Although I also love to watch 4×4 off-road races but I still love motocross because it is more thrilling, I love to watch and shoot these high-flying machines.
In high school, I learned few BMX tricks with friends in Pigcawayan,(North Cotabato) We also made a backyard race track and tried to fly our BMX.
On Sunday, it’s still amazes me to see this legendary rider – Glenn Aguilar – who dominated the expert and pro-open categories during the motocross race at the Moto-X Davao track in Crocodile Park, Maa, Davao City. The event , which was organized by Moto-X Davao, is part of the month-long celebration of the 75th Araw ng Dabaw.
If I remember it right, I think the last time I’ve seen Aguilar on track was in Midsayap, North Cotabato. This town also hosts motocross race every year during its patronal fiesta, the Halad Festival, which is every third Sunday of January. It’s the feast of Sr. Sto. Niño.
During my elementary years in Koronadal, I have already seen this guy chasing Jovie Saulog, Ernie Leongson and Jolet Jao, who were then the top gun riders in the country.
Both Jao and Saulog ruled the Camel Motocross seasons for years but Aguilar later on dominated the motocross tracks in every race in different parts of the country.
I remember also that those were the days – 250cc machines era– when these riders were still backed by Petron-Kawasaki, Caltex-Honda and Shell-Yamaha teams. Aguilar then rides for Shell-Yamaha. Now he rides for KTM.
On Sunday, Aguilar dominated the expert and pro-open categories against Kimboy Pineda, Ambo Yaparcon, Donark Yuzon and Shawn Lim.
Here in Davao, the race is free of admission while in other places, especially in the provinces, race organizers are asking at least P100 per day. But the problem of having this for free, organizers could hardly control the crowd because many of them would love get inside the track — even the old ones, the women and children.
They are really close to the speeding bikes. Sometimes the bikes would land just few inches from where they are standing. In my years of watching this sport, I have never tried that close. Besides, I could not take good pictures if I’m really close to the subjects. I’m not shooting portraits or macro here
I’m inside the track because I have a job to do. But I avoid some dangerous spots of the track, I anticipate the path when crash happens. Especially if amateur riders are on the track, I really avoid dangerous spots like the whoops as well as some spots where they often attempt a double jump.
Even with the presence of the police and TF Davao, the crowd would still push themselves inside the track. But head organizer Bok Mata pleaded to the crowd to keep off the track in 10 minutes or else he would be forced to stop the race and proceed to awarding ceremonies.
Race marshalls sprayed water from a stand by firetruck to drive away the people from the track but it seems ineffective. Mata repeated the warning that they will be forced to stop the race if the crowd wont cooperate.
The warning paid off, with the help of the men in uniform, the spectators eventually left the race track. But then after one of the heats, they slowly returned inside the track.
Most of the spectators came to enjoy the race but many of them really don’t understand the dangers of this sport. I’m hoping that the race organizers would find means next race to keep the spectators off the track.
Maybe put some barriers; even used tires. Pile them up around the track to prevent the people from coming in. It may be costly but it’s better to be sorry. This also makes the race more organized. For instance when an accident happens among riders, paramedics could easily navigate themselves into the track.
Riders, too, don’t want to inflict injuries among the crowd should accident happens inside the track. These riders have nothing to lose; they are paid to cheat death.
As Travis Pastrana says: “ I calculate risk for living.”
P.S. : Kudos to Bok Mata for organizing the race for free, for Davaoeños as well as for our guests to enjoy the weekend. For keep yourselves updated on motocross race in Mindanao, visit Moto-X Davao website. Perhaps, the motocross on Sunday was the only event we have covered in this year’s Araw ng Dabaw celebration.)
Here are some of the photos taken during the race: