Considered as the Philippine Off-Roading festival, the Tough Truck Challenge, organized by the Manila Off-Roaders Inc. (MORI) on its Third Year once again proved its point as the biggest off-road gathering of the year covering a total area of 6-hectares for the three-day event. Sixty-five off-roaders from all over the country gathered at the Bonifacio Global City to compete in the prestigious event.
As one of its side events, the Ramp Travel Index (RTI) competition was to determine who had the best engineered suspension setups. This competition gives credit to those with extreme suspension setups as it tests how high up the vehicle can go up the ramp with a special computation formula.
The main event was run specially designed technical close circuit courses which featured an assortment alternate canals, chocolate hills, mudpits, tabletops, log-crossing, drop dead slopes, v-canals, tirepits and splashpits. From the youngest to the oldest competitor, the event saw young competitors Ralph Alberto and Noel Bartolome Jr. try to best it out as the future off-road stars. The old man from Davao Johnny Ferrazzini who drove his Land Cruiser through Track B with the Selecta jingle playing.
Highlight obstacles in Track A was the chocolate hills, which claimed many victims who tipped their vehicles over and the Goodyear tirepit which managed to slow down some of the better competitors. The technical track was finished off by a big splash pit just before the finish line.
Frontrunner for Track A was Dante Dunca of the Angeles City 4Wheelers sending his truck flying at a time of 1:11.65. Other front runners were Avel delas Alas of the Suzuki 4x4 Cub of the Philippines, Larry Mendiola of Angeles City 4Wheelers, Bobit Española of the Gensan 4x4 Fun Club and Agustin Macmang of the CDO Off-Road Club Team Tide/Bistein.
Highlight obstacle in Track B was the Kia Sorento tabletop. The obstacle was followed by a slippery log bridge ending into a long rock crawl to the finish line. Frontrunners for Track B were Ka Larry Alberto of Team Helix Suzuki 4x4 Club of the Philippines, Noel Bartolome Sr. of Team DELO, Joel Miranda of Santiago Extreme, Richard Emano of CDO Off-Roaders, and Atoy Jamilla of Team X.
It was a hearbreaker for Ka Larry Alberto, who led into the final round in Track C with a 2:51.09 total time from Tracks A and B. Alberto drove himself over the limit and underestimated the track, resulting in his vehicle getting stuck in a canal. The delay caused him to clock in a time of 6:28.86, literally handing over the win to Tough Truck Challenge defending champion Noel Bartolome of Team Delo who ran a blistering 3:04.75 in Track C.
Other Track C top finishers were Rey Dysico of San Jose City - Nueva Ecija, Atoy Jamilla, Gerry Evangelista of the Science City Off-Roaders, and Albert Monte de Ramos of CDO Off-Road Club Team Tide/Bilstein.
The Final Top Ten Standings are as follows: Noel Bartolome - Team DELO, 1st; Larry Mendiola - Angeles City 4Wheelers, 2nd; Atoy Jamilla - Team X, 3rd; Rey Dysico - San Jose City - Nueva Ecija, 4th; Albert Monte de Ramos - CDO Off-Road Club Team Tide/Bilstein, 5th; Neil Andaya - San Jose City Off-Roaders, 6th; Arthur Azcuna - Land Cruiser/Suzuki Club, 7th; Jolet Jao - Land Cruiser/Suzuki Club, 8th; Gerry Evangelista - Science City Off-Roaders, 9th; Joseph Miranda - Santiago Extreme, 10th.
As a Tough Truck Challenge tradition, a federation shoot-out run was made after the official competition exclusively for NAsFOR members. This event was open to all federation members vying for a pot money prize donated by different members which amounted to whopping figure of 51,000 pesos. The lucky winner was Noel Bartolome Jr., making it a first time father and son victory at the event. Coming in second and third respectively was Richard Emano from Cagayan de Oro and Noel de Vera of Baguio Off-Roaders.
The event also featured an exhibit area with featuring manufacturers like Isuzu, Kia, Mitsubishi, and General Motors with their latest vehicles, and various off-road products from 199 Off-Road House, and Ride, plus displays from various sponsors like Caltex Delo, Bilstein, Malayan Insurance, Du Pont, and AutoIndustriya.com.
For those who are new into off-roading, a special test track was designed for production vehicles as well, to give people a feel of off-roading. Dubbed Stocks on the Rocks, it also gave prospective vehicle buyers got to test drive new vehicles like the Isuzu D-Max pickup and the Kia Sorento. SUV owners also got a chance to get the off-road feel by driving their own vehicles on the track.
The 2003 Tough Truck Challenge was presented by Caltex DELO, in cooperation with Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, Goodyear, Campershells, 199 Off-Road House, Ride, Pepsi X, Malayan Insurance, Isuzu, Kia, Mitsubishi Motors, GM Autoworld Makati, Exide, Du Pont, Bilstein, Mother's, Power Bikes, Warn, Waling Waling Beach Hotel Boracay, Explorer ProComp, Rancho, Safari Snorkels, Downey, Car Options, LS Joaquin Auto Interiors, 4xForce, 4x4 Magazine, Mabuchi Trading, Auto Express, Sam's Engineering, Subic Megatrading, Mark's Trucks, LCA General Merchandising, Pfizer, PLDT MyDSL, D'Saint Trucking Services, 105.1 Crossover, Monster Radio RX93.1, Auto Extreme, AutoIndustriya.com, Auto Review, Isla, and the Manila Bulletin.