In case you didn’t know, the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) is the only governing body in the country deputized to issue racing licenses and sanction motorsport events. On whose authority you ask? Well it’s from a group called the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) who, from what we’ve heard, is also behind a series called ‘Formula 1’.
Does that ring a bell? It damn should.
The wonderful men and women in the AAP work tirelessly 365 days a year to ensure the safety of all locally-sanctioned motorsport events. And on very rare occasions, they give people a piece of their minds, usually on road safety, and usually very irate ones.
This is one of those occasions covering a incident that happened last week that involved innocent motorists and the Ironman Challenge run by the Bmw Owners Society of Safe riders (or BOSS in short).
This is their official statement in full.
UPDATE (20-Jan-2017): Slight revisions were made to the AAP’s official statement to reflect more detail on the incident.
IRONMAN EVENT PROVES THAT ILLEGAL ROAD RACES ARE DANGEROUS TO EVERYONE’S HEALTH
The other weekend, several videos went viral on Facebook showing motorcyclists participating in the BOSS Ironman Challenge speeding recklessly, disregarding traffic rules and endangering other road users. The 24-hour, 1,200-kilometer endurance race looping around central and northern Luzon on January 14, 2017 reportedly caused casualties in the area.
This prompted the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) to warn the public, for the umpteenth time, about the dangers of illegal road races.
As the only Philippine affiliate of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for motor sport worldwide, AAP is tasked with the authority and responsibility to sanction four-wheel motor sport events in the country so as to make sure that proper safety measures are taken.
The organizer and sponsors of the 12th BOSS Ironman Challenge held last January 14, however, did not inform AAP about the race although, since 2013, cars have been allowed to participate. In fact, AAP only learned about the race from a press release issued the day before it took place.
AAP president Gus Lagman and AAP motor sport division chair Mandy Eduque condemned illegal road races like the Ironman Challenge for endangering not only the participants, but also bystanders, onlookers and residents of towns through which the racers pass at reckless speeds.
“Nobody wins in illegal road races,” Lagman said. He deplored the fact that the Ironman Challenge of January 14 was the twelfth and continues to be organized and sponsored every year despite road accidents that have seriously injured participants and non-participants alike in the past aside from causing damage to property.
Eduque noted that driving for 24 hours straight is in itself hazardous, since exhaustion greatly increases the risks of getting into an accident, more so when riding a motorcycle or driving an automobile at high speeds to cover 1,200 kilometers in the required span of 24 hours.
Despite the usual news blackout imposed, AAP motor sport operations manager Mark Desales has verified reports that two motorists who were not even participants were badly injured after racing motorcyclists recklessly cut into their lane along Kennon Road in Baguio.
“A car driver and his passenger sustained multiple injuries. The passenger’s skull was reportedly fractured. What’s worse is that the riders allegedly did not slow down or stop to check on their victims,” Desales said.
Both Lagman and Eduque pointed out that the organizer and the riders should be held criminally liable for placing the lives of other persons in danger due to the organizer’s negligence in providing and enforcing safety measures.
Section 56 of Republic Act 4136 states that “if, as the result of negligence or reckless or unreasonable fast driving, any accident occurs resulting in death or injury of any person, the motor vehicle operator at fault shall, upon conviction, be punished under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.”
AAP has been campaigning to curb all non-sanctioned, four-wheel road races and is urging their counterparts in the two-wheel community to follow suit. AAP does not issue competition licenses to those who join illegal road races and revokes the licenses of those who participate in the same.
Eduque reiterated that incidents like the one during the Ironman Challenge have a negative impact on legitimate motor sport activities. “Whenever an accident occurs during an illegal road race, there is a knee-jerk public reaction that motor sport events are not safe. This is contrary to its real essence.”