Farewell ‘tough’ racer Lee

Lee Kwai Leong

The tragic accident on July 16 involving a 69-year-old at the Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway (Latar) near Rawang was reported by the press.

But none highlighted the fact that the man who perished in the car crash was one of the nation’s most prominent racers, Lee Kwai Leong.

Lee was a household name in the motoring scene in the 70s, 80s and 90s, driving mainly for Tan Chong Motors under the marques of Datsun and Nissan.

“He was a regular at races, rallies and economy runs. He was a tough and talented competitor,” recalled former racer Hanifah Yoong.

“He won numerous events and made a huge impact in the local motorsports scene.”

Hanifah remembers Lee as a “gracious and unassuming person who was not prone to bragging”.

“He was always helpful and accommodating to his competitors, especially those younger than him.”

Hanifah added Lee most enjoyed the Rally of Malaysia held from 1980 to 1998.

“I last met him at the annual Sports Flame function organised by a handful of veteran sports journalists, including Datuk George Das, several years back.

“This is so sad and it’s too early for him to leave his family. Rest in peace, Kwai Leong.”

Another decorated ex-racer, William Mei, said Lee was “genuinely a nice guy.”

“And there aren’t many in the motorsports … actually hard to find another (like Lee),” William posted on Facebook.

“We didn’t speak for many years after the 1980 Penang GP but we became friends again and played golf together once in a while.”

William said Lee had a great sense of humour.

“Goodbye brother and rest in peace knowing that you and Serena raised wonderful kids.”

It was reported that Lee was driving his BMW when it skidded and crashed into a ravine at KM18.6 of the highway. He died at the scene.

Lee leaves behind wife Serena Wah, 65, son Brandon, 41, and daughter Jocelyn, 36.

The funeral will be held today at the Nirvana Crematorium in Shah Alam.