Reviving rally

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MIKE POTENCIANO

MIKE POTENCIANO

We are so happy that a lot of people are requesting to be included in our Philippine Motor Sports History Facebook page after less than a month since we started it. A lot of race veterans are participating and posting old pictures that are priceless. The genre that is very active is Rallying and it really gets a lot of likes and comments from the followers.

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With this positive trend, it looks like it is the proper time to revive rallying. The huge increase in vehicle sales will make this reality sooner than you think! Check out how we will revive the sport and we hope you will be part of it.

Media exposure
Before we organize any motor sport event, we believe that the life of any sport is in its media coverage. We have to bring this sport into the enthusiasts’ living rooms or at their palms. We will need much support from the media and luckily, we are part of the ever-growing list of motoring media practitioners.

With our The Manila Times Turbo Time column, our Retro FM Turbo Time Radio Show, Speed By MP Turbo YouTube channel and soon to be aired Speed By MP Turbo TV show, we will be hitting all forms of media to promote rallying. We also have plans of our own Speed Max online magazine and special sections in newspapers and magazines to make it happen

There are also a lot of race bloggers and sites now running and we hope that we can get them to feature races in their pages. Our passion for cars and anything with speed will be addressed with these guys also participating in their own class.

Dirt trials/rallycross
The next thing to do is to organize events to get the drivers and teams ready for the big rallies. These are the closed course and very exciting dirt trials or rallycrosses. Technically, rallycross are head to head competition on dirt roads and dirt trials are drivers running solo and trying to beat the time set by the other driver.

Dirt trials will be the best to start as the car will not be damaged in a single lap and the driver will have valuable seat time to develop his or her rally skills. The mechanics will also be able to learn the basics of tuning the cars suspension, engine, etc. and adopt it to an ever-changing dirt course.

We had a lot of rallycrosses before but these were not the real head to head races we see in Europe and the World championships. We tried to run it in our PMRA events in 1994 where SM MOA now resides and proved to be a very exciting form for all participants and spectators alike. Drivers from around the globe still consider it to be the ultimate in driving, bar none.

TSD/on-time, all-the-time rallies
In my past column, I had explained that the time speed distance rallies or on-time rallies were the precursor of rallying long time ago. They were called the Sampaguita Rallies when they were brought into the Philippines.

If the dirt trials are the best way for a driver to start, these TSD rallies are the best way to train the new navigator or co-driver. This will also be a great way for the driver pairing if they are really compatible or not. It is much easier and less costly to know now than in a real speed rally; it is not common for the pair to end their friendships after a race.

Road rallies will be good as ordinary road cars can be used. These will not upset the public as these are not speed events like the Cannonball and Gumball events being run on open public roads. Usually, 2-3 people will form the team and no service team will be required.

We have to organize these runs and inject some fast stages in closed public roads to break in the exciting world of rallying. We have done this before and even included some eco runs with speed-timed runs in the Batangas Racing Circuit. It was a good combination to find out the best team out there.

Rally raids
To get the number of participants up right away, we intend to combine cars with motorbikes, ATVs, pick ups and other prototypes. This will be like a rally raid where all forms of vehicles are allowed on the rally stages. Even the service trucks are included in the long distance Dakar Rallies.

We will start with short, 1-day events and get everyone familiar with the rally format, This will be quite a challenge because like what we listed down last week, it will not be easy to set up a rally car, much more get the driver and co-driver working well together.

It is not only getting the event running, but making it safe and well followed will be the challenge. This will need a lot of logistical support from the safety crew, huge local government coordination and addressing the concerns of the much needed sponsors. We also should not forget the participants and crew that will have to face a lot of problems in the event.

Hopefully, all of these can be done within the year and will push for an international event when we are all happy with the progress. We can also see a lot of spin-offs like cars can have their own event like the WRC and the bikes with an Enduro rally. Most important of all, we start it right and we get a lot of participants.

So, are you all excited? If yes, then lets’ do it and see the rebirth of a great sport. Soon you will have a lot of stories to tell your grandchildren and they will all be glued to the table waiting for the next exciting chapter.

Stay tuned when our events start and we will update you on what’s happening soon. Godspeed guys!

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