After all the stress of running our first Race of Champions at the very popular History Convention at the World Trade Center recently, we are happy that we have found the right formula to get upcoming, talented racers do battle with established heroes of the motor sports.
Judging from the responses and positive feedback we got in social media, the participants had a blast going up against champions like Asian Gymkhana and Slalom king Milo Rivera, International Rally and instructor Ivan Isada, 3-time National Slalom champion Noel Rivera and yours truly. Let me show you what happened in our inaugural event.
Asian Gymkhana format
From the start, we were thinking of adopting the Asian Gymkhana format, which our two best drivers Milo and Multi-titled champion Carlos Anton won last year. By beating Japan’s and Asia’s top Gymkhana champions, we knew this would be the right formula to provide an equal footing for all participants.
The AG’s unique rules state that the drivers are not allowed to practice on the track and they could only walk the track to know where they are supposed to go. They would compete in 2 identical cars and run for 3 heats with a new track in every heat. The elapsed times are then accumulated and the one with the lowest overall time is the winner. The first day is for Individual Qualifying and awards are given to the winners.
For the next day, only the top 32 participants move on to the Knockout rounds for the Individual and Team championships. The best driver is paired with the slowest one and the winner moves up until the last 2 drivers are left for the finals. This is also done for the various nationalities for the Team race and all team members’ runs are added to get the total best time. Once the format was settled, the next problem was getting the hardware-the cars!
KIA, through its President Ginia Domingo, saved our event by providing the compact and sporty 1.4 liter Rio and the compact crossover, 1.6 liter, turbocharged diesel powered Soul. The cars were straight out of the dealership and amazed everyone with its handling and handsome looks. With Petron providing their premium fuels Blaze and Turbo Diesel, the cars were armed and ready.
The cars’ brakes never faded even though the drivers really used its maximum effect. Both engines also impressed all by maintaining its power from start to finish. With automatic transmissions on them, the drivers were still able to find good torque and no one complained of a slow pick up. The Soul’s CRDI turbo-diesel engine even had good times against the gasoline Rio in the same track!
The handling of the cars was much improved with the Michelin Pilot Sport tires and Rota wheels. Most of the people couldn’t believe the grip and all had pushed the cars to the limits with much room to spare before hitting the barriers. All in all, Kia’s performance was a true eye opener that we never experienced before!
Past, present and future
The invited ROC drivers were divided into 3 classes, according to when they achieved their championships, namely Past, Present and Future. There were 5 drivers from the Past category, 7 in the Present and 14 Future ones.
After running 2 heats in the Kia Rio in the Past category, we had rally driver Boy Eusebio taking 3rd, senior slalom champ Rivera in 2ndand yours truly taking first overall. I even posted the 2nd best time at 34.60s in the first round of qualifying, only bested by upcoming slalom driver Pekto Pakutkot at 34.36s.The top 3 Past champions would be moving up to the Knockout round.
The Present class champions were led by slalom king Milo Rivera in 1st place, followed by rally driver Ivan Isada 2nd, slalom driver Dion Ortiz 3rd, 2015 Nissan Asian GTA champion Joward Policarpio 4th and slalom champion Jevoy Moreno 5th. These 5 would move up also.
The Future Champs were divided into 2 sub classes as they had varying levels of driving abilities. The higher Future A division was won by slalom champion Pakutkot, slalom driver Mike Santos in 2nd, karter Raymond Cudala3rdand lone female driver Elysse Menorca 4th. The Future B class was led by Toyota Vios Cup Promotions Champ Kiko Dysico, slalom drivers Oliver Estrella 2nd, Guilfred Eugenio 3rd and Audi Pacis 4th.
With the Knockout pairing of top seed Milo Rivera and lowest qualifier Audi Pacis came, it was already nighttime and the track design was changed. No one had time to learn it and everyone thought it would be an easy victory for Milo.
They were proven wrong by the determined 18-year old from San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Milo hit 2 pylons to take 4 seconds penalty and Pacis had a clear run to win by only 0.34 of a second! This was the first shock of the night and it started a series of upsets.
I was eliminated by Policarpio when I also hit the same 2 pylons that Milo hit and Policarpio hitting only 1 of them. Top Front Wheel Drive slalom champion Jevoy Moreno hit 3 pylons and was taken out by Dysico. Isada easily moved up against Menorca with Pakutkot, Ortiz, Noel Rivera and Santos moving up.
In the quarterfinals, N. Rivera was eliminated when he cut across the track and Pacis taking another win. Hitting pylons were now the norm as a lot of the drivers had a hard time in the tight track and the only remaining veteran left was Isada. In the semi-finals, the final 2 pairs would be Pacisvs Ortiz and Isada vs. Dysico.
David vs Goliath
The North Luzon contingent was having a great time with Pacis, Dysico and Ortiz all helping each other in the semis. Ivan managed to post the best time of 39.13s with the Rio to beat Dysico. Pacis made a fantastic 39.92s against his mentor Ortiz which caught everyone by surprise again.
Thus, it was David vs Goliath, the Underdog Pacisvs the Veteran Isada for the finals. It would come down to the best of 3 runs with the Rio and Soul. Ivan was now feeling the pressure, as the young gun Pacis had nothing to lose. The unimaginable came true in the first run with the Rio as Isada hit 1 pylon and Pacis clearing it to win by 0.14s!
The 2nd run in the Soul saw a more serious Isada winning it when Pacis crunched 2 pylons against 1 for the veteran. Thus, the final run would determine the first ever winner of MP Turbo’s ROC and the air was really filled with tension!
The finalists were now back on the wheel of the Rio and Pacis went ahead. He had a clean and fast run that was going to be hard to beat. However, while he was celebrating on the way to the finish stop box, he hit the last pylon which meant a 10s penalty! Isada was handed the championship, as he only needed to finish lower than 50s. Ivan easily made it, even though he hit 2 pylons, with a time of 42.87s.Isada was awarded the Championship trophy and everyone cheered to celebrate the magnificent event.
We have hit the jackpot in finding the right format for upcoming drivers to be discovered and for the veterans to work harder to defend their titles. We hope to organize a series of MP Turbo’s Race of Champions and will announce it soon. Thank you again Kia, Petron, Michelin and Rota for all the help and hope to see you all in the next Race of Champions!