By Martin Sadongdong
QUEZON Province – Ramon Lapaza pulled off a nail-biter win over national champion Cesar Lapaza Jr. – his younger brother – to bag the top prize in the Sandugo 1st Brusko Pacific Coast Epic MTB Race held Sunday in an out-and-back trail in General Nakar town here.
The Brusko race is organized by Sandugo Sandals Inc.in partnership with the Manila Bulletin, Isuzu, 7-Eleven and municipal government of General Nakar, Quezon Province.
Ramon, a 30-year-old MTB specialist from Butuan City’s Cycleline Rider Team, clocked three hours, 47 minutes and 27 seconds in the 100 km Men’s Open category, .02 seconds faster than 29-year-old Cesar (3:47:29).
Alvin Benusa timed (3:51:19) for the third place.
It was a toe-to-toe battle right from the get-go since no one between the brother cyclists gave way as they pedaled across the up- and downhill trek laced with about 10 river crossings.
“Even though it’s a tough fight, we couldn’t leave each other behind. Every time we race, if he stops in the middle of the trek, I wouldn’t leave him. Same if it happens to me,” Ramon shared.
“I am so happy because we won and the trail was really beautiful,” said Cesar, who was hailed as the national champion in the recently concluded Asian MTB Invitational + Philippine national Championships in Cebu.
About 720 cyclists from Luzon, Visayas and some foreign countries, participated in the event.
Sandugo founder and hardcore mountaineer Job Faminialagao said they launched the epic race to welcome The Brusko, the company’s first mountain bike product.
The Sandugo patriarch explained that they launched the event in General Nakar since they have already been visiting the trail since 2012 and fell in love with the place – which presented the breath-taking coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
Sandugo’s next event will be in November, a 100-km ultra trail run also in General Nakar.