For years, the annual BOSS Ironman motorcycle endurance challenge has courted controversy. While its organizers discourage participants from breaking any rules of the road during the event, some participants still dare to disobey the law in a bid to finish the daunting 1,200 kilometers within 24 hours. The event has earned an unenviable reputation for its inevitable serious accidents and injuries, most often caused by its participants.
This year, while there have been few reported incidents, another brazen act has come to light. A YouTube video of an alleged 2020 BOSS Ironman Challenge participant has been circulating recently, showing a couple of participants counterflowing on a highway and speeding in order to beat the queue for the tollgate at the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx). The video (now taken down) was uploaded by the participant himself, a motovlogger who frequently uploads his rides and track days to his channel.
The video starts with several participants stuck in heavy traffic while in a queue for the TPLEx entry tollgate. Growing impatient, the rider taking the video decides to counterflow through a gap in the divider, all the while with flashing lights and sirens of a police officer. He even attempts to encourage other participants to join him in the counterflow. Thankfully, a few of them declined to follow. As he crosses over to the other side, he flashes lights towards oncoming cars and rejoins the queue further ahead, squeezing in between buses and other vehicles to finally get to the toll gate. Once through, the rider waits on the side for his other companions. The rider then rockets up to 180 km/h as indicated on his speedometer, before slowing down to catch his exit.
While no one appears to have been hurt, this video serves as damning evidence of several road rules hastily broken by some participants of the event. We can only hope that the organizers of the event impose the proper sanctions on this individual. Thankfully, the incident has already reached the attention of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
"The LTO has received reports on this, we are investigating the matter and will not tolerate such reckless behavior," said Atty. Romeo Vera Cruz, Executive Director.
What is the BOSS Ironman Challenge?
The BOSS Ironman Challenge started in 2005, inspired by the Iron Butt Challenge of the US, where riders must traverse 1,000 miles within 24 hours as a test of endurance. The Philippine edition challenges participants to take on a 1,200-kilometer ride within 24 hours, with the Northern Luzon Loop as the route. Since its inception by the BMW Owner's Society of Safe Riders (BOSS), the challenge has since been opened to any adventurous rider, and later on, cars in the years that followed.
While the challenge is to finish a designated route, usually more or less 1,200 kilometers, within 24 hours, BOSS stresses that all traffic and safety laws should be observed at all times. In addition, participants must complete the challenge no sooner than 16 hours, and not more than 24 hours.
All participants receive stickers and reflective vests to indicate they are participants of the event. All those who accomplish this feat receive “Finisher” jacket badges, and stickers proclaiming this achievement.
Completing the BOSS Ironman Challenge has become a badge of pride among Filipino riders, with participants from all over the Philippines joining the event annually. Unfortunately, it has also unintentionally encouraged unofficial record runs, with some participants bragging of completing the challenge in as little as 10 hours.