Not too long ago, Vulcan Post wrote about FreeW, a startup by Alison Grün that provides biking classes for women who are interested in learning and just having fun with it.
They actually conduct their classes at an off-road track in Kampung Sungei Penchala called Most Fun Gym (MFG).
MFG also provides its own motorbike riding classes. Currently, it is run by a 66-year-old man called Oh Kah Beng, or Foreman Oh in his glory days.
It is a motocross biking facility that caters to urbanites who want to experiment riding on two-wheelers in a safe and controlled environment that’s not too far from home.
Dictionary Time: Motocross is a timed motorcycle race over a closed course consisting of a winding dirt trail with hills, jumps, sharp turns, and often muddy terrain.Dictionary.com
Growing Up Around Big Toys
Oh Kah Beng earned his nickname Foreman Oh when he was a young boy because he spent a lot of time in his dad’s bike shop. It was almost like a playground to him.
“When kids went to Toys“R”Us, I was playing on a motorcycle, sweeping the floor in the workshop and helping my dad out. I just felt very at home getting myself dirty in a workshop,” Kah Beng shared with Vulcan Post.
“I was lucky to have been surrounded by big toys at such a young age, but at the same time I also broke many bones in the process of playing with them.”
When Kah Beng helped his dad in the workshop, one of their clients was an Australian motor-racing club whose bikes Kah Beng’s dad serviced.
While helping, he also had the opportunity to test out these bikes himself. Finally, one day, he was offered to try out racing at a motocross facility.
He was lent a Montessa by one of the Australians at a dirt bike circuit. Kah Beng was only 16 years old at the time, he told Biker’s Republic.
After that experience, he couldn’t get enough of his newfound love for bike-racing, so he ventured into road racing, using his childhood nickname of Foreman Oh.
Unlike motocross, road-racing is done on a closed circuit like in Sepang and not on a dirt trail.
From Fixing Bikes In A Workshop To Becoming National Champion
Kah Beng had a close friend called Hamid Jalil who loaned him his 6-month-old RD250 to race in his first Penang Race Circuit Series Production Category in 1974, which he won.
There was no turning back for Kah Beng by now, and he went on to win subsequent similar races that he entered in other Grand Prix in Batu Tiga.
Kah Beng’s highest personal achievement was racing with Wayne Gardner, an Australian former professional GP motorcycle racer.
He shared that he beat Wayne when they raced together in KL, and that years later, Wayne would go on to become the 500cc world champion.
Standing as the top national rider for many years gained Kah Beng some traction, especially from oil companies.
Kah Beng ended up working in Shell for almost 14 years, Lotus for 17, and another oil company for 4 years.
“I was lucky that one of the oil companies hired me to be their technical sales guy. I was racing with this bike that was the first of its kind in Malaysia. It was a very high performance bike that was also very costly,” he recalled.
While working in corporate was very different from a racing career, he didn’t mind doing it because anything bike-racing related was his passion. To Kah Beng, it felt like getting paid for your hobby.
Retiring From Racing Early
Though Kah Beng had always been aware that his passion comes with a risk, it never discouraged him from pursuing it.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to escape that risk as he had a serious accident when he was 28 while racing.
“I flew 100 miles per hour over the handlebar and I was watching the race as I waited for the ambulance with my broken arm. The bone was sticking up from my leather but I didn’t feel any pain because I had so much adrenaline,” he told Vulcan Post.
At the time, he was also married and was working with Shell already, so his parents told him to just forget about racing and focus on his marriage and work.
In fact, his wife even told him to stop racing if he wanted to start having kids and build a family.
However, after he recovered, he raced for one more year, though he was semi-retired already.
Furthermore, his broken arm was still recovering at the time, which affected his confidence and stressed him out.
But he did it anyway, since he didn’t want to disappoint those who paid him to race.
Not Giving Up On His First Love
As damaging as the accident was for Kah Beng, it wasn’t the last we would see of him on a race track.
In 2014, Kah Beng left the corporate world to return to his passion for racing one last time and started MFG.
The timing was perfect as Kah Beng was almost 60 at the time and about to retire from his job. He had found a piece of land in Kampung Sungei Penchala and decided to build a private motocross track on it.
From 2015 onwards, he began getting inquiries from people wanting to learn about riding bikes, which pushed him to open up the track and charge people for it.
Today, they have around 20 students per week and have grown their inventory to 15 bikes from 3 bikes when they first started out.
Editor’s Note: Parts of this article have been edited to reflect greater accuracy.
- You can learn more about Most Fun Gym here.
- You can learn more about other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: Oh Kah Beng, founder of Most Fun Gym