The only international formula to hit our shores this year, the F4SEA Philippine Leg, was a huge success! With the last minute entries of the Filipino-British brothers, Ben and Sam Grimes performing more than expected, the teenagers were propelled to instant racing stardom.
Ben took a superb 2nd overall in the Philippine F4SEA Championship, right behind series leader, China’s Daniel Cao. Sam took 2nd and 3rd podium finishes. Both had accidents that prevented them from getting better standings in the end. Try to search for my column last week for the in depth coverage of their exploits.
One of the good things that happened in that same F4SEA weekend was we were able to bring more than 100 motoring fans to watch the event. Through our Petron F4SEA TSD Fun Run, the stress and confusion felt by the participants were all replaced by joy and prides when they witnessed the Grimes’ brothers do well in the races. Here’s how the successful TSD Run panned out.
We had 26 cars mostly composed of the Chevy Club Philippines, which had 16 cars. They were headed by their President Ms. Goi Senon, our BCBP community members Ruel Ramos and Kim Navarro. In short notice, they were able to get their members together and join the TSD Run, with the promise of having a great time in the process.
Our regular entries were led by families Mon, Tess, Ryan and Raffy Dizon with 3 cars, Joel Lago and daughter Bea, and my old rally team mate Judge Banny Vargas, with wife Riza and daughters Angel, Ali and Aiya.
Come backing rally drivers Boy Eusebio and Raul Tuason were paired with karter Mark Laxa. The first leg Mabuhay Independence Rally 2nd placer, Bong Africa, was now paired with first timer, BMW Club past president Edwin Reyes. Our Nissan GTA winning team of Elysse Menorca, Quattro Adriano, Kim Jigger Chong and Gabriel Señeres were again there after a good first round result.
Before the start of the event, we were informed by Clark Freeport Tourism that APEC Security will be closing some parts of the base and we will not be able to run the event as planned. This set us in panic mode and necessitated a rerouting 3 days before the event.
Luckily, our 1st stage from Petron NLEX Km23 to Petron Clark Main Avenue was not affected and we just had to work out a new route outside the base for stage 2. Nevertheless, there were dramas that happened in the first stage.
Lost in translation
One of the main goals of the TSD Run is not to get lost and be on time, all the time, in checkpoints. However, our veteran teams of Mon Dizon and Elysse Menorca all found themselves going to Clark North when they were suppose to go to Clark South. It’s easy when I say it but if the directions didn’t mention what exit to take, then it’s very confusing.
Another problem was when APEC Security convoys were already practicing in the base and this created havoc in the Freeport’s intersections and highway exits. The Dizon and Menorca teams were also caught in this delay when they found their way back to Clark South. Another Chevy entry got lost and went to 2 other exits along NLEX. They finally went to the end of stage 1 at Petron Clark when they couldn’t find their way.
To liven up the trip to Clark, we included a trivia contest along NLEX. There were 4 questions at specific kilometer readings and this played a crucial role in the overall standings in the end. There were 50 demerits added to their total scores for every wrong or blank answer.
A lot of people didn’t get the name of the billboards along the viaduct which was supposed to be either Chevy Tornado or the Red Horse Billboards, since these were 100 meters from each other. All the Petron stations were identified along the way, including the only mountain in the Central Plains, Mt. Arayat.
At the end of stage 1, a lot of people were already getting stressed. Some newbies mistakenly took off ahead without waiting for the start of the stage! Luckily, the others didn’t follow and were given their start times before heading to the Deca Wakeboard site for the 1st checkpoint. After that, we had our surprise checkpoint in Petron Fields Avenue Station and caught out some more guys who had to turn back as they didn’t see our checkpoint.
What followed next was chaotic! The APEC Security closed the entrance to NLEX through Angeles and diverted traffic to Dau. This was not the official route and we had to cancel the route after that. It was force majeure as no one expected this to happen. There were 3 more checkpoints that would have made a big difference.
Even with all the problems, the whole TSD Fun Run group met at the Clark Speedway and enjoyed the final 2 races of the F4SEA. There were a lot of priceless stories shared and Petron opened their VIP Area for the participants to eat and freshen up. The winners would be awarded the next week at the Lufong Restaurant in Home Depot Ortigas.
During the awarding, the Grand Slam happened when new drivers Ruel Ramos, Kim Navarro and daughter Koji won the Overall Award, Novice Class, Family Division and the Team Award! This is very hard to do especially with a good field of veteran drivers in the event.
2nd placers were novices Chevy’s Miguel Laserna and Navi and 3rd were Marion Bacani, Goi Senon and Ima Rose Bagporo. All the top 3 winners came from Chevy Club and their respective Chevy teams also swept the team awards! Now that was historic!
Our next TSD run will be on November 26 when we honor Bonifacio Day. Hope all of you will join us and see why the families are having fun while joining a true, challenging form of motor sports! Congratulations again to all the winners and the participants of the Petron F4SEA TSD Fun Run!