It’s great to watch the races on TV or online, but what the fans miss are the juicy inside stories before, during and after the event. Let me show you some of the more memorable ones that I have experienced as a motoring journalist.
Toyota cup vios race
The best inside stories I got when I talked to the Toyota Vios Cup competitors in the pits were the accidents and how it happened in their own points of view. The drivers were still all hyped up after those incidents and would share how it to anyone that would like to listen. Often, it was the other racer involved that is wrong and it was never their fault.
One case in point was the start line accident of the Sporting Class Race 1 in the just concluded Toyota Vios Cup leg 2 in Filinvest, Alabang last May. There was a big impact right at the start involving at least 3 cars. The car in front wasn’t able to take off when the lights turned green and the big bang happened right in front of the start line. Obviously, it would be easy to conclude that the guys at the back were at fault but in racing, nothing is easy!
The guys at the back said that the car stalled in front and then came to almost a complete stop. With the track not big enough with 2 cars side by side, then the inevitable collision happened. This wiped out 2 cars right there and elicited a big roar and laugh from the crowd. This does not only happen here but in bigger events like F1 and Le Mans, and sometimes, they were fatal. Luckily, the cars were the only ones damaged and some sore necks and feelings also.
Another inside story from the race is just how fast the lead Vios car of Andres Calma was. I heard from the Chief Scrutineer Takeda-san that it would be a long night because 4 teams had protested Calma’s car. The awards were given out provisionally after the race but were not official till the protests were acted upon. In the end, the protests didn’t proceed and we never heard anything about it again.
As for me, I saw how Calma drove and he was a class above all the others. He was very near the barriers in most of the exits of the turns and I can see he was really in the zone.
His car was set up properly and the driver had so much confidence pushing the car to its limits that the others were being left behind in every turn. I wouldn’t want to comment on the technical specs if the car’s ok until it is scrutinized properly.
However, I know there are some people that like to put a driver down and easily pass judgment that he is cheating. In my thoughts, we have been accused of that a lot in the past but we never made it bother us. We really did our homework and had benefited from it.
The final score is when you get to the higher forms of racing like in Asian Formula 2000. We won 2x in Thailand and almost took the championship by 1 point after a controversial final race. In a one-make AF2000 series where all cars and tires are the same plus we were part of a 4-driver team using the same mechanics and team manager, then we must have done something special to excel. I hope Andres will not let these things bother him and continue to drive well to move forward and silence the critics.
National slalom championships
The Rivera brothers, Milo and Estefano, had been very dominant in the last season with Milo winning the series 2x in row. Younger sibling Estefano had already bested Doc Peewee Mendiola in some races using their old school 80’s Toyota Starlets. Even Ernesto Moreno, aka Jevoy, won the last race with his 80’s Honda Civic EG FWD.
The changing of the guards is happening and the young ones are going all out in taking over the series. What the others may not know was that the car of Doc is giving him so much problems that he had to borrow his team mate’s car to race. He lost the championship last year because of car problems in Pampanga and looked like it is still happening up to now.
The Riveras were also having problems with their old Starlets and they had to share in one for the past races. The worst parts were Milo had to leave to do a formula test in Italy and Estefano had the Toyota Vios Cup that left no Rivera brother to compete in the last race. It would have been great for Doc Mendiola to catch up in points but Jevoy prevented that to happen with the car gremlins of Doc still present.
So as you can see, there are a lot of inside stories that we can fill up a book with. Next week, let me share to you my own not so good inside stories and also the memorable ones. Till then, Godspeed to all!