MANILA, Philippines -- Noel Bartolome Jr. drove away with the overall crown by pulling off one of the most convincing victories in his offroading career in the 2nd Gov. Jun Ebdane 4x4 Offroad Challenge in Barangay Sindol, Zambales on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Bartolome took on the sand-and-mud Tracks A and B with relative control and was similarly dominating in Track C that combined the technical and difficult phases of both tracks to nab the title.
“I am very proud of this victory, I wasn’t expecting much to dominate here,” said Bartolome, who also outshone his father, Noel Sr. in the process.
Both father and son are racing for the Land Rover Club of the Philippines.
“We had aimed both at entertaining the local and tourist spectators and provide a much-needed boost to our local tourism industry. And we achieved both. Congratulations to the organizers and everyone behind this project. And congratulations of course to all the racers—winners or losers,” Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said.
Bartolome first took on Track B in the eliminations and although it was the “easier” of the two tracks, he finished second to last among 10 drivers who went under the 25-minute qualifying time with 21 minutes and 38.16 seconds.
Track A squeezed everything from the participants, but not Bartolome as he conquered with an amazing best time of 6:49.85.
He totalled 28:28.01 for both tracks, second-best behind Pampanga Offroaders Club’s John Sambo (11:07.04, 5:08.29 and 16:16.13 total) and ahead of Angeles City 4Wheel Drive Club’s Arthur Sicat (14:12.62, 15:49.87and 30:02.49 total).
In Track C—which joined the two adjacent tracks for the final run—Bartolome beat qualifiers in the field that started with 30 drivers with the fastest time of 6:16.22.
Adding his times in Tracks A and B and his clocking in the finals, Bartolome booked a title-clinching 34:44.23. Sicat was second overall with 46:57.12 and Sambo third with 52:16.13.
Erstwhile leaders Roger Peyra of the Bicol Offroaders Club and Omer “Do-Or-Die” Dungca faded deep into the event.
Peyra failed to totally conquer Track B (24:57.91) and his rally in Track C (7:58.47) proved futile for a 54:00.29 aggregate and Dungca, a deaf-mute from the Angeles City 4Wheel Drive Club, dropped to 21:52.91 in Track A and was DNF (Did Not Finish) in Track C (69:28.82 total) to finish outside of the podium at fourth and fifth overeall, respectively.
Ebdane along with Second District Rep. Omar Ebdane and San Felipe Mayor Caroline Farinas stood on top of the event organized by the Zambales Sports and Youth Development Office headed by Eric Matibag, in cooperation with the National Association of Filipino Off-Roaders.