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4×4 Challenge and Mountain Bike Race

April 1, 2011

Last weekend, the 1st Gov. Casimiro “JUN” Ynares III M.D. 4X4 Challenge and Mountain Bike Race took place in Rizal. The event was organized by the Binangonan Rizal OffRoaders (BRO), the Binangonan Outdoors and Mountain Bikers Association (BOMBA), and Pathland Devt Corp. Art and I motorcycled to Rizal to catch the off-road action.

While basketball, boxing and most recently football are very popular in the country, motorsports like 4×4 off-road racing still have a limited audience. However, the National Association of Filipino Off-Roaders (NAsFOR) says that off-road racing is fast becoming one of the most well attended motor sports in the country – both in terms of competitors and spectators.

Interestingly, there were 4×4 riders who came as far away as Tuguegarao, Bicol and Bukdinon just to join the event held at Cardona-Morong Diversion Road. A lot of the 4X4 vehicles were custom-built specifically for the harshest off road conditions. You are not likely to see any of them on the highway.

Parked across the street from the event proper, were rows of trucks which carried the 4×4 vehicles to their destination. I wonder how long it took some of the participants (particularly those who came from Visayas or Mindanao) to get to Rizal. I guess the only way for others to get there was by RORO.

There were two courses designed for the event. Track A began with a steep hole from which the 4×4 vehicles fell into and had to climb out of. Then, drivers had to navigate a narrow and winding trail with numerous obstacles that caused several vehicles to drive almost sideways.

For Track B, a massive pit featured a steep downhill climb into a rocky terrain. After powering through slope of loose rocks, drivers had to steer clear from a deep hole filled with water on the left, and make a sharp U-turn without hitting two flagposts. If the 4×4 vehicle hit the post, drivers had to wait until marshalls got it up again before they could proceed.

The challenge was for drivers to complete the technical circuit in the fastest time possible and for their vehicles to be able to withstand the tough obstacles. Ambulances and fire trucks were standing by in case of accidents. At least one vehicle overturned and had to be winched. But luckily the driver was not hurt, only his racer’s ego was bruised.

Despite the heat and the dust, there was a good energy and a crowd of locals and enthusiasts gathered to watch the time trial. I found the running commentary pretty funny and peppered with interesting trivia. The host’s comments ranged side comments ike “Ang ganda ng track no, pinahukay pa talaga namin yan” to quips like “wala bang mag-sposponsor ng gulaman man lang dyan” addressing the food kioks which were selling snacks.

On Sunday, Art headed out again early to watch the cross country mountain bike race, which he said was exciting. I didn’t join him anymore, and spent the whole day leveling up my FFXIII characters instead. (All character classes are now available! Woohoo!)  That’s what I call a balanced weekend. :p

(Note: Photos of bikers by Art Fuentes; the rest are mine)
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