Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted March 28, 2003 11:36
Expect the unexpected
Expect the unexpected. It was perhaps one of the most intricate off road events in the country ever. The Pampanga Off-Road Challenge was ran on a tough it out river, mud, lahar, and water hyacinth field crossing event. The course was literally out of this world as the twenty teams composed of three vehicles each tried to brave the mighty course.
The rules were simple, each team composed of three trucks, each with one driver and one navigator. Each team has to go through the tough course all by themselves and finish all at the same time in 3-hours. If any of them gets stuck in an obstacle, they have to use self recovery techniques. Rescue vehicles will only get them out if they have passed the 3-hours or declare a DNF which automatically drops them out of the race.
Simple as it sounded, the course was far from simple. Words alone cannot describe the course created by the wrath of nature. Man and machine against nature. It was most fortunate the weather was quite cooperative that it was all sun for the whole event.
"It is certainly a different kind of course, something that we really didn't expect. This is certainly a great addition to the challenging off road events that we have," said NasFOR chariman Mon To-Ong.
With 60 participants from various clubs all over Luzon, the 1st Pampanga Off-Road Challenge organized by the Pampanga Off-Roaders Inc. (PORCI) was a success. Some of these clubs were, MORI, Suzuki Club, Land Rover Club Philippines, Land Cruiser Club Philippines, Team X Manila, San Jose Del Monte 4 Wheelers, Taytay 4x4 Adventure Club, and several more. The event literally caused a traffic jam on the San Fernando-Lubao-Olongapo Highway with passersby stopping to watch the festive event.
A huge mass of the competitors were swallowed up by this serene looking hyacinth field with pink colored flowers (a perfect analogy of the phrase 'looks can be deceiving'). Even the most experienced competitors had themselves entangled in this obstacle. The course also proved that might is not always the key as the V8 powered Land Cruisers were not able to finish the race.
The San Jose Del Monte 4 Wheelers Club took home the gold finishing ahead of the pack with three FJ40 trucks powered by 2F and 2B engines. The Suzuki Club took home silver fielding three Samurai trucks. In 3rd place finishing off the top three was the Taytay 4x4 Adventure Club who fielded a Suzuki Beaver and two Jeeps.