My dream of hosting a Motor sport event during our Philippine Independence Day had finally come true! With a lot of posts by the participating teams on how successful the fun run was in social media, this definitely made my day and is now one of my most memorable events!
With our much talked about Petron Mabuhay Independence Rally held right on June 12, 2017, we have set the stage for our Time Speed Distance Rally format to be introduced again to our motoring enthusiasts. The last time we held one was back in 2011 and was a hard one to organize. This time, our team was well prepared and the brave souls that joined it had the rides of their lives!
Let us trace how our Mabuhay Independence Rally came about before we give you the blow-by-blow action. We will also cross out some myths about TSD Rallies or what our locals call, the Sampaguita Rally.
The name Mabuhay Rally was used during the great rally days of the 80’s for the final, most brutal round of the season. This culminating event was usually a 4-day adventure into the hardest off road routes that are sometimes only fit for our carabaos or water buffalos.
Before the Mabuhay rallies, we had the ASEAN Rally, which the earliest rallies I can recall were during the 70’s. We had Colin Bond from Ford, Lief Asterhag from Toyota and Lars Carlsson from GM Opel. They were battling it out with our local greats like Pocholo Ramirez, Dante Silverio, Arthur Tuason, Robert Aventajado, Butch Campos, Kikong De La Rama and a lot more.
The Mabuhay Rally came about in the 80’s and was supported by Marlboro back then. Our international event drew a lot of world-class drivers and crew who were supported by car factories and foreign teams. We were all using rear wheel drive cars back then until Audi Quattros of Trevor Briggs and Tony Walker came in the late 80’s. Jojo Silverio took the National Rally Driver of the Year in his production Mazda 1600 4×4 BFMR and that made even our mighty Group B Nissan 240RS obsolete.
David vs Goliath
Peron took over the reins of the Mabuhay Rally in the 90’s when Marlboro pulled out when cigarette promotions were implemented. This was a great transition as our national fuel and lube company took the cudgels to promote local motor sports.
One of the Mabuhay rallies that I remember was when we were battling the Hong Kong based Mitsubishi Ralliart Team of Vip Isada and Mandy Eduque in 1993. With our local Mazda Team cars, it was like David vs Goliath; the Mitsubishi Team swept all the rallies that year!
My co-driver then was Mon Dizon at the start. After a big accident that totaled our Mazda 1800 4WD rally car and kept me in the hospital for 3 days for a concussion, Mon wisely kept away from the navi seat. My teammate then was Clifford Certeza who had all kinds of mechanical gremlins with our older 1986 car.
What we couldn’t do in rallies, we got our revenge in rallycrosses. Our Mazdas were at home in the tight and twisty courses and we only had to post one best time to win it. We didn’t need the car’s robust features to win and only had to go flat out till the checkered flag dropped. We won the 1991 to 1994 National Rallycross Seasons consecutively and were just reward for our hard efforts in rallies.
Since we couldn’t beat the mighty Galants, we got Mitsubishi Lancers Evo 2 and teamed up with Caltex. However, the Ralliart Team also had them and it was a straight battle that we had some success until we all shifted to Circuit Racing in the end of 1995. We only had a token entry in the 1995 Mabuhay International Rally with the Evo and luckily, finished the event with special Top Filipino award. Those were truly the golden age of rallying in the country and even the world!
Petron Mabuhay TSD Run
With the advent of the Petron Mabuhay run this year, we have shown that one doesn’t need a fast car to compete in this type of event. It is better to have a very comfortable car that can sit 2-5 people and preferably air-conditioned and has an automatic transmission. Thus, any daily driven car can join.
We offer training and practice routes to the clubs that we approach like the Nissan Team Juke and Team Navara clubs that we had just finished a TSD Run last July 23, 2017. We will also have our Mini Car Club of the Philippines TSD Run this August 20 and our open to the public August 27 Mabuhay Heroes Day TSD Run.
For now, we have reserved the Petron Mabuhay TSD Run name for our on time, all the time events and have made it into a series for this year. We will bring all the great stories of the Petron Mabuhay Independence Rally next week and stay tuned!