track in a junior kart.

The racing, however, started disastrously for Ben when he was involved in crashes in both heats with him finishing well down the field in 26th place in heat 1 and being black flagged for losing his nose cone in heat 2. This put him almost last in 30th position on the grid for the pre-final but a dogged and aggressive drive saw him overtake 17 drivers to finish 13th and set his personal best lap at Sepang, only two tenths of a second off the fastest lap of the day.

Ben had another racing incident at the start of the final when another driver pushed him off the track and onto the grass on the infield, which negated most of the good work he had achieved in the pre-final. Coming out of the first corner in 22nd position, it was an uphill battle for him to regain the places he had lost, but that he did and eventually he finished a strong 12th to add valuable championship points to those gained in Round 1.

After two rounds, Ben currently stands 5th in the AMC standings, which has given him an excellent foundation for the season.

Sam had a much better weekend than in the first round. He qualified a very creditable 24th and finished the two heats in 17th and 22nd respectively. Starting the pre-final 8 places ahead of his brother Ben in 22nd, Sam maintained his place to finish in the same position, although he slipped a little in a very tight final to finish 27th. He continually improved his personal best lap time and finally broke into the 49s, thereby being less than seven tenths of a second off pole position but admitted at the end, that he had possibly sacrificed final race position for the comfort of actually finishing the race.

The Thai Championship continues at Saraburi on April 27 and 28 and the third round of the Malaysia AMC will be held at the Elite Speedway in Kuala Lumpur from May 17 to 19.

— Phuket Gazette

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results

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Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People arriving Phuket from the “highest risk” areas are required to take a swab test by the staff at emergency operation centres (EOC) or show the test result document endorsed by the EOC staff made within 72 hours of their arrival. The revised order is effective from now until January 31, according to the Phuket Governor.

Those people who are on a brief business trip to Phuket need to show certificates from their employers describing the reason and necessity of their trips. If they want to leave their accommodations, they have to make a request to the EOC and clearly explain the reason as well as the time and destination. Visitors are also asked to avoid going to the community areas to avoid crowded gatherings.

It is noted that the revised order by the governor has not been officially promoted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. However, all visitors are still asked to register online via the Mor Chana contact tracing application and via www.gophuget.com according to the order re-issued on Friday.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint

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The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | The Thaiger

There are two well known ways to get from Kathu to Kalim or Kamala – one is across the Patong Hill, and the other is much longer, through Srisoonthorn and along the coastal road from Surin the Kamala (very scenic too).

But there’s also another way. Also very scenic but will take you about 2 hours through dense forest although there is a well-worn walking track. The track will take you from Kathu up to the Kalim Viewpoint. From here you can head back to Kathu along a different path, or down into Kalim, near Patong.

Starting about halfway down Soi Namtok in Kathu, you head up a nondescript road past the Flying Hanuman zipline attraction, although there’s no sign at the entrance to the soi (below). About the first kilometre is paved but then becomes increasingly ‘agricultural’ as you get higher into the hills, heading towards the Kalim Viewpoint. There’s also a small temple on the way up.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The start of the trek, a small soi off Soi Namtok – Google Maps

It will take around 2 hours to trek up to the Kalim Viewpoint. The walking is quite strenuous and you’ll need to be wearing the right shoes and take plenty of water – there’s no 7/11s on the way! As you get nearer the top, to the viewpoint, the track becomes less drivable although the track is still quite open and easy to follow. If you’re feeling a bit lazy you can take a motorbike about halfway up the road until you’ll need to proceed on foot from there.

From the Kalim Viewpoint you can see across Kalim to Patong Bay and the land that stretches along the bay south of Patong Beach. From the top you can either make your way down to Kalim or another exit along the Kalim-Kamala Road, just near the Iguana Beach Club.

You can also head back another way to Kathu, a longer return track that skirts around the top of the Kathu Waterfall. A lot of that track gets very narrow and parts of it are up and down the hills, some of it very steep.

The views are amazing and you get to see a vast swathe of Phuket, still very close to popular locations like Patong, Kamala and Kathu, but untouched by any civilisation.

You’ll need to be in reasonable health to take on the trip but, just to go up to the Kalim Viewpoint and back, or down into Kalim, should take around 5 hours in total. On a scale of 1 – 5 for difficulty, we’d rate it a 3. An easy trek for experienced people but will need a bit of planning if you’re not an experienced trekker.

Even on a hazy day, as it was today, the views were amazing. But best to start off early morning when the weather is cooler. Well worth the time for the views and the opportunity to see more of Phuket, away from the bars and beaches.

Thanks to BT for the pics and information.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The ThaigerThe road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Police say Phuket school won’t be charged for employing foreign teachers without a work permit

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police say Phuket school won’t be charged for employing foreign teachers without a work permit | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

An international school in Phuket is not facing charges for employing foreign teachers without a work permit, police told the Phuket News. Back in November, 2 British nationals were arrested at the Palm House International School in Rawai in a raid by Phuket Immigration officers, acting on a tip that teachers were working at the school without a work permit.

The case was handed over to the Chalong Police. The department was also requested to investigate the school for suspected illegal hiring practices. When pressed by Phuket News reporters, the Chalong Police Chief Sarawut Chuprasit said the school officials are not facing any charges for employing the teachers illegally, without a work permit, and referred reporters to the provincial prosecutor.

“I have no reason to press any charge against the school at all. It is not right to accuse the school.”

Many schools in Thailand, especially international schools, obtain work permits for foreign teachers and even pay the fees. It’s also fairly common for foreign teachers to work without the proper documents, especially during the pandemic where travel restrictions make border runs nearly impossible.

Phuket News say police will not release the names of the 2 British teachers and will not give any additional information. They add that the provincial prosecutor’s office will also not release information without a police case number or suspects’ names. In a previous report, Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief also declined to identify the British nationals by name or age.

“Their visa status does not allow them to work or perform any form of business. They were arrested as they are suspected of working without a work permit.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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