To date, motorcycles are the top modes of transportation in the Philippines. Because there are lots of dealers offering installment plans, most Filipino can easily afford to get a motorcycle which is also how the scooter and motorcycle riding and racing culture started in the country.
In Europe, motorcycle racing is a well-known sport and it is slowly becoming that popular in the Philippines as well. However, racing in the Philippines is still way behind, which is understandable, considering that the sport is just starting to get famous.
The most common motorcycles on the road and even in the racing circuit are what Filipino racers call the ‘underbone’ motorcycles. These are the 100cc- 250cc that are manufactured by the Japanese. Because of the citizens’ knack for cheap stuff, China-made motorbikes which are imitations of the Japanese brands are becoming common too so it is not surprising that even these bikes are being modified in hopes of winning a race.
Scooters are also popular in the race track as well. Those small, automatic CVT transmission motorcycles are being raced as well. Typically women racers are the ones riding them, but beginners in the sport are also finding it as the safest ‘first’ race bike.
There are many race organizers known in the country but the largest is a motorcycle magazine, and the other organizes the races in the biggest race track in the country.
There are also the smaller organizers who are actually doing it to promote a certain manufacturer. While there are many who join and watch the races organized by the bigger guys, the smaller organizers are gaining popularity because of their cheap entry fee and their smaller track.
Novices to the sport are also being very much welcomed by the smaller leagues, thus many people who wants to start their career in racing are attracted to them.
For someone in another country, the races being organized by the small leagues here like the one-make races and sponsored races may seem dangerous. The tracks are small and the curves are sharp. There are only a few real racetracks in the country, such as the one in Subic and the one in Batangas.
The smaller organizers do their races in mall parking lots and parks. They just put in sandbags as makeshift divisions, kind of like using them to create the curves and the patterns of the track. Only one or two motorcycle can fit at once, so doing overtakes is difficult, which defeat the purpose of the race. For someone used to watching Moto GP, they might find the races here funny, as sometimes, they look more like a motorcycle parade than a race because the racers couldn’t hardly get pass each other!
The weather in the country is also an issue as the Philippines is typically either rainy, or hot. In the summer, racing and spectating under the sun can get one very exhausted and burnt. If it’s raining, then the problem is the slippery track. The rain doesn’t stop the motorcycle enthusiasts in the country to support their sport. Simply postponing the race to the next weekend is okay even on a short notice since most of these racing events are free or if there’s a fee, it’s minimal.
In conclusion, motorcycle racing in the Philippines is still in it’s infancy and it still has a lot of improvement to go through. But because of this country’s passion and love for these two-wheeled vehicles, it is not impossible that in a couple of years time, they will produce racers who can compete in the International leagues and the racing events happening in the country will become more professional and safer. Rome wasn’t built in a day.