CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – There is a growing public outcry to stop the staging of motorsports events in national public highways following the death of young rider Jireh Morales Edrote on Saturday, August 13, in a Misamis Oriental town.
The 29-year-old Edrote died after suffering severe body injuries from a crash during the Diyandi Motourally Endurance Challenge.
“Competing at 180 to 200 kph in public roads is like racing to death for some contestants,” Edrote’s friend Vines Buot told Rappler after visiting the rider’s wake on Sunday at St. Peter Funeral Home in Brgy. Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City.
Edrote’s mother Juditha, older brother Jethro, and wife Mequiann had earlier enjoined the victim’s friends and relatives in discouraging the 29-year-old from taking part in the event, fully aware that similar events in the past were not without accident or tragic stories to tell.
Jethro shared with Buot and friends during the wake that Jireh was actually targeting to finish the 1,400-km Diyandi Festival Challenge in nine hours.
Edrote had 12 hours and 12 minutes in dominating the Gingoog City-sponsored 1st CU Kaliga 1000km Team Endurance Ride Challenge in February this year, despite having at least a couple of minor glitches along the way.
But a back-to-back reign of the locally-organized event, initiated by 955 Baluarte Riders, was stalled when Edrote’s 1000cc Kawasaki Versys Green overshot a curved stretch in Lugait municipality, causing it to hit a metal post that resulted in his demise.
Fellow Cagayan de Oro rider Johnry Bendulo said that it was high time now for the promotion of endurance challenge around the country to see an end “because it always results to death.”
“Obviously, the public highways are not safe especially for the daredevil ones who want to excel,” said another riding enthusiast Tarotoy Remoto, who decided to forego the Diyandi Challenge after barely surviving the Kaliga Team Endurance Ride.
For his part, city councilor Conrado “Anjun” Gomez of Gingoog, where the Northern Mindanao edition of the endurance challenge was first held in February, said that the Philippine highways are neither fit nor safe for races.
“Unlike in other countries like in the US, our public roads here in the Philippines are narrow and offer lots of difficult obstacle to hurdle. And motorsports enthusiasts are not always equipped with brand new [equipment] like new tires that are crucial for a safe ride,” Gomez said.
If still allowed to thrive by the Philippine government, Gomez said endurance challenge organizers have to responsible enough to coordinate with local officials, especially in towns where riders would likely encounter a danger zone.
“There must be a contingency plan like fielding personnel in every area where accidents are prone to happen. We understand that riding is passion to them, but dying early due to negligence and recklessness is not acceptable,” Gomez said. – Rappler.com