IT WAS a bad fall. And when the dust settled, veteran motocross rider Ted Conde — who ended up with a fractured fibula, and had to have two metal plates inserted into his foot — decided it was time to hang up his gear.
“Nagkamali ako, na-landingan ako ng ibang rider,” Conde said, recalling that painful incident from 2018. “Dun ako na-injure. Doon naisip ko, siguro, may edad na ako, siguro mag-retire na ako.”
But in 2021, after three years away, Conde found himself back on a dirtbike, racing on a track that he helped design, joining fellow vets Glenn Aguilar and Bebet Dela Cruz in the Davsons Pro Motocross Championships last July.
“Nauna na sina Glen tsaka sila Bebet, hinahabol ko sila,” remembered Conde, who first started riding back in 1995, when he was just 14 years old. “Ang gamit ko kasi is 250cc lang, tapos yung kalaban ko lahat, naka-450 sila. Pag-start pa lang, iiwan na nila ako kasi nga small cc lang gamit ko.”
While he was riding, he couldn’t focus exclusively on the race. His mind was also in organizer mode. He checked corners if the flag men were present and accounted for. He kept an eye out for things he needed to change or maintain.
After a high-flying jump, he would catch himself muttering out loud, “A ito, parang may pitik. Babaguhin ko yan mamaya.”
Still, even half-distracted and years away from his last pro race, he managed to place third in Round 2 of the competition.
Next generation of motocross
The race was held in Davson Motocross Racetrack, a new fixture in Taysan, Batangas. Conde had been brought in by the owner to oversee the construction of what is said to be the best motocross park to date in the country — one that would become, in Conde’s words, a “dirt bike haven.”
There was already an existing track in Taysan. “Medyo maliit lang,” said Conde. “Yung layout niya, hindi standard. Walang flow sa race.”
Flow was something that he kept top of mind when he was designing the brand-new course, commissioned by Dong Villena, whose sons Benedict, Syndrake, and Richmond are avid MX riders.
The result is a complete course that’s got everything you need for dirt bike competitions: multiple jump ramps, step ups, step downs, berms, whoops, a tabletop. There’s even a freestyle ramp over a foam pit for high-flying practice backflips.
“Full package hanggang sa small bikes to beginner na level hanggang sa pro level. For everybody talaga,” described Conde proudly. “Kayang-kaya sa mga minis. Kahit magso-short ka sa jump, may sasalo pa rin. Magandang landing ang magre-receive sa kanila.”
Safety, of course, was another prime consideration. The longtime racer, who’s ridden across many tracks across the archipelago and participated in races in Cambodia and the United States, knows firsthand how important safety is.
“Kasi nano-notice ko doon sa ibang karera natin, medyo unsafe yung mga racetrack nila. Depending nga sa rider, minsan talaga, may madidisgrasya talaga,” explained Conde. Safety in a motocross track, after all, doesn’t just depend on a rider’s skill and safety gear. It depends on the quality of soil and landings on the obstacles. It depends on the overall maintenance of the track. It depends on the safety markings and personnel present.
Improving the safety of a course comes with another added benefit, too.
“Para sa riders, [kung] quality yung racetrack, maganda at safe, bibilis sila lahat, kasi confident sila lahat. Confident sila na maging mabilis. Bibilis at gagaling ang mga rider natin,” said Conde.
By December, Conde and Villena estimate that the park will be able to accommodate even endurocross and supercross events. In addition, air-conditioned container vans and a campsite will be available for riders to stay in.
Conde has spent decades in the scene. And he’s excited to see how the new Davson track will develop the next generation of MX riders.
“Yung mga bata, sila yung panlaban natin sa ibang bansa,” he said. “Dapat ituro mo talaga ang mga bata ngayon. Sila yung future e sa motocross e.”
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