January 28, 2006 marked another milestone for the Manila Speedzone as it held the second 24-Hour Endurance Race. After promising himself that he would never do again because of the extreme muscle pains incurred three days after, this writer was again bitten by the racing bug. The members of the motoring media were once again invited to be part of the Manila Speedzone 24hr Endurance Race. This time, the team was composed of Brent Co and Jude Morte of Autoindustriya.com, Kookie Ramirez, Chris Van Hoven and Iņigo Roces of C! Magazine, Eggay Quesada of Stoplight TV, Tessa Salazar and Aries Espinosa of the Inquirer, Chuck Kim of Top Gear Magazine and Lester Dizon of the Philippine Star. Providing moral support, inspiration and guidance for the team was racing legend Pocholo Ramirez.
A total of eight teams participated, Altronics-WL, Team Bridgestone, PLDT-Nokia-AF3, TRS Kids, Canon-Prestige Cars BMW, RPM-MPT, MP Turbo Celebrity Team, and Media Team. A very exciting turnout as it featured many professional drivers from Asian Formula 3, Karting and Touring Cars which is a rare experience for one to participate in.
After the driver's briefing was done, it was then time to draw karts as our team drew number 10 as the main kart, which was used all throughout the race running virtually trouble free. This time, the experience of running against pro drivers and trying to be competitive was the only encouragement with more than half of the team running in their first endurance race, albeit a 24-hour one.
This year's challenge was that the fastest laptime holder would be in the billboard of the Manila Speedzone with his/her photo and respective time posted there. Another added rule was that a driver must not drive for more than 4 hours in one stint.
This writer was elected to do the qualifying stint being the most seasoned Speedzone driver among the ones present during the session. Unfortunately after not being able to drive for a long time and confusion with the new track layout, our team figured in dead last on the grid.
As the qualifying session ended, the starting positions were decided. Altronics-WL took pole, followed by Defending Champion Team Bridgestone, TRS Kids Team, PLDT-Nokia-AF3, Canon-Prestige Cars BMW, RPM-MPT, MP Turbo Celebrity Team and last but not least, the Media Team. It was clear skies all throughout the race, this writer was elected by the team to start as the first driver. Starting format was done Le Mans style where drivers run to their karts from the opposite side. It was approximately 2pm, as team managers gave final instructions to their drivers right before the start.
From pole position, it was the Altronics-WL Team in the lead for the whole race with Tyson Sy on the helm of the trouble free kart number 5, as Team Bridgestone struggled in second place running with mechanical problems early on in the race. After a long deliberation with the organizers, Bridgestone was allowed a kart change due to broken axles in their kart which would take a long time to repair.
As the delay was going on, it only allowed the leading team to pull away as the AF3 team tried to close in on the Bridgestone. Meanwhile in the middle of the pack was a duel between the TRS Kids Team and Canon-BMW, as the sister teams RPM-MPT and MP Turbo Celebrity team gutted it out.
This dry condition race gave little drama to witness most of the teams ran consistently within their laptimes. But as the race further progressed and the laptimes came down, all eyes were focused on Tyson Sy as he dropped his laptimes to the low 56-second region. After a couple more laps, he finally dropped his time down to 55.503 seconds which was virtually unbeatable at the moment and cemented itself as the record as the checkered flag waved.
And so it was, as the checkered flag waved, it was the Altronics-WL Team led by Tyson Sy, Pepon Marave and Jonathan Dael completing 1,464 laps to win the second Manila Speedzone 24-Hour Endurance Race. Defending champion Team Bridgestone, featuring karting sensations Marlon Stockinger, Mark Bumgarner, Ivan Carapiet, Indy Villalon and Stefano Marcelo finished second with 1,449 laps.
The star-studded PLDT-Nokia-AF3, bannered by Angelo Barretto, Juha Roiha and AF3 guns Dado Peņa, Mark Goddard, John O'Hara and Edgen Dy-Liacco, accumulated 1,416 laps to clinch the final podium place. The Speedzone-Tuason Racing School Team, which fielded 11- to 17-year-old karters Juha Turalba, Javi Benitez, Roby Benito, Bobby Domingo, Gabby Borja, Tomas Cabili, Blakey Blumenthal and Louie Andolong, posted 1,409 laps to grab fourth place, just five laps ahead of Canon-Prestige BMW Cars led by Vic Icasas.
The Renan Morales-led RPM-MPT landed sixth with 1,385 laps, while Mike Potenciano, Ysa Potenciano, Monching Gutierrez and Ton-Ton Gutierrez led the MP Turbo-Celebrity team to a total of 1,385 laps.The media team wound up eighth with 1,342 laps.
The second Manila Speedzone 24-Hour Race was sponsored by Bridgestone, Denso, Castrol, Addict Mobile, PLDT myDSL, WL Foods, Asian Spirit, Canon, Pharmaton, Maalox, Nestlé, Red Bull, Edge Consulting and Airborne Access.