Okada Motorsport Carnivale wakes up sleeping giant

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FROM LEFT: Cielo Reboredo, VP for Sales, Okada Manila; Leyte 4th District Rep. Richard Gomez, Paranaque City Councilor Jomari Yllana and actress Abby Viduya.

“We have awakened a sleeping giant,” declared Paranaque City Councilor Jomari Yllana during the closing and awarding ceremony of Okada Motorsports Carnivale 2023 Aug. 6 at the Glass Ballroom of Okada Manila in Paranaque City.

His statement was seconded by Olson Camacho, top gun behind Philippine Rallycross that revved up the star-studded sporting event on Aug. 2.

Yllana announced that in support of various racing groups, the Kumpares Group of Companies Inc and Global Franchise House gave away 10 business franchises to various motoring groups to help them fund their next motorsports events and achieve sustainability.

Held from Aug. 2 to 6 at the sprawling hotel’s Boardwalk, Okada Manila Motorsport Carnivale 2023, co-presented by Okada Manila and Yllana Racing, has been the biggest motorsport event to be mounted in the Philippines in years. On any single day, it gathered over 1,500 race drivers who caused huge traffic snarls on the streets leading to Okada.

Past and present motoring heroes were awarded plaques of recognition at the closing ceremony. The honorees included racing icons Raphael “Paeng” Nodalo, Reynaldo ‘Jun’Espino, Jr., Rolando Abadilla, Jose Ochoa, Jr., Danilo Santiago, Eduardo ‘Mang Ed’ del Rosario.  

Meanwhile, two of the entertainment industry’s motorsports afficionados, Leyte Representative Richard Gomez and Matteo Guidicelli, came to receive their plaques of recognition from Okada Manila Motorsport Carnivale 2023.

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Actor-television host Matteo Guidicelli (left) and Paranaque City Councilor Jomari Yllana

The two gentlemen, dapper in their suits, thanked Paranaque City Councilor Jomari Yllana, a long-time racing enthusiast, for acknowledging their contributions to motorsports in the Philippines.

As images of Richard’s and Matteo’s racing moments flashed on screen, a large number of motoring fanatics who had gathered at the ballroom remembered the actors’ glory days as well as those of so many others who took part in the five-day event.

Gomez said he hoped that their presence in motoring events could inspire the next generation of Filipino racers.

Matteo was earlier known through his racing career, which started at age 11. He was the first Filipino to finish the 24 Hours of Dubai endurance race.

Gomez, the son of former race car driver Eddie Kelly Gomez, developed his passion for motorsports by participating in competitions where he won a number of awards.

Michelle Bumgarner, another celebrity awardee, made her debut into single seater racing with the National Karting Series in the Philippines in 1999 at the age 10.

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Paranaque City Councilor Jomari Yllana

In 2018, she became the first female champion of the Rock Island Grand Prix in Rock Island, Illinois.

Actor Dominic Ochoa received the posthumous award for his father, Jose Ochoa Jr.

Okada Manila Motorsport Carnivale 2023 witnessed thousands of car enthusiasts flocking to the Boardwalk of Okada Manila to witness the biggest and grandest motorsports event in the country.

The event attempted to bring back the glory and grandeur of the Philippine Grand Prix in the 70s, considered the golden age of motorsports in the country.

“The renaissance of Philippine motorsports is here and now,” said Rikki Dy Liacco, president of Automotive Association of Philippine Motorsports and Yllana’s partner in mounting the event.

Okada Motorsport Carnivale 2023 was staged in cooperation with Okada Manila, Yllana Racing, Philippine Rallycross, Philippine Autocross, East Side Collective (ESC), Cart Motosports, and Kumpares Group.

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