Mud pits, humongous rocks, steep inclines, and river crossings were just some of the obstacles that all 45 participants had to tackle to test out both their off-road vehicles, navigators, and driving skills to claim the top spot at the recently concluded 2012 Tough Truck Challenge that was held at the off-road section of the Clark International Speedway, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.
After two days of qualifying and championship races, Red Diwa of team Isabela Extreme managed to win the top spot for the NAsFOR National Off-Road Series culminating leg with a combined time of 20:18.47, followed by former Driver of the Year Roger Peyra of the Bicol Offroad Club with a time of 21:16.34, final podium spot went to Boyie Doblada of Binangonan Rizal Offroader who garnered a total time of 21:54.31. It was quite a close top three, as the rest of the pack was very much separated already as far as their elapsed times went. Noel Bartolome Jr. of the Land Cruiser Club of the Philippines came in 4th with 23:05.80, and Philippine RFC representative Larry Mendiola managed to finish 5th with 24:31.45 to round up the top five.
The rest of the top twenty finishers were: Jojo Javier (Kapampangan Racing Team) 6th; JR Angeles (Nueva Ecija Offroad Club) 7th; Maila Alivia (Isabela Extreme) 8th; Jad Garbes (Kapampangan Racing Team) 9th; Maynard Lapid (Kampampangan Racing Team) 10th; Jay David (Kampampangan Racing Team) 11th; Ernesto Ngo (Land Cruiser Club of the Philippines) 12th; Joel Oliveros (Nueva Ecija Offroad Club) 13th; Noel Bartolome Sr. (Land Cruiser Club of the Philippines) 14th; Ronald Reyes (Nueva Ecija Offroad Club) 15th; Bong Collado (Isabela Extreme) 16th; Randy Sobrepena (Kapampangan Racing Team) 17th; Art Sicat (Kapampangan Racing Team) 18th; John Sambo (Kapampangan Racing Team) 19th; and Rimpy Bondoc (Kapampangan Racing Team) 20th.
"At the start of the season I was not expecting to be a contender for the DOY because I was not able to finish the first three races of the season, but I gained my momentum when I won the 4th leg in Binangonan, Rizal and Cauayan, Isabela; 2nd place in Naga, Bicol and Dapitan, Zamboanga." said Diwa.
Diwa's top spot combined in the final leg of the season led him to his second Driver of the Year award. Diwa is no stranger to the sport as he was previously crowned as NASFOR's Driver of the Year last 2009.
Tonton Dunca of Kapampangan Racing Team who was one of the contenders for this year's Driver of the Year award and crowd favorite of Kapampangans failed to grab the much-coveted title as he wasn't able to complete both of the tracks during the qualifying race.
Diwa explains "My chance of winning the DOY was so small because I was behind by 19 points and need to win the top spot while Tonton Dunca of Kapampangan Racing Team only had to finish 5th overall to claim the DOY title"
The event was presented by 199 Off-Road House and sponsored by Colt 45, RaceTech Suspensions, Profender Thailand, Maxxis Tires, Casio Pro-Trek, Ride Off-Road, TJM, Clark International Speedway, SMART Communications, Grantrail Cycles, Bilstein Shocks, Motolite, Frabelle Yummy Hotdogs, Air Asia, Monster Radio RX 93.1, Autoindustriya.com, and TV-5.