Filipino photography and cycling groups take to
biking in their quest to raise funds for a cause
By Anand Holla
Fundraising events aren’t anything new for Qatar’s Filipino photography groups like Web Alliance of Radical Photographers (WARP), who routinely let their cameras speak for charity. Pairing it with cycling though put an interesting spin on the routine.
To help cover the medical expenses of an ailing man, WARP joined hands with PinoyMTBikers-Qatar (PMTB-Q) in a charity mountain bike race-cum-photography event recently. At the Duhail Mountain Bike Trails, the event – iRACE4YU Mountain Bike XC Race and Photoshoot for a cause – was a hit and the groups managed to raise QR5,712 for the cause. Loi Olivar of WARP explained what the ‘cause’ was.
“On August 16, a WARP member approached me and asked me whether we could help his friend Dennis Yu, a Filipino salesman at TopNote, a perfume shop in Doha. Yu was diagnosed with meningitis and has been recuperating at Rumailah Hospital since April. Since this came on the back of our fundraising model-shoot that managed to raise QR6,000 for Baby Xander and Baby Yannah in July (the infants were in need of a bone marrow transplant and a liver transplant respectively), we had to think of a new idea to raise money,” said Olivar.
That’s how WARP’s tie-up with PMTB-Q came about, and soon iRACE4YU was born. The event, organised jointly by PMTB-Q and WARP, was a success thanks to the participation of several mountain bike groups such as PadyakQatar, Al Ahli Boys, Qatar Chain Reaction, Colorum Boys, Jose Pedal (Al Khor Boys), Team Rest Boys, Mesaieed Cockroach MTB Club, Pinoy 29’ers, Wakra Riders and Pinoy Roadies.
PMTB-Q is an online forum of around 300 cycling enthusiasts, majority of which are Filipinos. About their promising motto ‘Start the season with a reason,’ John Bonalos of PMTB-Q said, “We started the mountain bike race season early because usually, we start promoting competitions from October onwards when the weather becomes bearable to cycle through late mornings.” Much like WARP, PMTB-Q too believes in promoting camaraderie with what it does.
Backed by Field Marshal Supports from Team Al Ahli Boys, Team Colorum Boys and English Motorcycle Brothers, the races kicked off in four categories – Open Elites (had to finish three laps), Weekend Warriors (had to finish two laps), Novice (had to finish one lap), and Lady Warriors (had to finish one lap). A whopping 128 riders participated in the event – 47 in Open Elites, 53 in Weekend Warriors, 25 in Novice, and three in Lady Warriors – that took off at 6.30am, with the last rider finishing at 7.45am.
The terrain wasn’t meant to be a cruise. Bonalos said, “It was a 5.33km loop trail with combined technical and semi-technical single tracks, flatlands, uphills, downhills, rocky, hard pack and soft sand terrains.”
American Read Paul won the Open Elites section, while UK’s Hickey Kevin and New Zealand’s Longdill Peter came second and third respectively. Guevarra Glenn from Phillipines came first in the Weekend Warriors category, followed by fellow Filipinos Mabag Arturo and Pasion Revie.
Filipino Baladad Peter topped the Novice race, while fellow nationals Almera Samson and Gutilban Chris took the second and third place respectively. Czech national Klemmova Marketa won the Lady Warriors contest, followed by American Dun Susan and Filipina Estacio Maricar.