A massive 72-car grid welcomed season 4 of the Toyota Vios Cup when it visited the Clark International Speedway last April 29. 5 of those were from Toyota San Fernando (TSF) who did a stellar job to collect a race victory and 2 podium finishes over the day’s events.
The team’s line up is headed by Steve Bicknell who now moves up to the Super Sporting Class after winning last year’s Sporting Class title. Oliver Matias also stepped up a division to join teammate Ton Ramos in the Sporting Class. Then there’s Darrel Garbes and new-recruit Arbie Jacinto who are TSF’s entries in the Promotional Class.
Super Sporting Class
Bicknell took the new challenge of the Super Sporting Class in stride, who despite qualifying at the tail end of the field for Race 1, utilized his skill and experience to end up in 7th during the 12-lap race. Focusing more on having fun rather than the final results, the Britton drove another exceptional race in the afternoon to collect 9th.
Oliver Matias started P9 in the morning and made sure he got his #48 car home in once piece. His conservative approach allowed him to complete Race 1 in 8th. But he took a different strategy for Race 2 and pushed hard for a chance at a podium spot. It paid off when the cars in the lead collided and he was there to inherit several places to finish 4th.
Ton Ramos, on the other hand, enjoyed the perfect start to his season. Starting from P2 on the grid, he was able to take the lead from Mark Sy of Toyota San Pablo on the first corner and never looked back. He had such a big lead that he decided to ease off with 3 laps still to go, winning the race with a 2.123 sec gap, and setting the fastest lap of 2:27.993.
“After 3 years of racing in the Vios Cup, I finally won my first race,” said Ramos. “It was the perfect day for me. Everything came together and my car felt really good since practice. Come race day I simply focused on my driving, avoided any contact, and comfortably took the chequered flag.”
With a 1st place finish now in the bag, Ramos simply went out to enjoy Race 2 where he had a great time battling in the midfield. But a jumpstart and passing under the yellow flag incurred him penalties that dropped him to 14th.
Darrel Garbes and Arbie Jacinto was up against a huge field of 22 drivers in the Promotional Class. Garbes was 13th fastest in qualifying and battled his way to a respectable 9th in Race 1. However, the Jetski / 4×4 racer caught the stewards’ attention for exceeding track limits and picked up a penalty that knocked him down to 14th place. It was quite unfortunate that he repeated the same error in Race 2, turning what could have been a 7th place finish into 9th. Despite the setback, Garbes was able to prove that he had the potential to challenge the front runners.
Jacinto had more luck than his teammate. Starting from P4, he was able to drive an incident-free race to pick up a podium finish in 3rd. He managed a repeat performance in Race 2 where he was locked in a head-to-head battle for 2nd with Roy Bunag of Toyota Bacoor. Although Bunag would end up taking the spot, Jacinto is quite happy with another 3rd place.
“It was a race full of highs and lows,” Jacinto recalled. “After celebrating my 3rd place finish in Race 1, it was revoked due to a technical issue. The whole team was devastated, but they eventually gave back my podium after some discussions. My takeaway is that, Toyota San Fernando is a family and this challenge only make us grow stronger and closer together.”
After their successful run at the Vios Cup’s season opener, Toyota San Fernando is now preparing for Round 2 when it returns to the Clark International Speedway on June 10. TSF is sponsored by Primetime Creatives, Plan Bravo Digital, TonCars, Grundstein, Tes Advertising, Inboxstores.Ph, Barney’s Burger, ForcedSpeed, 602PTG Garage.
[Photos by Jon Gonzales]