The Fast and The Studious Carlos Iñigo Anton

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By Melan Ku Marquez

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Monday, March 30, 2015


100kph is the speed limit for NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX. You go beyond it and you’re dead meat once radared by the expressway officials. For any seasoned race car driver pass the licensing age of 18, a 200kph speed in a race track is nothing exceptional but the story differs when one steers through and floor the gas pedal at this speed at age 10 where most kids are still rapt in playing die-cast matchbox or remote- controlled cars. This I call a “Gift Extraordinaire” and Iñigo Navarrete Anton, son to multi-awarded race car champion Carlos Anton and multi-talented dance goddess Karen Navarrete-Anton did just that in the Clark International Speedway recently making him the fastest youngest car driver in the world to date.

Early Influence

Iñigo started driving at the age of 7. Surrounded with car racing trophies and accolades won by his dad throughout the years including her mom’s overall championship trophy in the Marlboro Red Racing competition held at the Ferrari owned race track in Verano and Florano in 2007, it’s not a surprise for this young lad to babble, “broom broom” and utter “car-car” as his first word and have for himself a niche for RC racing at the tender age of 4. So when given the opportunity to test his driving skills in the world of the manly sport of car racing, he impressed everyone by beating the time of much older and experienced drivers at a very young age of 8 marking his first race. His second and third racing event further showcased his extraordinary talent when he won second and third place respectively and eventually emerging as CHAMPION only on his fourth battle winning against racers more than twice his age driving his Honda SIR in the Touge Battle 4 race event held at the Clark International Speedway (CIS).

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Touge (pronounced as t?ge) is a Japanese word that translates as “mountain pass”. Commonly used in Japan from drifting, where they race up and down winding mountain roads, Touge was adapted to have 2 cars go head-to-head and be the quickest on a particular stretch of road. But rather than racing to cross the finish line, The “Lead” and “Chase” car must try to increase or decrease the gap between them in order to win. And in place of a mountain pass, Touge Battle uses part of the CIS instead.

His successive wins are more than enough reason for his dad to see the potential in him. He has found an apprentice in his son and what can be more logical thing to do than to nurture and hone what is already given.

Ideally, training should be done with or without a race in tow according to daddy Carlos, but so as not to interfere with his studies, he trains on weekends and summer breaks and are usually done in the race tracks.

As of this writing, mommy Karen has already lost count of Iñigos races and podium finishes. For her, every race is memorable and nerve-wracking. For Carlos, winning on the same race with his son of which they did at the Touge Battle 4 held on June 2014, where Carlos clocked the best among 30 drivers and 9yo Iñigo won in the Novice 2000cc class, doubles if not triples the joy and sense of fulfillment of him being a dad and a coach at the same time.

On Safety Issues

Like any other sport, training and the competition itself can post risk of injury to any athlete. Race car driving, as most would probably perceive, can be more dangerous than any other sport. Often asked on safety issues, Carlos and Karen has this to say, “PRAYERS is the number one tool for his safety. We never fail to visit Our Lady of Manaoag before a race weekend to pray for his safety and protection". Along side their admirable faith and devotion, is the responsibility they take full charge of to ensure Iñigos safety in this sport that he loves. They provide him the best safety equipment available and let him use a less modified race car. With his current height and weight, the stronger and faster cars will have to wait until he has more body strength, which he will acquire with age in time, for full control. Also, they do not allow Iñigo to drive around the city streets for the obvious reason that he does not have a driver’s license yet.

BIG Dreams Do Come True

My dad, a dreamer himself often tells us, and I’d like to say this over and over again, “Di masama ang mangarap, dahil libre lang ang mangarap” (There is no harm in dreaming because dreaming is free).All it takes is for one to have the courage and determination to put these dreams into reality. Iñigo at 6, has dreamt of having a gold medal in school and a champion trophy in racing. Three to four our years later, he did so by landing First honor for academics at the Baguio Achiever’s Academy and winning his first race as mentioned earlier. Very rare do you find athletic and academic excellence rolled into one person and undeniably Carlos Iñigo Anton is an exemption.

Her parents' formula is plain and simple… "Pray hard + work hard + play hard = happiness = success". At a very young age, they have instilled unto him the importance of prayers, the value of hard work, that nothing comes easy in life and the humility to accept that everything is a gift from the Lord that has to be nurtured and shared, a gift to take pride but not to brag about. Asked him now and he would tell you of his dream of becoming a formula 1 (F1) driver. While his mom prefers not to see him in the racing car arena, she has come to accept that Iñigo is destined to follow his dad’s footsteps in the world of car racing and with his sheer determination, hard work, a lot of prayers and sponsors like Castrol, Yokohama, Kart Plaza, Edge Sport, Works Bell Brakes, Mark Young Racing, Autoshack, JSD Autoparts and Special Stage to name a few, he might just one day realize his dream.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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