Petron Mabuhay Independence Rally – We are back!

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MIKE POTENCIANO

(Conclusion)
Our dream come true to revive rallying in the country happened right on our Independence Day. If you were able to follow our first two parts of the Petron Mabuhay Independence Rally, you would have some knowledge of what it takes to win our TSD Runs.

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After having two pre-event briefings in our Official Vehicle’s Mini showroom, a practice run around Bonifacio Global City on Sunday and providing as many tips including time/speed tables to more than 35 brave participants that answered our invitation, we were hoping they will be ready to finish in flying colors on Monday, June 12.

However, as the saying goes, “What can go wrong will go wrong!” I know there are a lot of interesting experiences from the guys and we heard some of the crazy things that happened. Here are just some of those priceless moments that happened during the rally.

Technical route
We chose to start in L’entrecote Restaurant in Forbes Town in BGC and go around BGC which is very technical. Makati was a natural passing point as a lot of our national heroes’ statues are around the Ayala Triangle like Lapu-lapu, Gabriela Silang, Andres Bonifacio and Ninoy Aquino.

The new Skyway connecting Makati CBD to the Pasay Entertainment City was also a good way to showcase the latest infrastructure project to the entries. This was a compact but challenging route for all to enjoy.

Start frenzy
Ideally, the event should start on time, all the time. In reality, this was hard to do with all our marshals new to this sport plus the entrees were mostly beginners. Then add some road closures in the Bonifacio area for this holiday; we were happy that we even started only 30 minutes late. Herding the cars to the starting point and flagging them off in one-minute intervals finally ended the frenzied start.

Right at the start, we announced a closed type of Time Control in McKinley Hills that the cars should pass through and get timed by our Marshals. The father & son team Of Joey and Julio Jimenez took the best time with only 33 seconds off from the perfect time. They were followed by the banker family of Ray Reyes and his 3 kids-Paula, Denise and Justin-with 46 demerits off. Journalist Raymond Tribdino and wife Ludy was another second off for 3rd place.

Major blunders
While we were going around as sweep car, we saw the banker Reyes family make their first mistake and they were hopelessly lost in the Mckinley Hills area. The next big problem for the majority of the teams was the American Cemetery rotunda where the exit the 2nd exit was supposed to be taken. However, most didn’t count the Cemetery as an exit and went back to McKinley!

BGC was also proving to be a big route challenge with all the short distances leading to intersections and rotundas. Coming out of BGC, it was the MINI team of veterans Joel Lago, Asian Gymkhana Champion Milo Rivera, Janferds Balois and son Jerald that didn’t’ get lost and leading the field.

Makati CBD
Makati was next on the route and the very enthusiastic family of my old navigator Mon Dizon, wife Tess and son Raffy were only 8 seconds off the perfect time. They were followed by their other son Ryan Dizon and partner Rica Agoncillo with only 10 demerits. The Dizons were getting good at this and were now leading the rally.

The DIY TC at Skyway Makati to Resorts World saw the 3rd Dizon family member Irene and friend Jeff Tuason winning it with only 15 demertis. However, they were far from the standings due to their nightmares in BGC.

Petron resthalt
On the way to the regrouping area in Petron Macapagal Blvd, we had 2 more checkpoints and Lindy Pellicer and I manned the car wash TC near the Senate. We had our LSGH batchmate Bong Africa and photographer Mico Almazan taking it with only 10 seconds off. They were closely followed by Mini’s Lago having only 3 seconds off.

Here we saw the Dizon family patriarch Mon just cruising past our checkpoint event though we were shouting at them to stop. That incurred 600 demerits since they had no end time and no start time for next TC!

Irene Dizon and Jeff managed to top the next closed TC at Star City with 19 demerits and were slowly climbing up. The regrouping area was canceled, as the marshals didn’t make it because of lost participants in BGC. The whole sentiment though was very happy they finished the first stage and will start the 2nd one in high spirits.

Second stage
The Go Flat Out team of James Tagle and Larry Padernal took the stage in SM MOA’s Microtel with a fantastic 3 demerits. James had to draft Larry at the last minute and now they were working well together. The next Skyway TC was taken by Ryan Dizon and Rica in their Subaru with 9 seconds. While the Petron Dasmarinas stage was taken by the father and son Jimenez.

What the others didn’t see was that the other Mini Team of Stuart Samson, Alexis Angeles and Charles Mondragon were just motoring along and not getting lost. They managed to stay on course even without winning a TC yet. They were low on the radar of the other teams but always avoided taking maximum demerits for missing checkpoints.

Final attack
Samson and team finally got the Kalayaan Parking TC along C5 and was the signal that they were making it up the leader board. The Reyes family again did well at the Ford Global TC and Mini’s Lagowon the final TC back at L’entrecote.

When the results were tallied, Mini’s Samson and company won the overall, Novice and Team award with Lago et al. It was a fantastic finish for their efforts and just followed the right way and calculated for the perfect times. The Reyes family took the Pro Class and 2nd overall and was one of the happiest groups in the field.

Up to now, the whole field can’t stop talking about the rally and they would like to join our next event again, which is schedule to be the Mabuhay Heroes Day TSD Run. It was a great event and we hope to do more of this in the coming months. Mabuhay to all winners and future participants!

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