by: Eric Manuel
The saga ends
After three years, the longest-running TM concept race has come to its conclusion. TM’s Masters’ Challenge Masters’ Arena – The Finale emanated from Harrison Plaza Racing Center last Sunday. Bringing together the Masters of 2013, the event was a fitting last hurrah for a unique concept race that endured the test of time.
With the Grand Master of the Arena already decided even before hostilities began, the competition was nonetheless tight from the get go until the exciting finals. What was at stake is the title of Master of Masters – a most coveted trophy that every racer set his eyes on that evening. With that comes a guaranteed 10K cash prize for the finalists, as well as premium Tamiya items.
The biggest story that night was Cavite-Fleet’s Hajji Ocampo. Already snatching the Grand Master of the Arena title going to the Master’s Arena, he put together a solid overall performance to score a two-peat victory. Hajji Ocampo was hailed Master of all Masters by virtue of his Top Force’s first place finish. Despite going in to the semis with but just a single car left, Hajji managed to steer the lone remaining unit of his vaunted fleet right through, landing the Finals. From thereon, he contended against hpCORE’s Joef Pulido and Jun Navarro of team eRacers. Amongst the three, Jun’s Tiger Zap ran the fastest time in the semis, and was favored to win the final duel. But as luck would have it, Jun’s unit flew off-track barely three laps in. It hit one of the cars left running in th tracks, forcing a re-race. It was then Hajji and Joef one on one. At this stage, Hajji’s experience and grace under pressure carried him through. Joef calibrated his Bear Hawk unit emphasizing on speed, and it cost him the championship. Pulling away in the first few laps of the re-race, Joef’s unit got too fast and finally spun out. The lone Top Force completed the remaining laps, and captured the win!
The semi-finalsts were Galas’ Angelo Roa, MIB’s Bibot Moya, and the finalsts with one car each, except for the TM honcho who had two.
With that, the Masters’ Challenge bid adieu. Like the other TM races that left their mark, Masters’ Challenge ran a solid three years. It has been a breeding ground for most of today’s top racers. All being said, this one of its kind concept race has left a legacy that is going to be etched in the annals of the country’s m4wd racing history. \m/
Results and Pictures:
Master of the Masters (Champion) – Hajji Ocampo, Team Cavite/Fleet
2nd Place – Jeof Pulido, Team hpCORE
3rd Place – Jun Navarro, Team eRacers
GRAND MASTER OF THE ARENA
Hajji Ocampo, Team Cavite Fleet