Northern Luzon Run, 25-27 February 2016

March 4th, 2016

We were very fortunate to have Mike's old friend from Hong Kong racing days, Barry Forth, join the group for the run.

Barry, a long time Porsche engineer, now runs a racing team in Thailand but has temporarily based himself here in the Philippines.

He was the scribe for the following report.

Day 1

Early start at Corinthians Starbucks 5-5.15am, unfortunately our 6 car convoy was down to 3 and diminished further to 2 as Noy's stunning' 67 911 Targa developed a disturbing rattle which sounded like it was coming from the engine fan housing....that would unfortunately put pay to any chance of it going any further, a lucky escape in hindsight. Anyway not to be deterred, a quick diversion to park up the Targa enjoy a coffee....off again and we were on the way to meet Jeff and his 964, our brace of Porsche's (Mike Bradley's beautiful 993S and Jeff's very original early 964) chomping at the bit.

6.40am we are fuelled Petron and en route. 

Slight amendment to the route as reliable information had been relayed that the road ahead to Apari was not suitable for our low slung 911's, a minor inconvenience all said and done.

Once out of the central Manila traffic we headed for the NLEX and TPLEX and then the hills. As we crested Dalton Pass the weather had closed in and the slippery concrete surface made for some easy wheel spin fun....thanks Mike !!

On the descent we stopped for lunch at a very nice local cafe, visited on our very 1st North Run. Cars and crew refuelled we set off once more, the roads and weather being best of mates as they were always unpredictable!....Cauayan being our destination for the night, our wet arrival equally matched by our eagerness to getting equally wet on the inside....courtesy of the very accommodating family friends of our 964 pilot Jeff. Suitably refreshed and some beer stories re told (which  always get better with age), our accommodation for that evening was the Japi hotel, a chalet style place which was brand new and offered the added bonus of being able to park your pride and joy directly outside your door. We were treated that evening to an amazing spread of local delicacies, have to say sometimes a little too much information on which part of the anatomy of the animal in question was on offer was really not necessary!....but by no means detracted from the excellent food and company.

Day one concluded 460Km....11 hours....one pee break....one lunch stop....one coffee stop and a fuel stop.....lovely jublee !!

Day 2

Up at the crack of  sparrows....very comfortable night....we were greeted with a dry start to the day...and roads that just got better and better....the weather came and went....but nothing that was going to dampen this spirited drive !!...As we dropped back down to sea level nearing Pagudpud, a place that would send Don Quixote dizzy, at long last the weather had come to join the party....the combination of great slalom style roads (and some cracking straights) sunshine and a Porsche would make a Cheshire Cat out of any man!!

Lunch break had to be the highlight of the day. The BergBlick, a German restaurant seemingly in the middle of picturesque nowhere...Our timing was to perfection as the pork roast had just come out of the oven, seafood soup...which Noy ordered and Mike ate!, homemade sausage and chips (fries for the if the under 25) tomato and mozzarella cheese salad washed down with an outstanding German wheat beer for the passengers....bloody brilliant...

Herr BergBlick was beside himself with the tune of 911 engines as we accelerated a

way in a very sedate manner- of course NOT!!

We made good time towards Vigan our destination for the end of that day...the last 25km being our only snarl up  due to the bridge development schemes....and what a great idea to do them all at once! On arrival at the very splendid Vigan Plaza Hotel, an amazing historical Spanish era building smack in the middle of town, our reservation having been taken care of by none other than  the Chief of Police who was there to greet us along with his Sargent. They very kindly somehow managed to vacate the two parking spaces either side of the main entrance,-funny that-, and once checked in the lure of the gastro pub (in the same hotel) for thirsty travellers such as ourselves was not overlooked. Although not a match for the German wheat beer we sampled earlier in the day, though still much appreciated. The Police Chief and his Sargent joined us for dinner. Yet again the food, a sampler of local fair was amazing. Unfortunately for our Chief and his Sargent  they were both in uniform and had to 'Ching Ching' our beer toasts with coffee and water as we recollected our adventure to date and of course gave some older stories another airing (never let the truth get in the way of a good story!!)

Day two concluded 520Km....11 hours.....three fuel stops....one number plate retrieval....one lunch break....epic!!

Day 3

Once again we attempted an early set off, but the necessity to visit the local sausage factory shop to purchase the low cholesterol healthy option sausages and pork crackling, took priority. Taken there by our ever so helpful and friendly personal Police escort, which was almost required to fend off the very eager large lady who barged her way in once the sausages appeared and very nearly took the lot!!  Anyway she left us just enough and everyone left quite happy.....Petron the fuel station of choice filled up the thirsty stallions and off we set again more than an hour and a half later than planned but who cares....not us!!....The road heading south was certainly busier and the thoughts of the roads of the previous day was now a distant memory. The weather was now back to situation normal (it is far too hot for a white man!) so windows wound up and the A/C on....got to love these modern classics!!. Once we turned onto the TPlex we were glad to leave the yo yo slalom of undercut traffic war games...that every SUV wants to play with a Porsche ....SUV drivers.....get a life guys or get a Porsche!!.

We soon found ourselves at the Oxford Hotel at Clark having yet another gastronomic fair of superb Italian food, prepared by our friendly chef met during the Cannonball Run - seat in the Porsche getting a little tighter each day!! We then set off to have a quick look at the Clark track for Barry's benefit, which is a very tightly packed but very interesting facility. From the top of the pit lane building you can see the entire circuit, all 4.5km, quite a feat especially with a front straight bordering on a kilometre long !!!....it's certainly 'busy' and not for the faint hearted....we look forward to watching Noy do battle in his 914/6 once it's ready to race!

So now here we are on the highway heading back to the metropolis that is Manila....little sad it's all over but so happy to have been part of this mega drive...two nights and three days of Porsche paradise...with just the best company...amazing food and a beer or two !!

Day three concluded 466Km.....10 hours and change....one fuel stop....one oil level check stop....one lunch break and a quickie tour of Clarke Speedway.....mission accomplished....never a dull moment!! 

I personally feel so much more in touch with what might yet be my new home.

Many thanks to Mike, Noy and Jeff for inviting me on what has been such a great adventure and if I hopefully have not blotted my copy book too much I'm already looking forward to the next....bring it on!!

 

Jeff Chua with shotgun NoyNoy Yao --  1990  Porsche 964 Carrera 2

Mike Bradley with shotgun Barry Forth -- 1997 Porsche 993S

Total kilometers 1440.