MANILA---Maico Greg Buncio, the driving force behind the country’s maiden foray into the Asian Superbikes circuit, died yesterday after sustaining serious injuries in a competition crash in Clark Field, Pampanga, Saturday afternoon.
He was 22.
The man dubbed as the Philippines’ fastest on two wheels, spun out of control at a hairpin turn during an Underbone King qualifying race at Clark International Speedway.
Witnesses said Buncio, riding a 115cc bike and hurtling at 220 kph, hit a round bar and skidded 100 meters on the track.
The four-time national Superbikes champion was rushed to a hospital in Mabalacat, Pampanga, by the race’s emergency medical personnel before being transferred to the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Manila.
He expired due to massive internal bleeding at 3:57 p.m. yesterday, according to UST doctors.
Local motorsports officials mourned Buncio’s loss.
“His demise is a big loss to motorcycle racing and to Philippine motorsports in general,” said businessman Johnny Tan, the country’s chief motorsports organizer.
“He brought back excitement to and interest in Superbike racing... The motorsports community stands beside Maico’s family in their time of grief.”
Buncio’s Facebook wall page was swamped with concerned messages and appeals for blood donation all day yesterday.
The crash was the only topic discussed in threads on the Motorcycle Philippines website since Saturday afternoon.
“It was a tragic loss to Philippine motorcycling racing,” said Eilleen Esteban of Suzuki Philippines, which formed the Team Suzuki Pilipinas that competed in the first leg of the Asia Road Racing Championship in Sepang, Malaysia, just two weeks ago.
“He’s way ahead of his time, he dreamed big, and we know he’s capable of achieving them.”
A 2010 Philippine Sportswriters Association awardee for motorsports and Driver of the Year honoree of the Golden Wheel Awards, Buncio raced a 600cc bike in Sepang, but took a spill in both races and failed to finish.
A graduate of OB Montessori, Buncio competed in Sepang with John Lery Enriquez.
A motorsport official said no one expected that such “a freak accident would befall” Buncio.
No race track in the world, no matter how well laid out and complete with safety features, can guarantee the prevention of accidents, the official added.