On May 25, 2019, the first Banayad Funduro and Flat Track race day was held down South at the Vermosa Off-Road Tracks in Cavite. Off-road riders flocked to the site from all over Metro Manila and beyond to face each other off on both a tight, flat course and a single-track trail. That weekend, the venue at Vermosa felt like the grounds of some dirt-loving festival. Tents provided shade for guests, tables were filled with fare from the food trucks and stalls, and a nice breeze kept everyone cool — until welcome showers arrived in the afternoon. Meanwhile, all were in high spirits — decked out in gear and awaiting their turns to race.

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Some were impatiently eager to rip it up, as anyone walking through the party had to artfully dodge dirt bikes, big and small, meandering around during downtime. In fact, any unused section of the facility was occupied by riders just practicing, exploring, or having fun — alternating between the flat track, back trails, and motocross course. The cherry on top of the family-friendly affair was the litter of little kids riding around everywhere, begging any adult they could find to bring them more fuel from the nearby gas station.

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The best part of Banayad Funduro and Flat Track was the impressive diversity of motorcycles and events. The participating bikes ranged from two-stroke motocross and enduro monsters, civilized standards, and custom scramblers — to brightly colored dirt bikes, tiny kiddy machines, and huge, expensive adventure bikes. Yes, the seasoned riders of those fully-equipped, premium dual sports tested their tight-maneuvering skills in their very own race, to all of our amusement. Entry into one category cost ₱200, while paying just ₱500 allowed anyone to join unlimited races as long as his or her bike was eligible.

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Meanwhile, Yamaha Motor Philippines brought in a fleet of PW50s for the kids and XTZ125s for the kids-at-heart. The dealership allowed anyone to field an XTZ125 for an affordable ₱200, making these grassroots races remarkably accessible. Yamaha held its own race, which was hilarious because the guys on the street-legal XTZ125s constantly honked their horns at each other and used their turn signals.

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The races were just as varied, and the events were as follows… Flat Track: Local Enduro, Power Enduro, Open Production, All China, Underbone, Scooter, Kids 12 Y.O. Below, Adventure Bikes 800 cc Up, Club Race, Royal Enfield Himalayan, Custom Bikes, and Bullet/Classic Fun Race; Funduro: Power Enduro, Local Enduro, Adventure Bikes 800 cc Up, Scooter, All China, Media Fun Race, and Club Race. While there were definitely tons of people there, the sessions that didn’t have enough eligible participants were merged with others.

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For lunch, I had a hotdog and Benguet coffee from Wild Cubs and Friends, and their grungy Ford Club Wagon Chateau. Later in the afternoon, the Funduro time trials were conducted in intermittent rain. They took the competitors behind both the flat track and undulating motocross course, onto trails deep in the undeveloped bush hidden from view. Riders took turns on the rally-like route, 20 seconds apart. It was a soft-roading challenge without major obstacles, not “hard” enduro (hence, “Funduro”) but with slipper conditions, a narrow single track, ups and downs, and off-camber sections nonetheless.

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There were guys who’d forsake their run times just to help up another downed rider — highlighting the fact that Banayad Funduro and Flat Track is purely about giggles and grab-ass. There were no cash prizes, instead the event sponsors awarded winners with freebies. This kept egos at bay and maintained the community atmosphere and rugged spirit of leisure, although perhaps one day the prizes will improve.

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"Banayad Funduro and Flat Track aims to encourage more riders to try out off-roading and eventually further improve their riding skills on and off the road," said Brando Rosales, the head organizer of Banayad Funduro and Flat Track — as well as a fellow Motopinas colleague. "Since it is part of the Banayad Off-Road Series, we will also do it at the Mitas-KRB Off-Road Track and in Magallanes, Cavite."

The first-ever Banayad Funduro and Flat Track event had many sponsors and partners to thank, including: Globe Telecom, Easy Trip RFID, Yamaha Motor Philippines, Bikerbox, Royal Enfield Pilipinas, STKD Surf Moto, Motul, Mitas, Acerbis, YRS, EnduroPH, BMW Owners Society of Saferiders (BOSS), Team Thomas, Summit Natural Drinking Water, Maxicare, Cobra Energy Drink, Pascual BiFrutas Milk and Juice Drink, and Lechon City.

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Thank you for having Motopinas and me (Daemon Ex Machina) along for the ride as media partners. Suffice it to say, everyone already can’t wait for the next edition of Banayad Funduro and Flat Track!