Benjamin “Bench” Hasim, did not think it is possible, but he succeeded and made it as the first Palaweño to ride to the Top 15 in the ASEAN Motocross League (AML) Series Round 2 competition held recently in Songkla, Thailand, to qualify in Round 3 under the Novice A Category.
A decade-long rider, Hasim said the April 21 competition is now making him prepare for the Round 3 which will be held in Malaysia on October 19-20.
The Sofronio Española resident who now lives in Puerto Princesa City said the AML in Thailand was the first international motocross competition for him outside the province and the country as a Palaweño rider.
Hasim said the longer he engages in the motocross sport, the more it becomes challenging for him to give pride to Palawan.
“Habang patagal ng patagal nacha-challenge ka, parang gusto mo rin na may mapatunayan ka, maging ganito ka katulad ng mga napapanood mo sa tv na magiging champion din ako balang-araw,” he said in an interview with Palawan News on Thursday.
During Round 2 of the AML Series, Hasim said most members of the Philippine team entered the Top 15 which qualifies them to join the Round 3.
Hasim was selected to join the AML Round 2 in Thailand after winning the championship of the Finest Motocross Association of the Philippines (FIMAP) motocross series in 2018.
He was the first Palaweño to win in this as champion.
He said he started his career in 2009 because of his fondness for motorcycles.
Since then, he has started to win and achieved hundreds of awards.
Hasim pointed out that Palawan has a lot of potential riders who can also win in local, national, and international competitions, they only lack funds to join.
“Dito sa atin sa Palawan, maraming malalakas na bata, kulang lang sa suporta. Kung talagang magagaling, maraming magagaling sa Palawan, kulang lang sa suporta pati sa financial. Dati siguro ang perspective ng tao parang hobby lang, kapag tumatagal sports na talaga siya,” he added.
Hasim stressed motocross is not just a hobby and an easy game for others’ perspective.
He said it is time to break the stereotyping that motocross is as easy as riding the motorcycle because it is a kind of sports where individuals can develop talents to give pride to Palawan.
“Hindi lang siya basta sports, maraming tao ang dapat ma-develop, mas makita ‘yong talent dito sa atin na maipagmamalaki ng probinsya natin balang-araw na di nakikita ng mga tao. Very talented ‘yong mga Palaweño sa ganitong sports di lang natutukan,” he pointed out.
He narrated that riders will go through physical pains as they train and during the competition, but these can be used as inspirations to win and achieve sports goals which can make better individuals out of competitors.
No personal motorbike in Thailand
On the next round of the competition, Hasim expressed his aspiration to get a spot in the ranking to bring pride to the country and the province of Palawan.
Aside from practicing for over a month on the race track, his team is also preparing for the expenses that their trip would spend. Financial problems often hinder them, but they are hoping this can be remedied so they can join the international race.
He added having no personal motorbike in Thailand was also a difficulty to his participation this month.
Bringing personal motorbikes to the race can incur huge expenses that is why in October, he will use what is available during the competition.
“Sana matulungan ako para maka-attend ako ng Round 3 nang makabawi ako, nang mapakita ko talaga ang best ng Palaweño, maka-place tayo,” he said.
Hasim hopes the provincial government and some private sponsors will help him to participate to showcase the Palaweño talent in motocross.
The AML Round 1 happened in the town of Bataraza, where Hasim, together with Marriane Yapparcon, a Palaweña, also joined the Philippine Team for the recently concluded Round 2 in Thailand.