AAP Motor Sport Surpasses 2015’s Numbers, Honors Best Race Drivers of 2016
The Motor Sport Development Program (MSDP) Finalist of 2016 were presented during the 22nd Motor Sport Awards Night. Left to right: AAP Motor Sport Committee chair Mandy Eduque, Philippine Touring Car Champion Race Driver Ramil De Vera, MSDP 2016 finalists Miguel Reyes, Armans Marcaida, Bien Madriaga, Andre Delos Santos, Carlos Marzo and Hazel Ramirez with MSDP lead instructor Vip Isada, AAP President Gus Lagman and model Karla Alas.
If you have been following what’s been happening on the motor sport scene, you’d agree with AAP Motor Sport Committee Chair Mandy Eduque that “2016 was a banner year for motor sport.”
Last March 30, the 22nd Annual Motor Sport Awards Night gathered local motor sport enthusiasts at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City to honor the best race drivers of 2016. Not only that, the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) also reported the numbers behind the sport’s successful year.
Eduque started with the 70 AAP-sanctioned events in 2016, almost double the 46 events that the National Auto Club sanctioned in 2015: “Considering that there are only 52 weekends in a year, 70 as you can see, it’s a full calendar. And I think that it’s the most number of sanctioned events we have had in our history.”
Also last year, AAP issued over 1,115 competition licenses which is almost a 50% increase from the 777 competition licenses issued in 2015. “At that time, I remember I said that, it was a historical high and it would be very difficult to go beyond that,” Eduque said. “I was wrong.”
Moreover, around 74 licenses were issued to new trackside officials last year. Eduque enthusiastically expressed his optimism that “Motor sport is not only healthy but growing. You can look forward to seeing more growth this year and in the years to come.”
2016 Motor Sport Milestones
In his report, Eduque recognized several milestones in 2016. These included AAP’s Motor Sport Development Program (MSDP) which started in 2015. Three years running and the program has already attracted over 500 young participants. With 10-time National Rally Champion Vip Isada as lead instructor, the program has been conducted in Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro. The AAP Motor Sport Chair hopes to expand the program this year to more provinces such as Nueva Ecija and Baguio.
Eduque narrated how the first MSDP batch finished in 8th place when they competed in last year’s Philippine Endurance Challenge, besting other, more seasoned race drivers. “That for me, for a bunch of novices, is the supreme proof that we are teaching our young drivers the proper way,” he remarked.
In addition, Eduque expressed his gratitude to the program’s partners such as the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Mazda Philippines and Seaoil Philippines.
Another significant milestone was the Flat Out Race Series (FORS) joining AAP’s family of motor sport event organizers. Eduque noted how FORS races are well organized and well attended by motor sport enthusiasts of all ages.
He also lauded the two-man Philippine team of Milo Rivera and Carlos Anton that AAP formed to compete in the 2016 FIA Taiwan Auto Gymkhana Grand Prix. The two not only bagged the team award but also took first and second awards in the individual categories.
The revival of rallycross was among the highlights that Eduque noted from last year. He claimed that it is welcome news for those who would like to race on dirt roads, especially now that a group of organizers intend to start rallying on a small scale this year.
Safety in Motor Sport Emphasized
Though 2016 was an outstanding for motor sport, there have also been road safety issues that AAP has had to continuously address. Races that were not sanctioned by AAP were held on public roads, violating safety regulations and endangering pedestrians and other road users alike.
“The AAP is completely against events such as these,” Eduque said. “I think we are going to continue to be very vocal about these events and try to prevent them from happening.”
The National Auto Club has taken the necessary steps to ensure safety in local motor sport. AAP inspects venues where races are held. If deemed necessary, AAP brings in inspectors from the FIA to ensure and certify the tracks are good for international races. The Clark, Batangas and Carmona race tracks are examples of FIA-certified tracks.
In addition, AAP undertook a five-year program to train local race officials. AAP was given a silver certification two years ago because the skills of our marshals are world-class.
To further stress how serious AAP is about safety, Eduque reminded the public that AAP revokes the competition licenses of those found to have participated in illegal or unauthorized races.
In closing, Eduque encouraged the awardees, competitors and everyone to “share the responsibility in making sure that safety on the road is as strict as safety on the track.”