Vios Cup draws 56 racers at Clark

In Photo: Satoru Suzuki

THE roaring romance between man and machine will be relived anew when the Vios Cup’s Season 4 Race 2 zooms off on June 10 at the SMC-Clark International Speedway in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Again highlighted to the core would be the sight of another exodus of car buffs, as well as racing enthusiasts to watch the event in the company of Dads and Moms with their kids in town for another memorable weekend of family fun at the famed Clark race tracks.   For that is what the Vios Cup is really all about, a combination, basically, of savoring an innovative variety of motor sports interspersed beautifully with family bonding time.

There is nothing like seeing a family traveling together and then losing themselves in sheer ecstasy while watching an event filled with thrill and excitement only the Vios Cup is capable of dishing off since its birth in 2014.

Listen to Satoru Suzuki, the unassuming, but dapper, president of Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP), the race organizer, “Coming from a successful Race 1 this season, the Vios Cup continues to prove that this racing program is bigger and bolder since it was first launched in 2014. This coming long weekend, we look forward to Race 2, wherein we expect more action to pan out both on and off the track.”

Yes, it was in 2014 when Michinobu “The Rocker” Sugata, Suzuki’s predecessor, unfurled the Vios Cup in tandem with Jose Ariel “J.A.” Arias. Arias had then barely hopped into the TMP family from a top-ranking, high-paying stint at Samsung when he was tapped by Sugata-san to help formulate the mechanics of the Vios Cup.

The last time out, J.A., over intermittent shots of single malt, confided: “I spent nights wracking my brain to ensure a successful Vios Cup from the very first day it got flagged off.”

Little then did Sugata-san and J.A. know that their babe would grow big in so short a time, with the roster of participants ballooning so quickly in only its fourth year of existence. There are now a total of 52 participants in tomorrow’s event, composed of 46 veterans and six celebrities.

As usual, Race grids will consist of three main categories, namely, Super Sporting Class, Sporting Class and Promotional Class. Each segment will produce its own champion at the end of the race.

Of course, many of the country’s racing veterans are in attendance again, many of whom are representing Toyota’s dealerships distributed nationwide, from Manila to Mandaue, from Dagupan to Davao, from Baguio to Bacolod and from Alabang to Asturias-Cebu.

Raring to burn rubber are the emerging driver-stars from the silver screen and similar platforms, including screen heartthrob Jake Cuenca (considered a seasoned racer already), sportscaster Gretchen Ho, fitness expert Aubrey Miles, actresses Jasmine Curtis-Smith and Ella Cruz, and actor-TV host Dominic Roque. Derek Ramsey was a former feared participant.

Not to be missed is the crucial role that my friend James Deakin of CNN Philippines plays when the Vios Cup comes around—and that is, to be the race’s lap-by-lap sportscaster in tandem with Gaby de la Merced.

The usual fare of food trucks and kiddie activities catering to entire families are to be expected again.

I won’t get tired covering the Vios Cup Race, which features souped up, colorfully painted Vios cars to the tune of at least P1 million each, for one compelling reason. And that is, that I always get to renew ties, not only with Suzuki-san, but with the other “TMP Boys”, as well, like Kei Mizuguchi, J.A., Jing Atienza, Sherwin Chua Lim, Carlo Ablaza and, of course, Jade B. Sison (long-considered “one of the boys”). It’d be a bonus, of course, if Danny “Sir John” Isla, the founding president of Lexus Manila and his successor, Raymond T. Rodriguez, would again be around as their presence also always gives my fellow motoring journalists, like Ray Butch “Elvis” Gamboa, Vernon B. Sarne, Brent Co, Ron de los Reyes, Eggay Quesada, Ira Panganiban and JP Bleza, among others, the undying spirited stand to stay glued to the Vios Cup up to the last bark of the engine a.k.a. last drop of Macallan.

Since I had followed the Vios Cup with beaver-zeal protocol since its inception four seasons back, I confess that I had divulged, while Race 1 was roaring hot, also at Clark some weeks ago, some unsolicited tips to J.A. Arias on how things could be further improved in the race backstopped mainly by Total, Bridgestone and Rota, and supported by Motul, Brembo, Denso, AVT, OMP and Tuason

After the tip-giving, J.A. said: “How much do I owe you?”

“You can’t afford me,” I replied.   “That’s why it’s pro bono.”

PEE STOP While Vios Cup racers start arriving at Clark as early as Thursday to prepare well for the event, the Vios Cup Season 4 Race 2 blasts off tomorrow, Saturday, with the gates opening at 9 a.m. Program starts at 10 a.m. with brief remarks by TMP President Satoru Suzuki. The first of several races will be flagged off at 11 a.m., the event lasting up to 5 p.m. Awarding starts at 6 p.m. tomorrow. See you.


Image Credits: Powerwheels

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