Heading into the double header season finale trailing behind in points, Bern Corpino overcame the all the odds to bag the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Philippines’ Senior Championship last November 4/5 at the Carmona Race Track (CRT). Even more impressive is that he did it on his rookie year in Seniors.
Bern started his title charge by notching the best time during Saturday morning’s Time Trial with a 59.182 secs lap. But he later lost some of his footing during Qualifying Heat 1 where he dropped outside a podium spot after a shaky start and ended up in 4th upon crossing the chequered flag. Reaching deep into his bag of tricks, Bern made a strong recovery drive in Heat 2 to win by a 4.605 secs margin and was able to start the Finals alongside fellow title contender Miguel Quiñones.
With the championship in the air, the 15-year-old immediately made his move on Miguel and took the lead. He stayed there throughout the 15-lap race and defended against Japanese karter Kaoru Yoshida to secure 1st place in Round 5 and close the points gap to Miguel.
Bern had to pull all the stops as the championship would ultimately be decided on Sunday. After ending up in P2 during Round 6’s Time Trial in the morning, the rookie was met with another challenge once again as he would up 3rd place in Heat 1 after a slow start. Unwilling to give up, he got his head down in Heat 2 and fought for 1st place against a hard charging Yoshida.
Their duel would resume in the Finals with Bern tailgating the Japanese karter in attempt to find a way past. Although he had to settle for 2nd across the chequered flag, what’s important is that he finished ahead of Miguel and earned more than enough points to claim the title and be crowned the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge Philippines Senior Class champion.
Bern never lost faith in himself and VS Racing Motorsports despite facing stiff competition. “I knew that I had the pace and capability to challenge for 1st place. I just kept my head down the whole weekend and did not think much about anything else other than my goal—getting that championship,” he expressed.
After a season full of amazing battles, Bern has a lot of takeaways as he looks to further improve on his driving. He also sends his appreciation to everyone who supported him this season, to his parents, team VS Racing Motorsports, coaches VJ and RR Suba, mechanic Jomar Suba, teammates, sponsors, and to God.
Bern now heads into the off-season to prepare for 2024 with plans to be announced at a later date.
For more info and the latest updates, follow Bern Corpino Racing on Facebook.
[Photos by Bong Boado]