Would you believe that after only 6 months since the 2023 Rok GP Super Karting Series began, Senior Class debutant Bern Corpino is now crowned champion. The 15-year-old went on to win 5 out of 6 rounds this year with the title fight going all the way down to the wire last September 9/10 at the Carmona Race Track (CRT).
Coming from a Clark Night Race surrounded in controversy, Bern was fired up for the season ender wanting to prove to his detractors that he can win the championship no matter what they throw at him. But as its schedule clashed with the TGR Vios Cup, he had to miss a day of racing in touring cars and jump straight into the Rok GP double header weekend with virtually zero practice.
Still, he performed well on Saturday and only marginally trailed his closest-rival Miguel Quiñones into the Time Trials and Qualifying Heat 1. He finally got into his rhythm by Heat 2 and left the competition in his wake to cross the finish line 3.354 secs ahead of everyone else. With only 58 points between them, Bern came under attack from the defending Senior Class champion during the Finals. Their battle lasted the entire 15-laps where Bern managed to keep Miguel at bay and win by 0.875 secs.
Although he was able to stretch his lead by 5 points, Bern knew that the smallest misstep could still cost him the title. He began Sunday’s proceedings by setting the fastest lap in the Time Trials and pipped Miguel by 0.002 seconds. Driving the #19 machine of VS Racing, the 15-year-old then kept his head down to win both Heats to start on pole in the Finals. All he had to do now was to drive a clean race and the title was his. But as luck would have it, Bern and Miguel clashed on the run to Turn 1 and caused the race to be red flagged.
It was now a do or die moment for Miguel at the restart with the pair again making contact. This time though the track remained green and was already too far to catch up when they rejoined in dead last. Although finishing 10th was not the conclusion Bern wanted, it was enough for the rookie to seal the 2023 Rok GP Senior Class title.
Bern Corpino: “It feels surreal to win the title. Coming into this season, we knew it was going to be a close one, but I wasn’t expecting to win 5 out of the 6 races. It was an amazing season overall, plenty of good battles and fair racing despite some setbacks. I just focused on myself and never backed down. First and foremost, thank you to our Lord God for the safe races this year and for guiding me through this successful Senior year. Big thank you to my loving parents, thank you to VS Racing and the Suba family, my mechanic Jomar, Mang Sonny, the rest of the crew, and to my teammates that supported me always.”
Bern Corpino is sponsored by Extra Joss. For more info and the latest updates, follow Bern Corpino Racing on Facebook.
[Photos by Bong Boado]