For the first time in recent years, Baguio’s bemedaled racer Carlos Anton and racing legend Mike Potenciano were outraced in a national championship.
The two champions were torched by racing phenom, Iñigo Anton, who was crowned overall champion for the 2020 Race of Champions (ROC) series, torching his mentors, including his father, Carlos.
Jeff Soberon and Raul Tuason placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
After the series was cut to five rounds because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the younger Anton emerged as the best of the best in the championship.
“The Race of Champions is unique because champion racers are pitted against each other using the same car. All the disciplines of racing are represented from dirt to tarmac so it really evens out the playing field,” said the older Anton.
The younger Anton, who was crowned ROC “Future Champion” in 2019 after winning all eight rounds of the championship, was now allowed to run in the current and legends division and quickly made his mark by taking the first round on dirt tracks using the Ford Ranger Raptor at the Splash Island Grounds in Filinvest, Laguna.
When the series moved to Clark, the younger Anton took a win in the tarmac track where he is most comfortable with, and another victory on dirt tracks using the JAC pickups.
This was enough for him to take the overall lead before the pandemic hit.
“I am so happy to win the ROC championship especially since it’s over two of the best race car drivers that I admire, my dad and my godfather, Mike. I look up to both of them and I know the skills that I have now are because of everything they have taught me and passed on to me,” said the 17-year-old honor student.
“Carlos Anton was my protégé and I have always been so happy for his success, and now to see Iñigo following in his father’s footsteps is something special. Carlos and I were pushing very hard because we did not want to lose to Iñigo. In the end though, youth prevailed over experience,” Potenciano said. – Harley F. Palangchao