(Photos by Ramon Boado, Jon Gonzales)
IT is never too late to fuel one’s need for speed.
Jerry AC, a 45-year-old businessman, last month dominated the Asian Karting Open Championship in Macau, winning the X30 Senior, Formula 125 Senior Open and Formula 125 Open.
His passion for racing actually isn’t limited to karting. Also last year, he was invited by the China Formula Grand Prix Organizing Committee to take part in the Formula 4 Championship, the China GT Championship and the Audi R8 GT series. He also dabbled in the local one-make racing, the Toyota Vios Cup. His China sojourns have made him a nominee in the Samsung 2016 Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards by the Hong Kong Kart Club Limited.
“I am so glad to get these awards in such fierce competition against 58 other racers from Asia (Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong, Macau and China), especially at my age level,” he said.
Jerry lived in Japan for over 10 years and this may have helped him absorb the Japanese culture of having a mindset that focuses on the task at hand and trying again after a failure.
“In each race, I always review my performance, how to do better, learn something new and further my racing skills,” said Jerry, who now permanently resides in the country.
His first taste of racing happened at the SQ Karting race in Boomland, Pasay.
“I was only in it for fun, but I began to love motorsports gradually,” he said.
That love brought him to take part in the local series, where being an “older” racer is actually a disadvantage.
“It is not easy for a racer to face challenges in three different series. The most challenge is in the X30 Senior where the youngest participant is just 14. Their physical condition and stamina are much higher. They seem to have unlimited power than me. The other challenge is in the Formula 125 Senior, where the kart set-up of the 125cc engine (Rotax Max 125, Iame X30, Super Rok GP Votex etc. ) is the main issue to win the competition. In the Formula 125 Veteran series, I have to face experienced and excellent racers especially from Hong Kong and China and this is not easy for me. The lap-time difference among the racers from position 1 to 20 is just 0.2 of a second,” said Jerry, who is also into other sports like tennis, bowling and golf, where he “got quite a lot of awards in my life.”
“But motorsports is the most challenging. It includes mental, physical, mechanical knowledge and driving skills. I need to master these four factors to be successful,” he said.
And just like his younger counterparts, he improves his craft by constant practice and staying healthy.
“I am always in the gym to keep my body in good and heathy condition,” said Jerry, who is a property developer. “I have a new coach from Hong Kong in Michael Shun, who gives me advice on how to improve my skills in terms of data support in setting up my kart. I am also going to have exchanges of ideas with some Singaporeans, who are factory drivers and have high records from Europe. I maintain and enhance my high level of body condition with the help of Hans Santiago. Kudos also to Josefilo Bariquit, who is very loyal and a very good mechanic.”
One of his plans is to race in the X30 Final Challenge in Europe and the next X30 Asia Cup in Sepang and Singapore starting this February, while putting up his Apex Racing Team.
“I want to manage the team in a more professional way. Now, we have 18 drivers from here, Japan, Hong Kong and China,” he said.
Jerry said his age is not a hindrance to his racing battles.
“At my age, it is somewhat hard for me to battle with the young ones, but still, I want to be known by many that I am one of the best drivers in the circuit. I also want to train kids dreaming to become champions in the future. I will teach them not only to become a good driver, but to have the proper attitude, which is the most important thing. I also want to train more drivers for my Apex Racing Team,” he said.
Racing, according to him is very much like real life.
“This (motorsports) is like society. It is stressful and one cannot avoid politics, but you have to face and handle it. It makes me even stronger in facing problems and in building up my personality and making power and strategic management. Don’t let the behavior of other people destroy your inner peace,” said Jerry.
“I am here just to enjoy the moments of winning and losing, to make friends and do my best every race,” he said. “The important thing is not the triumph, but the struggle. You have to set goals no matter how impossible they might seem at the moment. This has prompted me never to give up in both racing and business.”