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Race Report | Enduro Philipinas – Round 1, Palawan

Known for its awesome seascapes, snorkeling and diving, and of course – with one of the 7 wonders of the world: the underground river – Palawan is every nature lover’s dream. But for the enduro rider, this lovely island in Luzon is in the bucket list for its towering highlands and challenging terrain.

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Riders from Manila, Mindanao and Visayas flew to Palawan on March 1, 2015 to join the local bikers of Puerto Princesa for the Enduro Pilipinas’ first major leg. Holding their horses, the riders participated in a tree planting activity , a prelude to the highly anticipated enduro race in the Philippines. Environmental awareness is one of the objectives of Enduro Pilipinas. It was an opportunity to give back to mother nature… she has been so generous.

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Hiking up "the Tower"
Hiking up “the Tower”

The Curious and Femenino had a separate course but all riders shared a common climb at the Irawan Watershed- the greenest liaison in Philippine Enduro by far. Special Stage 4: The elite and idol riders marched up to the most unnerving part of the game, the Tower. You can smell the the mixed emotions in the air. A feeling of relief that the long push/hike is done. At the same time, as tough as these warriors are, they were feeling understandably antsy about what they are about to go through. Rolling down on a very steep rocky segment, cliff on left and cliff on the right, then the open view of the sea and the sight of ridge send thousand of neurons to that part of the brain that triggers humans to panic. It was a test of skill over chill. Everybody finished with dirty shirts.

Dropping into a steep section.
Dropping into a steep section.

A pro rider from Slovenia, Slapnik Iztok, joined the race and placed second in the Open category. It was a very close match against the champion but it was unfortunate that our guest rider had some hardware trouble in SS4. Slapnik’s presence inspires our locals to a higher level of riding, including the winner himself Nilo Estayo.

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The 2015 season opener establishes yet another standard in race courses, all-natural and challenging.

The city of Puerto Princesa hosted this special event and we can’t thank enough the local government for the support and hospitality. This project is a brainchild of Mark Ibon — after 2 years he finally made it happen. It was not a perfect Enduro race but Mark’s goal to bring the sport to his hometown was attained. 70 % are local riders and they are inclined to have minor races within the year. Soon enough the Palawan will breed more Enduro specialists and hopefully the next major leg in this awesome island will be much bigger and even more exciting.

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The next national legs will be held in Sta. Elena Camarines Norte on May 16 followed by the Zamboanga Enduro on June 13.

Words & Photos: Enduro Philipinas