Watanabe Golden Wheel Driver of the Year
MANILA, Philippines — Tadahito “Dashi” Watanabe’s dominant performance in the local supercross series made him the 2013 Golden Wheel Driver of the Year in the recent 11th Golden Wheel Awards Night at Samsung Hall of SM Aura in Fort Bonifacio Global City in Makati.
Shrugging off a two-year hiatus from the Philippine Superbikes Championship Series, Watanabe ruled five of the six legs of the event to earn the nod of the Golden Wheel Awards Judging Committee.
The 20-year-old Watanabe, the country’s youngest Superbike champion, bested three former Golden Wheel Driver of the Year winners—GT champion Jody Coseteng, drag racing king Jonathan Tiu and motocross titlist Glenn Aguilar—for the coveted plum.
After an auspicious two-wheel racing debut in 2011, when he finished third on his debut Superbikes season behind the late champion Maico Buncio and Aguilar, Watanabe took a long break from the sport.
No wonder, Watanabe’s comeback sparked bigger interest from racing fans who keenly followed his rivalry with former champion Raniel Resuello.
Watanabe’s Aprilia and Resuello’s Ducatti figured in the “Battle of Global Brands” in the local racing scene.
Golden Wheel Foundation Inc. chair Johnny Tan and Singapore Motor Association deputy president Harold Netto awarded the trophy to Watanabe, who also bested the champions from other racing disciplines.
Johnlery Enriquez (scooters), Niño Fabian (underbone racing), Daniel Miranda (karting), Gio Rodriguez (drifting), Peewee Mendiola, MD (slalom), Edison Dungca (4×4 off road), Bryan Bautista (classic cars) settled for Golden Wheel trophies for their title feats in their respective events.
Singaporeans Mohammad Nasri Naufal Bin Nasir and Gabriella Teo also got trophies as 2013 Overall Asian Karting and Asian Karting Junior champs, respectively. Steve Silva, Contributor
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