Dumaguetenos invade Cebu All-Rockies Downhill Challenge
Cebu City - Experience and pro-level skills proved just enough to fuel Dumaguete Downhill Riders on dominating podium finishes of this year’s first Cebu downhill competition – Rock Bottom: the Cambinocot All-Rockies Downhill Challenge – held in the mountain barangay of Cambinocot, Cebu City.
Despite missing the seeding run and with less track familiarity, Wendell Barba of Dumaguete City narrowly took the Open Local category from Indonesia-based cousin, Joey Barba of team Wim Cycles Top Gun. Wendell Barba escaped with a one-second lead over Joey Barba clocking in 3 minutes and 55 seconds. Third to take the podium was Cebuano Maximo Villarta of OZ Racing with 3 minutes and 59 seconds.
With only one practice run and no seeding run, Wendell Barba showed how he earned the moniker “The General” after shredding the 2.02 km Cambinocot downhill course of steep rockies, narrowing rain ruts, drop-offs, jump gaps, and uphill sections with the best time.
Joey Barba, the elite Dumagueteno rider who is now based in Indonesia, on the other hand was playing smart with his tires to avoid a pinched flat run. The Wim Cycle Top Gun rider slowed a bit at the rockies section by foregoing his usual manual-to-bunny hop line and opted to shred the rockies to save his tires. This was a decision he was forced to make on his final run after having pinched flats thrice – twice on practice and once during the seeding run.
Villarta, the lone Cebuano podium finisher, took the best time at the seeding run while Wendell Barba and Joey Barba did not clock run times. This, after Wendell Barba was marked as DNS (Did Not Start) due to no-show while Joey Barba had a pinched flat tire at the first rockies section about 200m from the start area.
Despite having the best time at the seeding run, Maximo Villarta was not able to defend home ground after being washed out during his final run at the rain ruts section which resulted him being four seconds behind the race leader.
Meanwhile, at the age bracket categories, Cebuano Welmer Velayo from team Isuzu D-Max Manila took the first place of the 30 and above category while another Dumagueteno Christopher Miraflor of OZ Racing Cebu bested other riders, aged 29 and below.
Manila-based Velayo who is born and raised in Barangay Cambinocot is a member of team Isuzu D-Max, one of the premier cycling teams in the country – fronting notable riders such as Jerich Farr, Frederick Farr, and Mateo Guidicelli on their roster. After being asked on his win, Velayo claimed it was a great win in front of his home crowd and felt being part of history as the event was the first downhill biking competition of his place.
Other podium winners of the 30 and above category are Jokie Gonzales(Cebu) and Dave Jizon (Bacolod) of team Red Horse taking second and third places respectively. On the 29 below age bracket category Cebuano Wendell Capisnon finished second and Bacolod rider Jan Jimenez (Team Red Horse) took third place to wrap up the podium finishers.
The Rock Bottom Downhill Challenge was the first race event in Cebu for the year and it was considered successful after drawing in downhill riders from Manila, Bacolod, Dumaguete, and [incidentally] even as far as Indonesia.
Even as downhill biking in Cebu and in the country remains to be a relatively young sport, race events such as Rock Bottom Downhill Challenge aims to establish bigger following, support, and viewership. Aside from events, local business establishments such as Radical Ads, OZ Racing, Kokonut helmet, V12 RadGear, Bikecology, TWO (Third World Outdoor) Sandals, Nature’s Spring Water, Citi Avenue Bikeshop, Sunstar, RCTV 36, Pureskillz, and Weekend Warrior magazine also helped in furthering the sport’s cause.
The success of the event was a good start for the Cebu downhill biking community this year. Next stop for this year will be at Consolacion on May 18 followed by the opening of the Aboitiz owned bike park in Cansomoroy, Balamban on May 19.